Arizona State got into a track meet with Texas Tech last week, and ultimately came out ahead in a sprint. The Red Raiders scored 55 points, yet it wasn’t enough. No, seriously, Texas Tech gave up 68 points to Arizona State for a 68-55 win. There is playing against an Alabama defense, and then there is playing against Texas Tech. Should I even say defense? Because Arizona State was essentially playing against the air. Every time they got the ball they were down in Texas Tech territory. While the Red Raiders do not have the best talent on defense, when you give up 68 points, I don’t care who you are, it becomes an effort issue. The Red Raiders should be embarrassed over that display. Not to say the Arizona State defense was playing well either, as they allowed 55 themselves. The Sun Devils need to put that game in their rear-view mirror and focus on Texas San Antonio on Friday night.
The Roadrunners became completely eligible for FBS football in 2014, allowing them to compete in bowl games. However, they have been playing against NCAA D1 competition since 2012. The idea for UTSA was to gradually grow one year at a time. Texas is a talent rich state, and the Roadrunners have wanted to take a bite out of recruiting. In their first season they went 8-4, an impressive start which put the rest of the state on watch. But what is going on here with this program? They’ve been back peddling ever since that first year. After the 8-4 opening season, UTSA went 7-5, 4-8, 3-9, and now they’re off to a slow start to 2016. The school would have rather hoped the Roadrunners start 3-9, and then get better as the years go on. Of course it hasn’t been the case at UTSA. You would think after playing at this level for a few years they’d be able to recruit some quality talent.
UTSA is 1-1, with their win coming against much lower competition, Alabama State. It isn’t considered a good win for them, as they won by a lackluster score of 26-13. Texas-San Antonio was hoping that it would be a big showing in the first game of the season, but they had to fight and claw as 24 point favorites. They came up short the following week against Colorado State, a 23-14 loss. Colorado State is not expected to be a good team this season, so take the final score as you will. Arizona State cannot play down to their competition in this one. It might be easy to look at UTSA and think it’s an easy win, but that’s the same kind of thinking Houston had last night in a close game against Cincinnati before they woke up and won comfortably.
Arizona State Sun Devils vs Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners NCAAF Betting Odds:
Arizona State -20.5(-110)
vs. UTSA +20.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Arizona State vs. UTSA Pick:
Arizona State had one of the best offenses to deal with last night. This week they’re going to be switching gears, against one of the worst offenses in college football is. The Roadrunners have been trying to figure it out by trial and error thus far. UTSA has gone with Dalton Sturm at quarterback, this being his second season in a starting role. Last season he threw for 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, with 361 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground.
In college football today, your team better have one really good defense if that’s what you’re working with at the quarterback position. Strum has been adequate through the first two weeks of action, throwing for 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He has yet to play a decent defense, though. Also, he shouldn’t get much help from his defense in this contest.
The Roadrunners should struggle against the Arizona State ground game tonight. UTSA is ranked 94th in the country against the run, after allowing 220 yards to the Rams last week. Note that they’ve only played Alabama State and Colorado State and are 94th in the nation against the run. I expect that number to get even worse for UTSA following games against better team, starting today against Arizona State. The Sun Devils ran all over Texas Tech last week for 301 yards. Quarterback Manny Wilkins looked much better than the previous week, passing for 351 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was a nice confidence boost for Wilkins, who is in his first season as the starter in the Sun Devil offense.
The only way to compete with Arizona State is to have a high-powered offense with an adequate defense. An average defense would do it against them, but Texas Tech definitely didn’t fulfill that requirement a week ago. Nor do I see the UTSA defense slowing the running attack down this week. UTSA does not have the horses on offense to keep this a close game, like Texas Tech did. It’s a chalky evening for me on Friday night, but this looks like a winning selection.