UTSA vs. Rice prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Roadrunners and Owls on Saturday in Houston, TX.
UTSA vs. Rice Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Rice Stadium, Houston, TX
TV Broadcast: N/A
The Roadrunners (2-3, 1-1 Conference USA) are coming off of their strongest effort of the year in a 55-32 home win over Southern Mississippi. Jalen Rhodes rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns, including an 80-yard scoring run in the second quarter, to help the team snap a three-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, the Owls (0-5, 0-3) are coming off of a much-needed bye week after their 44-28 road loss to Southern Mississippi, a game in which Nick Mullens threw for 591 yards and four touchdowns and the Golden Eagles set a school record with 702 yards of total offense.
In last year’s meeting between the two schools in San Antonio, Jarveon Williams rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-24 Roadrunners win. Quarterback Dalton Sturm threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score in the win.
What To Know About UTSA
After an opening win over Alabama State, Frank Wilson’s squad dropped three in a row—including a home game against Arizona State in which it outplayed the Sun Devils for a good portion of that contest. But last week’s effort against the Golden Eagles was its best yet. It was a very unexpected win for the heavy-underdog Roadrunners. So the hope for UTSA is that it can consistently play to that level. Sturm has completed 30 of 37 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s two wins. He has also been a force on the ground, and he showed his dual-threat ability in the close loss to Arizona State. While Rhodes and Williams form a potent rushing duo, this offense is only as effective as Sturm. He needs to be more consistent, though he also needs to be better protected, as he has already been sacked 17 times.
What to Know About Rice
After a 5-7 campaign in 2015, David Bailiff’s Owls continue to struggle and are still looking for their first win of the season. The offense, while balanced, is averaging just 20.2 points per game. Quarterback Tyler Stehling is only completing 55.7 percent of his throws, and he has four interceptions compared to just four scoring passes. Defensively, Rice is nothing short of a disaster. The Owls are giving up 567.4 yards per game and 40.2 points per contest, and they are very susceptible to the pass.
Offense: UTSA. The Roadrunners are averaging 28.4 points per game.
Defense: UTSA. Wilson’s squad is giving up 150 yards less per contest than Rice.
Special Teams: Even. Neither team has attempted a ton of field goals, but both kickers are perfect on their attempts as well as on extra points.
Coaching: Even. Bailiff is struggling to get Rice on track after taking the Owls to four bowl games, while Wilson is settling in nicely in San Antonio.
Intangibles: UTSA. The Owls are a wounded bunch right now, while the Roadrunners are coming off of their best win of the season.
Matchup To Watch
Rice ground game vs. UTSA rush defense
Rice’s defense is one of the worst in the country, and it is allowing 355.0 yards per game through the air. Sturm should find plenty of passing lanes against the Owls defense. But if Rice has any chance of an upset, it must be able to effectively run the football against a UTSA unit that is giving up 197.4 yards per game on the ground. Rice is averaging 173.2 rushing yards per contest, led by Darik Dillard and Stehling. The Owls QB is actually coming off of his most efficient game as a passer, but his strength is still his legs. Rice needs to run right at the UTSA front, hope to soften it up and make life easier for Stehling through the air.
Spread: Rice -1.5
UTSA vs. Rice Prediction
The Owls have too porous of a defense and not enough offensive firepower to defeat a UTSA squad that has seemingly turned a corner. UTSA has a more potent offense and a little stingier of a defense, so expect the Roadrunners to get a win on the road.
UTSA vs. Rice Score Prediction: UTSA 34, Rice 20