UTSA vs. Texas Odds, Picks: Are the Longhorns ‘Back?’

UTSA vs. Texas Odds, Picks: Are the Longhorns ‘Back?’ article feature image

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Hudson Card (Texas)

  • One week after nearly taking down Alabama, Texas plays UTSA in an in-state college football Week 3 battle.
  • The Longhorns have injury questions, but can they cover this spread?
  • Mike Ianniello answers the question and more below.

UTSA vs. Texas Odds

Saturday, Sept. 17
8 p.m. ET
-110o / -110u
Texas Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

TEXAS IS BACK BABY! Well, the Longhorns are at least back to covering close games and looking competitive.

Since their 2019 trip to the National Championship, the Longhorns are just 70-77-3 against the spread and have largely become the butt of many jokes around college football fans everywhere.

Well, they are 2-0 this season and just played the No. 1 team in the country down to the wire. If a couple of calls went their way, they likely pull of the upset.

On one hand, Texas played much better than anybody expected, looked vastly improved on both sides of the ball and proved it can hang with one of the country's top teams.

On the other hand, a team that considers itself a blue blood program and has won four national titles got a standing ovation from its fans after a loss. That was a really tough look.

Now those fans will welcome the University of Texas at San Antonio, which will make the 80-mile trip north to Texas Memorial Stadium.

The defending Conference USA champions are coming off of two straight overtime games. They dropped a 3OT thriller to Houston in Week 1 and came out on top in an extra frame against Army last week.

UTSA played its inaugural season of football in 2011 and will be playing the Longhorns for the first time ever.

Head coach Jeff Traylor got his college coaching career started at Texas in 2015 as a special teams coordinator and tight ends coach — he was named the Big 12 Recruiter of the Year with the Longhorns.

Traylor will lead his feisty Roadrunners team into Austin, which you know UTSA will be juiced up for.

Will an improved Texas team look to show last week wasn’t a fluke, or will it suffer a letdown spot after a disappointing defeat to Alabama?

UTSA Roadrunners

I said on this week’s Group of Five Deep Dive Episode that I don’t know if any player in the country has improved over the last three years more than UTSA quarterback Frank Harris.

In his first year as the starter in 2020, he averaged 135.8 yards per game with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Last season, he tossed for 225.8 yards per game with 27 turnovers and six interceptions.

Well, after losing his stud running back, Harris has really elevated his game. He’s averaging 348 yards per game and already has six touchdowns and just one interception. He is also averaging 46.5 rushing yards per game, the most of his career.

It’s fitting the Roadrunners have two speedsters on the outside. Zakhari Franklin (1,027-12) and Joshua Cephus (819-6) combined for 1,846 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.

So far this season, they both have racked up over 100 yards in each of the first two games.

Frank Harris threads the needle to Zakhari Franklin to even it up w Army@UTSAFTBL | #MeepMeeppic.twitter.com/Wtcs1ap4oB

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) September 10, 2022

While the offense has been terrific, I am a little concerned about the defense. The Roadrunners just allowed 304 passing yards to Army. That is equivalent to allowing like 900 yards to Alabama. They rank 123rd at defending Passing Explosiveness.

Safety Rashad Wisdom is the star of this defense, but he lost his running mate in Tariq Woolen, who was one of the fastest players in the sport.

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Texas Longhorns

It wasn’t all moral victories in Austin on Saturday.

Not only did they lose the game, they also lost quarterback Quinn Ewers.

In the highly-touted recruit’s first real test, he sure looked good early. Ewers was 9-of-12 with 134 yards when he driven into the turf and suffered a SC sprain.

Hudson Card came in and went 14-of-22 for 158 yards the rest of the way. He was good enough to win, despite battling an ankle injury himself.

Now even Card’s status is up in the air on Saturday.

He isn’t the only one that Steve Sarkisian listed as “day-to-day,” though. He is joined on the injury report by D’Shawn Jamison and Bijan Robinson.

Preseason All-American Robinson should be ready to go, and Longhorn fans better hope so. The star back averaged 112.7 yards per game rushing and 29.5 receiving, and scored 15 total touchdowns in 10 games last year.

Facing a team that has struggled giving up explosive plays, we could see some home runs from Robinson, as well as speedy receivers Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington.

I was worried about this Texas defense going into last week. The unit has struggled with tackling over the last couple of years, and allowing 12 missed tackles to UL Monroe in Week 1 was concerning.

Well, maybe the Longhorns were just looking ahead because they missed just seven tackles last week against one of the nation’s top offenses.

Texas ranks 12th in the country in Rushing Success on defense.

Despite allowing 161 yards on the ground to the Crimson Tide, 81 of them came on a single play. Outside of that run, they averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry.

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UTSA vs. Texas Matchup Analysis

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

UTSA Offense vs. Texas Defense
Rush Success5026
Line Yards4161
Pass Success5899
Pass Blocking**12565
Finishing Drives7225
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Texas Offense vs. UTSA Defense
Rush Success7184
Line Yards6530
Pass Success5149
Pass Blocking**45107
Finishing Drives55116
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling5136
PFF Coverage10924
SP+ Special Teams9685
Seconds per Play20.4 (7)26.5 (69)
Rush Rate41.6% (113)49.6% (78)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

UTSA vs. Texas Betting Pick

I am concerned about the UTSA defense a little bit, but Harris has put this Roadrunners team on his back and is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the Group of Five. He has gone from a borderline liability to the life blood of this team.

Texas might have earned a moral victory on Saturday, but it lost on the field, and it lost its quarterback. Now Card is banged up, as is Robinson.

After getting a standing ovation on the way off the field last week, it is understandable if it is hard for the Longhorns to get up again for a G5 opponent.

Meanwhile, UTSA gets to play the main campus for the first time ever and will certainly be fired up for this opportunity.

Texas is the better team. Texas had more talent. Texas should win this game. But 12.5 is just too many points for a conference champion facing a team coming off the biggest game of its season.

I’ll take the points with the Roadrunners and would play them down to +10.5. MEEP MEEP!

Pick: UTSA +12.5

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