Behind Enemy Lines: MT/UTSA
MTSU travels to the Lone Star State to take on UTSA this weekend. Middle rolls into this game 1-1, while UTSA boasts a 2-0 record, defeating Illinois and Lamar.
Now it is time to go behind the scenes and behind the enemy lines with Javier Cardenas from UTSA’s Rivals affiliate.
You can follow Cardenas at RivalsJavi
What is the pulse of the UTSA fanbase when it comes to this game? Do they think they have the game in the bag or are they expecting a battle?
There is definitely a palpable sense of confidence for the fanbase this week coming off an impressive showing against FCS Lamar. It is hard not to be a little optimistic after a win over a P5 opponent and having your fist shutout win in school history, but fans should know better by now. Me personally, I do not think UTSA will run away this one like some might think. Middle Tennessee gave the Roadrunners a run for their money last year, and I expect more of the same this year. Now that does not mean UTSA will not win by two scores, I just don’t think this will be a huge blow out win.
What about MT scares you the most when it comes to this matchup?
Bailey Hockman is what/who scares me the most this week. He probably has the best arm UTSA has faced this year. If he is able to get the ball out quick to his receivers he will create some havoc for this defense. He is very much a pocket passer though so if UTSA is able to create some pressure it might limit his ability to push the ball downfield on a consistent basis.
Who are the key playmakers on offense and defense?
On offense you will want to watch for quarterback Frank Harris, running back Sincere McCormick and wide receiver Zakhari Franklin. Harris seems to have taken a next step in his development through two games. He’s completing 70% of his passes and has yet to turn the ball over this season. McCormick is the defending C-USA Offensive Player of the Year, so there is really not much more to say there. Zakhari Franklin appears to be one of the better G5 wideouts through two games. I would expect all three to make an All-Conference team by the end of the season.
On defense, linebacker Charles Wiley, defensive lineman Jaylon Haynes and cornerback Tariq Woolen are the names to keep an eye on. Wiley is UTSA’s most dangerous pass rusher. The former Ole Miss rebel has been a weapon since stepping foot on campus. Haynes will likely be playing on Sundays. He is one of the most disruptive defensive lineman in the conference. Tariq Woolen is a converted wide receiver that has quickly become on the better corners in the conference.
The spread is currently hovering around 13, in favor of UTSA…Will they cover?
I am bullish on this one. I do think UTSA can cover the spread, but my gut tells me this will be around a ten point game. So If I had to make a pick here I would take MTSU to lose by around ten points.
Over/Under 150 yards rushing?
UTSA has yet to have a breakout game on the ground with McCormick and backup Brenden Brady. MTSU is giving up around 220 yards per game on the ground so give me the over on this one for the Roadrunners.
ike I have been hinting at I think this game will be a lot closer than what most people think. I do think this will be a high scoring affair heading into the 4th quarter. The Roadrunners appears to be one of the better teams in the West and this will be their chance to prove it to the rest of conference. Harris and McCormick put on a show and put the Blue Raiders away in 4th.