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UTSA Roadrunners vs North Texas Mean Green Preview: Game Time, Betting Line, Prediction

An absolute must-win game for both teams, as each enters the game at 1-2 in a series decided by a total of six points in the last two years

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Texas San Antonio at North Texas Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Records: UTSA (1-2), North Texas (1-2)

Game Time: 6:30 p.m., Saturday, September 21

Location: Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX

TV: Facebook

Radio: Ticket 760 AM/Mean Green Sports Network

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast

Series Record: Tied 3-3

Betting Line: UNT -19, O/U 58


UTSA Roadrunners Outlook - Jared Kalmus

The last two weeks have been tough for the Roadrunners, but understandably so. Baylor absolutely crushed UTSA in week two, while Army slowly suffocated the fight out of the Roadrunners in a game that was closer than the final score indicated. Both Baylor and Army are right on the bubble of the top 25 so UTSA shouldn’t take too much shame in losing to them. Rather, the experience should be a positive for a young team that’s still finding their identity. Even more importantly, UTSA has made it to week four without any notable injuries.

Rivalry outside, this week’s game provides a great opportunity for UTSA as it’s their first real measuring stick for the season. The Roadrunners enjoyed huge talent advantages over Incarnate Word, while Baylor and Army are lightyears ahead of UTSA. UNT is on pretty equal footing with UTSA so this is our first real chance to get a feel for how the Roadrunners will perform for the rest of their schedule.

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris has continued to play well in his first collegiate season, as he holds one of the highest completion percentages in the nation. Harris could be a problem for the Mean Green as UNT gave up 90 rushing yards (sacks removed) to Cal quarterback Chase Garbers last week. Harris is a much more explosive runner than Garbers so UNT will need to figure out a plan to spy Harris to keep him in the pocket.

Defensively the Roadrunners will look to lean on the strength of their defensive line. After graduating both of their starting offensive tackles, UNT has seen a drop off in both pass protection and run blocking from their offensive line. The Roadrunners’ defensive linemen should be full of confidence after beating up on Army in the trenches last week. The goal for UTSA will be to force Mason Fine into third and long attempts as the Mean Green have converted just 31% of their third down conversion attempts in the past two weeks.

North Texas Mean Green Outlook - Adam Woodyard

The last two weeks have been tough on the Mean Green as well, but for different reasons. Two weeks ago they were grounded by a suddenly well-rounded SMU team, and a week later held their own against the Pac-12’s Golden Bears, dropping a close one to, in theory, a better team than the Mustangs (current combined record of those two teams: 6-0).

It’s trickier to say whether this is UNT’s “first” measuring stick of the season, as Cal certainly dominated the first quarter of that game, but then only managed a field goal in quarters two through four. Cal is not exactly a prolific offense, but their defense was certainly strong enough that even with a new offensive coordinator on the sidelines, the Mean Green proved themselves to still be a dangerous team in 2019.

Mason Fine continues to do what he does, with his usual thrilling heroics but mixed results from the North Texas defense. A lot went wrong during the SMU game, but the team seemed to correct the following week, while allowing budding superstar Tre Siggers to motor down the field and do his thing. Provided everyone is healthy this week, Siggers should be even more impressive against UTSA.

Defensively North Texas seems on par with the Roadrunners, as both defenses have given up about a hundred points each, over their first three games. Unless some huge adjustment takes place on that side of the ball, this will just come down to which offense goes harder for four quarters.

Predictions

Jared - As I’m writing this we’ve yet to hear how many, if any, of the seven players that were injured against Cal will be playing for UNT this week. That could make a big difference but ultimately the Mean Green will be able to lean back on Mason Fine’s arm to bail them out. I think UTSA’s receivers will have an easier time getting open this week, giving the Roadrunners’ offense a little bit more breathing room. UTSA’s defensive line will pressure Fine all day but the Mean Green will hit on enough big plays to secure the win.

North Texas 33, UTSA 21

Adam - Considering how close this contest has been the last few years, the line legitimately surprised me. These games have been close, thrilling, and the largest margin of victory in series history was 14. Considering the improved offense under UTSA’s Frank Harris, this promises to be the same. I predict UTSA covers.

North Texas 27, UTSA 24