Records: UTSA (3-5), ODU (1-8)
Game Time: 1 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 9th
Location: S.B. Ballard Stadium, Norfolk, Virginia
Series Record: ODU leads the series 2-0 and won the last meeting 33-19.
Betting Line: ODU -4, O/U 43
UTSA Roadrunners Outlook
Everyone expected the Roadrunners to get blasted against Texas A&M last weekend and with a 45-14 final score I guess that did happen, but UTSA was surprisingly competitive and well-composed on the big stage. Had starting quarterback Lowell Narcisse not left the game with a non-serious injury to his non-throwing hand, UTSA could have kept the score even closer.
Narcisse is expected to be good to go this week, a relief for the Roadrunners as back up Jordan Weeks didn’t look sharp in his playing time against SEC opposition. Narcisse continues to improve each week, but the Monarchs’ defense is stingier than one would expect from a one-win team. It’s also worth noting that this game will actually be UTSA’s first game outside of the state of Texas this season. The Roadrunners have just one more out-of-state game this season when they travel to Louisiana Tech to end the season.
UTSA will turn to their strengths this week to gain an advantage over Old Dominion. Freshman running back Sincere McCormick continues to show his ability as a special player, and the Roadrunners’ defensive line matches up nicely with a struggling ODU offensive front.
If the Roadrunners do drop this game then it’s quite likely that the Roadrunners will finish the year with a 3-9 record. It’s critical that UTSA shows up to play their best game of the season as a win this week could be enough for Frank Wilson to return as UTSA’s head coach next season. Expect UTSA to pull out all the stops to secure a win in what should be a close contest.
ODU Monarchs Outlook
Head Coach Bobby Wilder debuted his new starting quarterback Hayden Wolff last week, wisely saving Wolff’s first action until the end of the season so that Wolff can maintain his redshirt eligibility. At 6’5”, 214 pounds, Wolff certainly looks the part of a pocket passer. While Wolff completed 19 of 35 passes for 169 yards, he also struggled with sack avoidance and made several ill-advised throws into traffic, standard miscues for a freshman.
With a full game under his belt, we should expect to see Wolff take a step forward this week as he starts to shake off his nerves and get adjusted to the collegiate level. Wolff appears to be ODU’s quarterback of the future, but Stone Smartt is still a factor.
The dual-threat QB completed 58% of his passes in his time as ODU’s starting quarterback, but a 1:5 TD to INT ratio prevented the Monarchs’ offense from taking flight. In fact ODU has just two passing touchdowns to their name after nine games this season.
Smartt’s inability to create big plays through the air will prevent him from being a full-time contributor, but Bobby Wilder proved last week that he’s more than willing to put Smartt back under center on short yardage situations, especially near the goal line.
Defensively the Monarchs have proven to be stout against the run, allowing just 3.6 yards per carry and 133 yards per game. ODU has a strong defensive line, highlighted by Keion White and Juwan Ross. Linebacker Lawrence Garner has been one of the top linebackers in the conference this season as he’s posted 83 tackles on the year.
I’m not expecting either team to look particularly sharp on offense so this game should be close just by nature of it being low scoring. Hayden Wolff might look a little bit better this week but I think UTSA has the edge with Lowell Narcisse under center. Whichever team runs the ball more efficiently will take this one, and I’m placing my bets on UTSA to narrowly win that battle.
UTSA 24 ODU 20