UTSA vs Houston Prediction - College Football Picks 9/2/23

Houston Cougars (0-0) vs UTSA Roadrunners (0-0)

Game Info: Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 7:00 pm (TDECU Stadium)

Betting Odds: Houston Cougars +2 -- Over/Under: 61.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

The Houston Cougars will host the UTSA Roadrunners for a lone star, non-conference battle this weekend from TDECU Stadium on FS1. Houston took last year’s matchup in triple-overtime fashion by two points to take a 2-1 series lead.

UTSA Roadrunners Preview

UTSA went 11-3 last year, with a 8-0 record in play. The Roadrunners put together two dominant seasons and they earned a ticket to the American Conference, where they’ll essentially be replacing their season opening opponents here. UTSA scored 36.8 points per game, while passing for 300.7 yards per game, and rushing for 175.3 ypg last season.

• Frank Harris’ unexpected return was huge, and it makes UTSA real threats to come and crash the conference early. The standout quarterback led the Roadrunners to a CUSA title, and he totaled over 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons. In 2022, Harris passed for 3,865 yards, with 31 touchdowns to seven picks, and he gained 588 yards on the ground, and scored nine more times.

• Kevorian Barnes returns to lead the backfield, and after surpassing the 100-yard mark in five of the final eight games last year, he finished with 713 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

• UTSA returns two of their top four receivers from last season in Joshua Cephus and De’Corian Clark. Cephus caught 85 for 985 receiving yards and six scores, while a Clark posted a line of 51/741/8 before going down in early November. 

• The San Antonio defense allowed 25.9 ppg in 2022.


Houston Cougars Preview 

Houston went 8-5 last year, with a 5-3 record in AAC play, and capped it off with an Independence Day Bowl victory over Louisiana. The Cougars regressed a bit last year after a strong 2021 season, but they’ll now have to take things to a new level, as they’ve been promoted to the Big 12 Conference. Houston scored 36.1 points per game, while passing for 254.5 yards per game, and rushing for 107.3 ypg in 2022.

• Houston said goodbye to longtime quarterback Clayton Tune, and in comes Texas Tech transfer Donovan Smith. The junior signal caller was having a solid season in Lubbock prior to a quarterback change, and he even tossed for 350 yards in their matchup with Houston last year. Through five starts, Smith passed for 1,505 yards, with 12 touchdowns to eight interceptions, and he added seven rushing touchdowns.

• Stacy Sneed, Brandon Campbell and Tony Mathis Jr. will likely lead the Cougar backfield. 

• Sneed was the primary ball carrier down the stretch, as he surpassed the 70-yard mark in four of the last five games, and totaled 489 yards and five scores thru ten games. Campbell finished the 2022 season with 409 rushing yards, while Mathis, a WVU transfer, gained 562 yards for the Mountaineers last year. 

• Tank Dell was drafted by the hometown Texans, so there will also be a new WR1 for the Cougs. 

• The Houston defense allowed 32.2 ppg last season.


Corey’s Free Pick

There’s a reason UTSA is the favorite to win this cross-state contest, and his name is Frank Harris. The senior quarterback gave Houston all kinds of trouble in their three overtime classic in San Antonio last season, totaling 400 yards, while scoring four times, and I believe the entire squad will have revenge on their mind. The Cougars may feel the inexperience early, and there’s a good chance they have their first season in the Big 12 altered prematurely. This UTSA team is special, so let’s trust them in this non-conference spot. 

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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