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FAU Owls vs UTSA Roadrunners Preview

An upset win might keep Frank Wilson off the hot seat this Saturday.

UTSA v Baylor Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Records: FAU (7-3) vs UTSA (4-6)

Game Time: 5 pm CST Saturday, November 23rd

Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

TV: ESPN+

Radio: Ticket760

Live Stats: SideArm Stats

Series Record: FAU leads 1-0

Betting Line: FAU -20, O/U 56.5


UTSA Outlook

Sitting at four wins on the season, UTSA Head Coach Frank Wilson has turned to the younger half of his roster to try to find a spark down the stretch. The Roadrunners’ offense has greatly benefited as true freshmen contributed 260 yards of total offense against Southern Miss last week.

Sophomore quarterback Lowell Narcisse continues to improve as a pocket passer and has developed quite the connection with true freshman wide out Zakhari Franklin over the past few weeks. Narcisse still had some misfires and held on to the ball too long several times against Southern Miss last week but the signal caller has shown enough consistency over the past few weeks to be considered a building block for Jeff Kastl’s offense.

The Roadrunners’ defense has been efficient over the past two weeks, holding Old Dominion and Southern Miss to a combined 30% third down conversion rate. Despite the Roadrunners’ stiffness on third downs, they’ve been giving up way too many explosive plays. FAU certainly has the playmakers to continue that trend so UTSA will need to get to quarterback Chris Robison quickly to prevent him from finding and hitting any open receivers down field.

While the Roadrunners’ hopes for a bowl game are technically still alive, it’s going to take two major upsets in the next two weeks for UTSA to pull off a miracle bowl bid. With attendance in the Alamodome dropping to record lows, it’s crucial that Frank Wilson’s team puts together an impressive performance in the last home game of the season to hopefully salvage a bit of good will with the community as San Antonio appears to be rejecting UTSA football right now.

An upset win this week will probably cement Frank Wilson’s chances of returning to coach the Roadrunners next year, while a blowout loss in front of a skeleton crew crowd will heat Wilson’s seat back to the blazing temperature he sat on after the UNT loss early in the season.

FAU Outlook

With two games left in the season, FAU still has a shot at the conference title as they are tied for first place with Marshall in C-USA East. However due to Marshall’s head-to-head win earlier in the season the Owls need help. Marshall will play Charlotte on the road before closing the season at home against FIU.

While FAU fans will most certainly be scoreboard watching this Saturday, the result in Marshall’s game won’t matter if Lane Kiffin and co. don’t take care of business in the Alamodome.

The Owls will enter the game well rested after having last week off. Earlier this year FAU took advantage of the extra week to prepare for a conference opponent with a 28-13 win over Middle Tennessee. The defense played great in that game and has the potential to be the difference against UTSA too.

In conference play the Roadrunners are 12th in passing offense, 12th in passing efficiency, and 6th in rushing offense. On the flip side, FAU is 13th in passing defense, 6th in passing efficiency, and 6th in rushing defense. While the Owls will certainly give up some big plays through the air, they are a very opportunistic unit as they lead C-USA with 14 interceptions. DOTSON, Meiko Dotson, James Pierrre, Zyon Gilbert and the rest of the ballhawks in the secondary will be playing a young QB in Narcisse who has a tendency to have lapses over the course of the game.

Should the defense struggle, the offense will need Texas native Chris Robison to be at his best. After having a ton of struggles on the road in 2018, Robison has completely flipped the script this season. On the road Robison has passed for 1,272 with 11 TDs and 2 INTs. FAU is 4-1 on the road this year with their lone loss coming to No. 2 Ohio State.

Predictions

Jared - I’m surprising myself by picking the Roadrunners to pull this one off. I don’t have a good reason to, other than just listening to my gut. Lane Kiffin’s squad is due for a let down game and may be rusty coming off of a bye week. A passionate performance from UTSA’s seniors in their last home game may give them the competitive edge to shock FAU and Conference USA. UTSA 30 FAU 28

Cyrus - FAU is very aware of what’s at stake entering this game. One more loss pretty much ends their dreams of winning a conference title this year. I expect Chris Robison to keep the team focused on his homecoming trip and have his best game of the season in front of friends and family. Under Kiffin FAU is 2-1 after a bye week. I expect the Owls to add win number three in convincing fashion. FAU 38 UTSA 17