Saturday evening on the college gridiron and we will see a pair of teams from Conference USA square off as the Rice Owls duke it out with the UTSA Roadrunners at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The Owls have struggled with a 2-3 record so far while the Roadrunners enter this contest with a perfect 6-0 record.
Owls Snatch Nice Home Win Over Southern MissThe Rice Owls have started slowly with a 2-3 record this year, but they do enter this game having won their last two games in a row. They took out Texas Southern by a score of 48-34 and followed that up with a 24-19 home win over Southern Miss two weeks ago. The offense has been an issue for Rice this year as they have scored just 12.0 ppg in their four games against FBS opponents and they could struggle here against a good UTSA defense. Rice is led by their ground game, which ranks 66th in the nation, but they ran for just 118 yards on the Golden Eagles. Rice needs to run the ball, but that will not be easy against one of the best run defenses in the nation.
If only Rice could throw the ball, they would have a better chance of scoring here as UTSA is 112th in the nation against the pass, but rice is just 107th in throwing the ball. Jake Constantine threw for 192 yards and two TDs against the Golden Eagles and has now thrown for 543 yards with three TDs and an INT on the year. The Owls will need more from him in this one. The rice defense has been cooked this year as they are 93rd against the pass, 108th against the run, and 125th in points allowed, giving up 38.6 ppg. They allowed 321 yards passing to the Golden Eagles and that is not good news as UTSA has a good passing game.
UTSA Stays Perfect On The YearThe Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners have gotten off to a great start this year as they have gone 6-0 through their first six games. Their record includes a road win over Illinois from the Big 10. Last week, the Roadrunners were 3.5 point dogs against Western Kentucky on the crowd and they ended up winning a wild one by a score of 52-46. The defense was not so great but the offense was rolling as they piled up 564 yards of total offense in the contest. Frank Harris had a huge game as he threw for 349 yards with six TDs and one INT. He has now thrown for 1475 yards with 12 TDs and three INTs on the year and will be looking to build on those numbers against a weak Rice pass defense.
Harris could have a huge day if they get their ground game going, which is 65th in the nation. UTSA ran for 192 yards against the Hilltoppers and the Rice run defense is very poor. Sincere McCormick ran for 120 yards against WKU and he now has 664 yards rushing with six TDs on the year. The defense had been playing very well, but the Hilltoppers rolled up 670 yards against them, including 523 through the air. Luckily for the Hilltoppers, they will not be facing a good passing game in this one. The Roadrunners are 46th in the nation in points allowed at 22.3 ppg and 19th in scoring at 37.5 ppg. This is the first time in their history that UTSA started a season at 6-0.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Total Pick
The Roadrunners are off of a high-scoring wild affair against Western Kentucky and they should be a bit of a letdown from them, especially with a big road game against Louisiana Tech on deck. Rice will look to run the ball a lot and that will shorten the game some, giving the Roadrunners fewer chances to pile on the points. It is their only chance, even though they are facing a UTSA team that is horrible against the pass. The Rice defense has been bad this year, but they are rested and I do not feel that the Roadrunners will have much left in the tank after last week's wild game against the Hilltoppers. Lastly, the Owls are 23-11 ATS in their last 34 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game while UTSA is 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The Rice Owls have been a bad offensive team this year as they have averaged just 19.2 ppg overall, but it's worse in their four games against FBS teams as they have put up just 12.0 ppg in those contests. The UTSA defense was torched last week, but in their previous four games, they allowed just 14.5 ppg. The Roadrunners will be able to win this game with their defense and that means the offense won't have to do a whole lot. That is a good thing for the Roadrunners as their offense could be a bit flat after putting up 52 points in a high-stakes game against Western Kentucky last week. We could see UTSA run a bit more in this one. Lastly, the Under is 5-1 in Rice's last 6 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game and 10-1-1 in UTSA's last 12 games following an ATS win.