Army Black Knights (0-1, FBS Independent) vs UTSA Roadrunners (0-1, C-USA)
Time and Date: Noon ET, September 10
Broadcast Network: CBS Sports Network
Location: Michie Stadium - West Point, NY
Spread: UTSA -2
Point Total: O/U 54.5*
ESPN FPI: Army 63%
All-Time Series: These two teams have played twice before: both times in San Antonio, with the Black Knights winning by multiple scores. Those games came in 2019 and 2020.
*Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Army’s biggest story this year is preseason All-American edge Andre Carter II. Carter set the school’s sack record last season with 15.5. That being said, he seemed to be neutralized against Coastal Carolina in Army’s season opener. He finished with three tackles in that game and had some issues wrapping up Grayson McCall.
Defensively, they’ll need to have a better day creating disturbances in the backfield and limiting chunk plays. CCU picked up 30 total first downs and dominated time of position in the second half. UTSA’s offense is very capable of the same type of thing.
Offensively, the Black Knights once again have a multitude of backs to facilitate the triple option. The majority of the carries will be split amongst three backs: Tyrell Robinson, Jakobi Buchanan, and Tyson Riley. In week one, Army ran for 202 yards, but found themselves throwing more in the second half due to the score deficit. Quarterbacks Tyheir Tyler and Cade Ballard combined to be four of eight for 142 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
The loss last week to No, 24 Houston was tough. There are high expectations for this team after last season and the Roadrunners let a winnable game slip through their fingers at the end. The mood around the team—including head coach Jeff Traylor—was noticeably somber over the holiday weekend but there is still a tremendous amount of reason for optimism for the rest of the season.
Despite last week’s loss UTSA showed that it belonged on the field against a ranked opponent. Quarterback Frank Harris looked just as dominant, if not more so than last year, in his 2022 debut. He generated 400 yards of offense, scored four touchdowns, and led the team downfield in just 20 seconds to score the game-tying field goal to send the game to overtime. So long as Harris remains healthy UTSA is capable of winning any game left on the schedule.
This is especially true if UTSA’s defense keeps playing like it did against Houston. The Roadrunners only gave up 7 points in the first three quarters and were able to pressure or sack Clayton Tune consistently throughout the game. They allowed only 3.2 yards per rush attempt and denied Tune his open receivers downfield. If the defense continues this level of play, then UTSA will easily contend again for the conference championship.
But against Army, UTSA will have to play disciplined football and not allow Army’s offense to remain on the field for long. The Roadrunners lost energy and momentum late against Houston and if the defense cannot keep Army’s offense off the field, then there are legitimate concerns that fatigue will seep in again.
Offensively UTSA will need wide receiver Zakhari Fraklin to return as a premier receiving threat. He had an uncharacteristic amount of dropped passes last week that would have extended drives, and if the offense is going to score it will need Franklin and the rest of the receiving corps to play strong. UTSA also lost Makai Hart to injury on the offensive line and will need the backups to give Harris enough time to find an open receiver. The Roadrunners cannot let self-inflicted wounds keep Army in the game.
Joe: Army showed their vulnerability to the deep ball and a fast paced offense in their loss to Coastal Carolina. Frank Harris excelled at both of these things in their last game against Houston and in prior contests. I think UTSA wins by ten.
Sumner: Army plays a very physical and disciplined type of game which means UTSA must focus on playing consistently both offensively and defensively if the Roadrunners are going to survive all four quarters. UTSA has the talent and skill to win this game convincingly but if the team cannot shake the Houston loss from their minds expect this game to be very close, with the more disciplined team the victor. UTSA 31, Army 24