For the third straight season, the UTSA Roadrunners will open Conference USA play against the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders. After the teams’ last two meetings were in the Alamodome, Friday night’s game is at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro this year. It is UTSA’s first trip to Murfreesboro since 2016, when the Roadrunners came away with a 45-25 win. With UTSA’s impending move to the American Athletic Conference next season it’s likely the Roadrunners’ last visit to Middle Tennessee for the foreseeable future.
UTSA Roadrunners (2-2) vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (3-1):
Location: Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m.
How to watch: CBS Sports Network
UTSA pulled away in the second half for a 52-24 win over Texas Southern after leading 21-17 at halftime. It was a record breaking day for the Roadrunners as they had quarterback Frank Harris set a new school record for passing yards in a game and became the schools leader for career passing touchdowns. De’Corian Clark set a new school record for receiving yards in a game and Chris Carpenter became the first Roadrunner to ever return a kick for a touchdown.
Middle Tennessee pulled off one of last week’s major upsets when the Blue Raiders went on the road and defeated the Miami Hurricanes, then ranked No. 25. The Blue Raiders never trailed in a 45-31 win over the Hurricanes.
What they’re saying:
UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor: “Whether we were 4-0 or 0-4 you got to go get this one on the road. Middle Tennessee is playing better than they’ve ever played right now. It is what it is. We are full speed ahead.”
Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill: “They have the best quarterback that we’ve faced so far this year. He’s very dynamic, very athletic. They’re attempting 40, 41 passes a game, so they’re throwing it an awful lot, a lot more than they did last year.”
UTSA’s passing offense is sixth best in the nation with 351.5 yards per game and 27th in total offense with 478.5 yards per game. The Roadrunners arey 6-4 all-time in conference openers and 5-4 in their nine conference openers as members of Conference USA. They have won two straight conference openers and three of their last four conference openers.
Middle Tennessee was 0-24 all-time against ranked teams before their win over Miami last week. The Blue Raiders are 45th in the nation in total defense, allowing 342.8 yards per game. They enter Conference USA on a three-game winning streak but haven’t won a conference opener since the 2019 season.
Players to watch:
UTSA quarterback Frank Harris has completed 104 of his 154 pass attempts for 1,310 yards and 10 touchdowns through the first four games. Harris also has rushed 30 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Chase Cunningham got the job as Middle Tennessee’s quarterback at halftime of the UTSA game last season. Through the first four games this season, Cunningham has completed 85 of 120 pass attempts for 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. Cunningham is the second leading runner for the Blue Raiders with 57 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries.