UTSA vs. Middle Tennessee Odds, Picks & Predictions: Previewing This Friday Night Conference USA College Football Clash
Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images. Pictured: UTSA Roadrunners
- Middle Tennessee (3-1) hosts UTSA (2-2) as both teams open Conference USA play as part of college football's Week 5.
- The Blue Raiders are looking to extend their three-game win streak, including an upset victory over Miami (FL) on the road last week.
- Kyle Remillard previews the game and offers up his best bet.
UTSA vs. Middle Tennessee Odds
After its biggest win in program history (upsetting the Miami Hurricanes), Middle Tennessee looks to carry momentum into its Conference USA opener.
The Blue Raiders entered against Miami (FL) as 25.5-point underdogs and came out with a 45-31 victory thanks to explosive plays in the passing game. Quarterback Chase Cunningham threw for 408 yards, including touchdown passes of 98, 69 and 71 yards.
The program looks to extend its three-game win streak as it opens Conference USA play against the reigning champions UTSA.
The Roadrunners finished 2-2 in non-conference play, with their two losses coming to Houston and Texas. Their matchup against Houston went to triple overtime before the game was decided by two-point conversions.
Can Middle Tennessee continue its upset streak, or will the reigning Conference USA champions douse the flames under the Friday night lights?
UTSA went to overtime in its first two games of the season, which were split against Houston and Army.
The Roadrunners' tired legs caught up to them in the second half against Texas, as they lost 41-20.
Last week, the program bounced back with a 52-24 victory over Texas Southern.
The one constant between all four matchups is that the defense has looked suspect. UTSA has allowed all three FBS offenses to exceed 37 points on offense, and even Texas Southern put up 24 points.
The defense is allowing six yards per play and more than 440 yards of total offense this season.
Now they matchup against a Blue Raiders offense that is capable of scoring on any play through its deep-ball threats.
Meanwhile, it's been business as usual for a Roadrunners offense that is averaging 37 points per game. The unit ranks 15th in the nation in Success Rate and top-40 in Explosiveness and Points Per Opportunity.
That success has mainly been driven by the arm of quarterback Frank Harris. The redshirt senior quarterback has been slinging it this season, averaging 39 pass attempts per game and 8.5 yards on such attempts.
He’s amounted 10 touchdowns to go along with two interceptions, and has proven to be a dual-threat, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
The Roadrunners have been seriously hit by the injury bug. Entering this matchup with question marks surrounding the offensive line is a major cause for concern.
UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor said on the radio this afternoon that they’ve moved 2 defensive linemen to the offensive line.
— JJ Perez (@theJJPerez) September 20, 2022
Middle Tennessee entered this season with a cumulative power rating that sat near the bottom in the nation. The program lost its opening matchup in embarrassing fashion to James Madison by a score of 44-7.
But the Blue Raiders have bounced back in a big way with three victories in a row. Two of those wins came as double-digit underdogs, as they upset Colorado State (+13.5) 34-19 and Miami (+25.5) 45-31.
Those victories can be attributed to the offense catching fire through the passing game.
Cunningham threw for only 110 yards on his 32 pass attempts (3.4 YPA) in that Week 1 loss. But over the three-game winning streak, the redshirt senior has thrown for an average of 297 yards and 10.1 yards per pass attempt.
The Blue Raiders' defense has been strong since its Week 1 blunder to James Madison.
The defensive front has stopped the run, allowing just 2.5 yards per carry and ranking 18th in Line Yards. It ranks among the top-5 in the nation after accumulating 35 tackles for loss through the first four games.
But the secondary is the main question mark, and will be attacked all night by Harris. The Blue Raiders are allowing 250 yards and 7.0 yards per passing attempt. Of the 13 touchdowns the defense has allowed, 11 have come through the air.
UTSA vs. Middle Tennessee Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UTSA and Middle Tennessee match up statistically:
UTSA Offense vs. Middle Tennessee Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Middle Tennessee Offense vs. UTSA Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||92||85|
|Seconds per Play||22.2 (12)||25.6 (42)|
|Rush Rate||45.2% (109)||55.1% (54)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
UTSA vs. Middle Tennessee Betting Pick
I believe this matchup being on a short week is going to hurt Middle Tennessee and play into UTSA’s favor.
The Blue Raiders are coming off the biggest upset in the program's history and surely celebrated that victory throughout the week.
Now with a short week, it will leave them in a tough position to rebound quickly for this matchup against a tough conference foe.
If you look at the top-five biggest upsets of the season, the following week that team has gone 0-5 against the spread, failing to cover by an average of two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, UTSA is coming off of a glorified bye week against an FCS opponent.
Harris has led the UTSA offense into one of the more reliable groups in the country through the first four games. The Roadrunners put up 35 on Houston, 41 on Army, 52 on Texas Southern and 17 in the first half on Texas. They rank among the top-25 in Passing Success Rate and Havoc created.
The Roadrunners will limit the explosive plays and will overwhelm the Blue Raiders offensively.