UTSA at Illinois - 9/4/21 College Football Picks and Prediction
Photo by John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports
Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0) vs UTSA Roadrunners (0-0)
Game Info: Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 7:30 pm (Memorial Stadium)
Betting Odds: Illinois Fighting Illini -5 -- Over/Under: 50 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The UTSA Roadrunners will travel to Memorial Stadium (Champaign, IL) to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini this Saturday night in College Football action.
The UTSA Roadrunners finished last season with an overall record of 7-5 while finishing 2nd in the C-USA West Division with a 5-2 conference record. UTSA earned a trip to the First Responder Bowl, however, fell short of victory after being defeated by the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns by a 31-24 margin. Offensively, UTSA averaged 28.2 ppg on 415.3 total yards per game (199.9 passing yds/g; 215.4 rushing yds/g). UTSA’s offense this season with be led by returning RB Sincere McCormick who finished last season with 1,467 yards & 11 TD’s on 249 carries and should have success again as the Roadrunners return their entire offensive line. QB Frank Harris returns after completing 63.6% of his passes for 1,630 yards, 12 TD & 6 INT while also rushing for 528 yards & 9 TD’s. The top receiving threats for the Roadrunners will Zakhari Franklin (49 rec, 694 yards, 7 TD), Joshua Cephus (58 rec, 547 yards, 5 TD), & Leroy Watson (14 rec, 176 yards).
Defensively, UTSA held their opponents to an average of 25.7 ppg on 383.3 total yards per game (221.2 passing yds/g; 162.1 rushing yds/g). UTSA should have a strong defense once again as they return 10 starters, led by Safety Richard Wisdom.
The Illinois Fighting Illini opened of their 2021 season in impressive fashion after upsetting the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 30-22, this past Saturday. Illinois was able to overcome their starting QB, Brandon Peters, being injured early in the game and held on late after going into halftime with a 16-9 lead thanks to a Calvin Hart Jr. 41-yard fumble recovery for a TD. Leading the way for Illinois was backup QB Artur Sitkowski who completed 12 of 15 passes for 124 yards & 2 TD’s in relief of Brandon Peters. Illinois did get good news on Peters and although he is still questionable to play this weekend, he did return to practice this week. The leading receivers for the Fighting Illini in their season opener were Deuce Spann (1 rec, 45 yards), Isaiah Williams (6 rec, 41 yards, TD), & Luke Ford (3 rec, 30 yards, TD). Leading the way for the Illinois backfield was the duo of Mike Epstein (16 car, 75 yards, TD) & Reggie Love III (12 car, 45 yards).
Defensively, Illinois allowed Nebraska to gain 392 yards and gain 19 first downs. Illinois did get a big turnover that led to a key TD before the half, however, did lose Calvin Hart Jr. for the season due to a season-ending knee injury.
The Roadrunners are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as a road underdog and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 road games. The Fighting Illini are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games in September and just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
Illinois picked up a great victory to start the season, however, I’m not buying to much into the Fighting Illini as I just don’t think Nebraska is that strong of a team. UTSA is a very underrated team that brings back arguably the best player in the C-USA in Sincere McCormick and have basically have every returning starter on both ends of the field returning. Illinois might get Brandon Peters back for this game, however, losing Calvin Hart Jr. is a big blow, especially against the UTSA rushing attack and as I expect Illinois to have a letdown after last week’s victory, I think the play here is to take UTSA and the points and put down something on the Roadrunners to win this one outright. Good Luck!