The undefeated Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners head on the road to battle the Memphis Tigers in a non-conference showdown on Saturday afternoon. The Roadrunners are enjoying a perfect start including a dominant win against Middle Tennessee State. The Tigers are a perfect 3-0 after registering a 31-29 upset home win against Mississippi State last week.
UTSA Tops Illinois and Middle Tennessee State in Perfect Start
The UTSA Roadrunners are playing spectacular defense in their 3-0 start. They shut out non-FBS opponent Lamar two weeks ago and defeated Middle Tennessee State by a 27-13 score last week to cover the 11.5 point spread. This is an improved UTSA program that became quite evident after dealing the Illinois Fighting Illini an upset loss in week one.
So far, QB Frank Harris is building on an encouraging 2020 season. The senior QB registered 280 passing yards against Illinois in the season opener and has accrued 662 passing yards accompanied by a 3:2 TD to INT ratio in three games.
The Roadrunners have a tremendous running back in Sincere McCormick. The junior RB has averaged 5.6 yards per carry over two seasons and is UTSA’s best player. McCormick has 268 rushing yards in three games this season. Zakhari Franklin will be targeted heavily in this matchup against a team that will give up yards in the air. The junior WR has already collected a remarkable 346 receiving yards this season. The Roadrunners' offense can exploit opponents in the air and on the ground and is going to be tough to contain in conference play.
The UTSA defense has posted back-to-back stellar performances. While their performances against non-FBS opponent Lamar isn’t a good measuring stick, they held conference-foe Middle Tennessee State to only 199 yards in last week’s effort. They stand 25th against the pass and 18th against the run. The Roadrunners are averaging 39.3 points, good for 29th in the FBS. They are limiting foes to only 14.3 points, landing them 17th overall.
Memphis Stuns Mississippi State
The Memphis Tigers appear very difficult to beat after three games propelled by a barrage of points. They topped Arkansas State in a wild 55-50 decision in week two and followed with a surprising 31-29 home win against Mississippi State of the SEC in a clash that had Memphis as three-point dogs.
The Tigers' potent offense is led by Seth Henigan. The freshman QB is off to a tremendous start to his DI career, accumulating 841 passing yards and a dazzling 8:1 TD to INT ratio. Henigan was a three-star recruit but is playing like a four or five-star prospect. Memphis has a threatening running back as well in Brandon Thomas. The freshman RB has averaged a remarkable 8.5 yards per rush attempt for 421 yards.
Calvin Austin III is one of the better WR’s in the AAC. The senior recorded 105 receiving yards against Mississippi State and has a tough matchup against a good UTSA pass defense in this one. The Tigers' offense is young, however, they have displayed poise. They weren’t quite as effective in last week's clash which is to be expected against an SEC defense.
The Tigers' defense has been a different story than the offense. They are surrendering a ton of yards in the air, ranking 129th in the FBS in pass defense after Mississippi State tallied 419 passing yards last week. They are again up against a good UTSA passing game in this one. The rush defense has been stellar, landing 20th in the FBS. Memphis is placed 16th with an average of 42.7 points in three games. They are allowing an average of 32 points, landing them 110th overall.
The UTSA Roadrunners are:
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
The Memphis Tigers are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
UTSA is a solid team that can surprise opponents. They are considered one of the best teams in the C-USA. UTSA stunned Illinois of the Big Ten in week one and have allowed a total of only 13 points in their last two games including a 27-13 win in their conference opener last week. Memphis can score but the defense is an issue. They surrendered a whopping 50 points to Arkansas State of the Sun Belt two weeks ago. The pass defense has not been able to contain anybody yet, surrendering an average of 400 passing yards per game, and UTSA QB Frank Harris will take advantage. The senior tallied 280 passing yards against Illinois.
Furthermore, the Roadrunners' defense should do enough to contain the Tigers' offense. UTSA has been stellar in all areas. They have been especially dominant against the run with a rush defense that ranks 19th overall which is key as Memphis has a talented RB in Brandon Thomas.
Full-Game Total Pick
I am opting for the over in this one. The Roadrunners feature an experienced offense. They have the same QB and RB as 2020 and were able to accumulate a remarkable 497 yards against Illinois. Memphis has to outscore opponents to win games as the defense is poor and UTSA has the weapons to take advantage. The over is also 10-4-1 in UTSA’s last five September games.
In addition, no one is going to completely shut down this Tigers offense this season. They have a good freshman QB and a talented WR core. Memphis scored 55 points two weeks ago and 31 points against an SEC defense last week. The over is also 15-7 in the Tigers’ last 22 non-conference games.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The over on the UTSA team total is a solid prop bet. UTSA was able to exploit a Big Ten defense in week one and accumulated another 452 total yards last week. Memphis ranks near the bottom of the FBS in passing yards and total yards allowed. Even Nicholls State of the FCS was able to collect 300 yards against Memphis.
Half-Time Total Bet
I expect plenty of offense in the first and second half. UTSA was able to score 20 points in the first half in their season opener at Illinois in their lone road game. Also, Memphis is allowing several points in the opening half. They have squandered 23 and 17 points respectively in the opening half in their two games against FBS opponents.