Army vs UTSA Odds, Prediction: Defenses to Step Up?

Army vs UTSA Odds, Prediction: Defenses to Step Up? article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: UTSA’s Frank Harris.

Army vs UTSA Odds

Friday, Sept. 15
7 p.m. ET
Army Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Editor's Note: UTSA quarterback Frank Harris was spotted in street clothes and a walking boot while the Roadrunners' other quarterbacks warmed up.

On Friday night, the Army Black Knights will travel to Texas to take on the UTSA Roadrunners.

Last year, these two teams battled all the way to overtime before UTSA pulled off a 41-38 win behind 359 yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Frank Harris.

This year, I think the game will look much different, however. Let’s dive into my thoughts on Army vs. UTSA and find a pick for Friday night's showdown.

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Army Black Knights

Army made a huge change to its offense ahead of the season. After running the triple option for years, Jeff Monken decided to adapt to modern times and switch things up. Now, the Black Knights are running a shotgun-based zone-read offense where they attempt to throw the ball more.

However, they haven't shown that aspect much on the field yet. In 2022, Army passed on just 17.2% of plays as it boasted the third-highest rush rate in the country. This year, the Black Knights have thrown the ball 20.6% of the time, which still leaves them with the third-highest rush rate in the nation by a good margin.

While they're still running at a very high rate, the offense has been relatively solid in some aspects to begin the season. Army ranks 47th in Rushing Success Rate but just 92nd in Finishing Drives and 100th in explosiveness.

In Week 1, Army demolished Delaware State by a score of 57-0. However, Delaware State finished last year ranked as the 122nd-best FCS team by SP+, so that victory wasn't overly impressive.

The Week 2 game against UL Monroe is a better indication of where Army is as a team, and it was not pretty. The Black Knights put up a Success Rate in the 11th percentile and an EPA per Play mark in the sixth percentile against the Warhawks in a 17-13 loss.

Keep in mind that ULM ranked 117th in SP+ last year overall and had the 121st-best defense, so that was a concerning performance.

Army’s defense did rank 44th in SP+ last season and has been solid thus far in 2023, ranking fifth in Finishing Drives and 50th in Success Rate.

With eight returning starters, I would expect this unit to be just as strong as it was last year.

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UTSA Roadrunners

With a lot of expectations coming into the year, the UTSA offense has been fairly disappointing through the first two weeks of the season. The passing attack struggled against Houston as the Roadrunners scored just 14 points, but this was chalked up to Frank Harris coming off of an injury.

This continued in Week 2, however. Against a Texas State defense that allowed 7.11 yards per play to Baylor (81st percentile), UTSA put up just 3.92 yards per play (seventh percentile). The Roadrunners had a 29th-percentile Success Rate and 35th-percentile EPA per Play in that matchup and scored just 20 points.

UTSA ranks 104th in FBS in Success Rate and 103rd in Finishing Drives heading into Week 3.

Many of the Roadrunners' issues are coming from the offensive line, which ranks 120th in PFF pass-blocking grade and 108th in run-blocking grade.

The good news for the Roadrunners is that their defense has held up. After ranking 88th in SP+ last year, the defense now ranks 58th in success rate and 48th in finishing drives through two weeks.

Rushing defense was the strength of this unit last year, and it is once again. The Roadrunners rank 36th in Defensive Success Rate against the run and ninth in Rushing PPA Allowed. This will continue to show up as this veteran defense takes on an Army that prides itself on running the ball.

Army vs UTSA

Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Army and UTSA match up statistically:

Army Offense vs. UTSA Defense
Rush Success12538
Line Yards9919
Pass Success6237
Finishing Drives13043
Quality Drives5255
UTSA Offense vs. Army Defense
Rush Success95114
Line Yards9559
Pass Success901
Finishing Drives9519
Quality Drives4013
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling21116
PFF Coverage3125
Special Teams SP+97109
Middle 83103
Seconds per Play31.0 (125)24.7 (33)
Rush Rate77.5% (2)54.6% (71)

Army vs UTSA

Betting Pick & Prediction

UTSA’s offensive struggles have been pronounced, but the defense has kept it on track. Army has shown a similar profile, carrying over its 2022 characteristics to this season.

I think we see these teams play a slow game in which each side grinds out yardage. Ultimately, I think UTSA will come out victorious and possibly cover this spread as well, but my favorite bet is on the total.

With the number at 45.5, I would take the under. UTSA’s defense matches up well with what Army will want to do on the ground, and the Black Knights defense will be able to take advantage of the Roadrunners’ offensive struggles.

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