FACTS & STATS: Site: Smith Stadium (22,113) — Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Television: FSN, MSG+. Home Record: UTSA 2-3, WKU 4-1. Away Record: UTSA 1-4,
WKU 1-4. Neutral Record: UTSA 0-0, WKU 0-0. Conference Record: UTSA 2-4, WKU
2-4. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Despite now being league foes in Conference USA, the first-ever
meeting between the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners and the Western Kentucky
Hilltoppers is set to take place at Smith Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
For UTSA, the team is aiming to win back-to-back games for the first time this
season, a season in which the squad has won a total of only three outings.
Back on Nov. 13, the Roadrunner managed to slip by Southern Miss at home in a
12-10 decision, snapping a three-game slide in the process.
With a league mark of 2-4, the Roadrunners find themselves alone in fourth
place in the West Division of C-USA. Following this outing, UTSA has just one
game remaining on the schedule, that being a home date with North Texas next
As for the Hilltoppers, also 2-4 in conference play but tied for fifth place
in the East Division with the likes of Old Dominion and Florida Atlantic, they
have won two straight and three of the last four games, and at 5-5 they are
still in the hunt for a potential bowl bid.
The team is coming off a 52-24 beating of Army at home last weekend and has a
road test versus undefeated and nationally-ranked Marshall on Nov. 28.
The Roadrunners were kept out of the end zone by Southern Miss in the last
outing, but that didn’t stop UTSA from capturing the win, thanks to the
efforts of kicker Sean Ianno’s four field goals. For Ianno, who knocked
through kicks from 41, 28, 35 and 38 yards, the latter came with just two
seconds remaining in regulation and marked his second game-winning kick of the
season, the fifth of his career.
Even though the Roadrunners had to lean on Ianno quite a bit, the squad still
produced a solid 344 yards of total offense, although those came on a total of
81 plays. Quarterback Austin Robinson hit on 27-of-44 passes for 175 yards and
was intercepted once, while David Glasco ran for 108 yards in the close call.
Defensively, the Roadrunner held down Southern Miss rather well, permitting
the visitors to run just 59 plays, leading to 314 yards. UTSA’s Jens Jeters
led all defenders with 12 tackles, while Triston Wade (seven stops) had a pair
of pass breakups and an interception. Wade, who now has a team-best four
interceptions and 13 passes defended, is also the program’s top tackler as
well with 74.
In addition to Wade, the other defender who is making quite an impact for the
Roadrunners is Robert Singletary who not only has 59 tackles, 8.5 tackles for
loss and is tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks, he is also responsible for
four forced fumbles in his nine starts.
On offense, Robinson is the third player to handle the quarterbacking duties
for the Roadrunners, but while he has completed a decent 57.9 percent of his
attempts, he still has just one TD against four INTs. As a unit, UTSA has a
mere four aerial scores and has tossed 11 picks.
For the briefest of moments, Leon Allen was the talk of college football last
weekend when he set a new Conference USA record with 345 rushing yards on 33
attempts, but that was only hours before Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon stole his
thunder by setting the FBS record for yards in a game with 408.
Allen scored three touchdowns for a WKU program that has been heavy on passing
for most of the season. In fact, heading into play this week the Hilltoppers
ranked fifth in the nation with 351.8 ypg, a number that shrank quite a bit
after Brandon Doughty threw for just 178 yards during Allen’s breakout day.
Doughty did throw three touchdowns though, so still the end result was a
positive one for the quarterback.
Doughty has taken almost every snap for the Hilltoppers through 10 games and
has completed 66.8 percent of his attempts for not only 350.7 ypg, but also 31
touchdowns, the latter being one of the highest totals in the nation. But now
an opponent like UTSA has to worry about Allen as well, who now has 1,185
yards and 11 TDs to his credit.
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, while Allen and Doughty claim much of the
spotlight, there should still be some attention given to the WKU defense, for
all the wrong reasons. The unit enters the week ranked 121st in the nation
with 508.0 ypg allowed, and the 39.8 ppg permitted is 121st in the country.
To expect Allen to have another offensive explosion for the Hilltoppers would
be rather foolish, but still the hosts have one of the best offensive weapons
in the nation in Doughty, so the scoring could still get out of hand.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Kentucky 48, Texas-San Antonio 31