The Old Dominion Monarchs (3-5, 1-3) travel to the Lone Star State as they take on the UTSA Roadrunners (1-7, 1-3) in a Conference USA matchup Saturday night. This will be the first meeting in history between the two schools with Old Dominion recently making the transition to FBS competition.
Old Dominion lost their second straight and fifth in their last six games as they were defeated 55-30 at home by Western Kentucky. UTSA ended up with their third straight defeat as they were knocked off 30-23 by North Texas on the road, giving the Mean Green their first win of the season. The kickoff from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET and will not be nationally televised. UTSA is currently a 10 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 54 points.
Old Dominion proved to be no match for Western Kentucky as the Hilltoppers ran to a 31-10 halftime edge on the Monarchs and kept things under control the rest of the way. The Monarchs were outgained 523-342, gave up 22 first downs to the 20 they picked up and committed the game’s only turnover. Old Dominion’s defense proved to be no match for the gunslinging of Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty and the running of Anthony Wales, who picked up four touchdowns on the ground.
The Monarchs are another struggling young FBS program as they are 106th (181.8 yards) in passing offense and 73rd (168.6 yards) in rushing on the year. Old Dominion is scoring 20.3 points per game while they stand 110th in scoring defense by allowing 36 points per contest. The passing game is anemic as Shuler Bentley has hit 94 of 186 passes for 917 yards with six touchdowns and five picks. David Washington has hit on 38 of 67 passes for 490 yards with four touchdown passes and two interceptions while adding 43 yards on the ground in his work. Ray Lawry is the feature back in the ground game with 162 carries for 966 yards and eight touchdowns; the rest of the team has combined for 124 carries for 383 yards and three scores. Zach Pascal has grabbed a team leading 34 passes for 467 yards and three scores; Johnathan Duhart (19 grabs, 237 yards, 3 TD), Vincent Lowe (15 receptions, 117 yards), Marques Little (15 receptions, 175 yards, 2 TD) and Lawry (14 grabs out of the backfield) are the only other players with double digit receptions. Three kickers have combined to hit 16 of 18 extra points and 6 of 10 field goal attempts on the year with a long of 45 yards.
UTSA ended up flopping with a chance to pick up a win as North Texas shut the Roadrunners in the fourth quarter. The Roadrunners led 17-14 after three quarters but was outscored 16-6 in the final quarter. UTSA outgained North Texas 475-371 and picked up 31 first downs while allowing 20 in the game. The Roadrunners dominated time of possession by holding the ball for 37:36 but gave up a fumble return for a score and a defensive two point conversion on a blocked extra point; both teams committed one turnover.
The Roadrunners average 197.9 yards per game (92nd in the nation) through the air and 158 yards on the ground (85th in the nation) this season. UTSA puts up 21.1 points per game and they’ve struggled defensively as they are 104th in scoring defense by allowing 34.5 points per game. Blake Bogenschutz is the starter at quarterback; he’s hit 59.1 percent of his passes for 897 yards with four touchdowns and four picks. Bogenschutz missed the last three games with a concussion and is questionable at best in this one. That means Dalton Sturm (58 of 105, 647 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT, 257 rushing yards) is a real possibility of making his fourth straight start. Jarveon Williams is the lead back in the run game as he has 127 carries for 671 yards and five scores while Jalen Rhodes (43 carries, 197 yards, 2 TD) is the second back in the system. In the passing game, Bogenschutz and Sturm can look for David Morgan II (33 receptions, 393 yards, 4 TD), Aaron Grubb (27 grabs, 220 yards) and Kerry Thomas Jr. (31 catches, 342 yards, 2 TD) to move the sticks. Daniel Portillo has struggled in the kicking game as he is 17 of 20 on extra points but just 8 of 14 on field goals this year; he’s 0 for 5 from 40 to 49 yards though he hit a 51 yard kick.
UTSA is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 after an ATS loss, 3-11 ATS in their last 14 after a straight up loss and 1-4 ATS in their last five after allowing more than 200 yards on the ground.
The Roadrunners are coming off a loss to a team that had no wins coming into the game and it’s hard to see them favored by double figures in the contest. Old Dominion isn’t a great team but they have some capable pieces to work with, especially in the run game. This one will be interesting to see how UTSA deals with Lawry on the ground and who will start for the Roadrunners at quarterback. I can’t back a one win team favored by double digits; take the points and Old Dominion here.