FACTS & STATS: Site: Alamodome (72,000) — San Antonio, Texas.
Television: CBSSN. Home Record: USM 2-3, UTSA 1-3. Away Record: USM 1-4, UTSA
1-4. Neutral Record: USM 0-0, UTSA 0-0. Conference Record: USM 1-5, UTSA 1-4.
Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Two teams riding three-game losing streaks square off on Thursday
night, as the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners welcome the Southern Miss Golden
Eagles to the Alamodome for a Conference USA clash.
It has been rough going for Southern Miss these last few weeks. It followed up
losses to Louisiana Tech (31-20) and Texas-El Paso (35-14) with a 63-17
setback at home against Marshall last weekend. The Golden Eagles have lost
five of their last six as well, and they are currently just 3-7 overall, with
one win in six tries against conference competition.
UTSA may have been more competitive last weekend, but it still fell into the
loss column, dropping a 17-7 decision at Rice. That disappointment was the
third straight and seventh in the last eight games for the Roadrunners, who
are just 2-7 overall and 1-4 in conference.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs, a common
occurrence for UTSA, which is in just its third season at the FBS level.
While Southern Miss was clearly the underdog against Marshall, the Golden
Eagles’ chances were not helped by the absence of quarterback Nick Mullens,
who missed the game with a foot injury. Cole Weeks stepped in and led the team
for the second straight week. He connected on 11-of-19 passes for only 114
yards to go with an interception. He has been picked off five times in the
last three games, during which Mullens has thrown all of four passes.
Even with Mullens under center, Southern Miss has not been an overly
impressive offensive unit. The Golden Eagles are only averaging 370.6 yards
and 19.4 points per game.
Markese Triplett was the only player to have more than 20 receiving yards
against Marshall, topping out at 22. He is the third receiver for the Golden
Eagles, with 411 total yards on 32 receptions. Casey Martin (52 receptions,
515 yards, two TDs) and Michael Thomas (34 receptions, 500 yards, five TDs)
are the leading pass-catchers for the unit.
Ito Smith had an excellent game against Marshall, it is just too bad he didn’t
get much help. Smith finished with a season-high 141 yards and two touchdowns
in the losing effort. The scores were the first of the season for the Golden
Eagles’ leading rusher (454 yards).
Southern Miss got to see in person just how impressive Marshall is
offensively, as it was lit up for 521 yards of total offense. The Golden
Eagles have allowed more than 500 yards four times this season, and they rank
ninth in the conference in total defense (452.6 ypg).
Luckily for the Golden Eagles, UTSA is one of the worst offensive teams in the
country, let alone Conference USA. They are scoring only 16.9 points and
gaining just 282.2 yards per game.
It was another tough outing against Rice, as the Roadrunners managed only 257
total yards, while failing to score on their only two trips to the red zone.
It was at least a better showing than the previous game, when they managed all
of 70 yards in a shutout loss to UTEP.
Tucker Carter returned to the starting lineup against Rice, and he completed
9-of-16 pass attempts for 57 yards, but was replaced by Austin Robinson, who
has gotten a decent amount of work recently. Robinson tallied 96 yards and the
Roadrunners’ lone touchdown on 8-of-16 passing in the losing effort.
David Glasco II got most of the work out of the backfield against Rice,
finishing with 49 yards on nine carries. The effort allowed him to inch ahead
of Jarveon Williams (325 yards, three TDs) on the team’s rushing list, as he
now has 333 yards and four scores this season. Williams did not play against
Tight end David Morgan is the leading receiving for the Roadrunners, with only
219 yards on 16 total receptions. Marcellus Mack is second on the team in
receiving yards (190), while Kam Jones (22 receptions, 265 yards) is second in
receptions. Morgan finished with only 23 yards on two receptions and Jones had
a single catch against Rice. Aaron Grubb and Kenny Bias were the more
productive pass-catchers in the loss, with Grubb putting up 43 yards on four
receptions and Bias tallying 44 yards and a score on three grabs.
All that has kept UTSA from a complete free fall this season has been its play
on defense. The Roadrunners are third in the league in yards allowed (358.4
ypg) and fourth in scoring defense (25.4 ppg).
With its ability to clamp down on defense, UTSA is always a threat to keep
things close at the very least. That was the case last weekend against Rice
and should continue to be as the season reaches its conclusion. With Mullens;
status up in the air again, the Golden Eagles aren’t an effective enough
offensive unit to fly past their hosts. It won’t be pretty, but expect the
Roadrunners to prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-San Antonio 20, Southern Miss 17