The Conference USA West title is at stake Saturday as the University of Texas at San Antonio meets the University of Alabama at Birmingham. UAB, second in the division, has won the last four meetings with UTSA and is 4-1 overall against the Roadrunners. UTSA is No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and are 18th in the USA Today coaches poll. It’s the Roadrunners’ last home game of the regular season.
UTSA Roadrunners (10-0, 6-0 conference) vs. UAB Blazers (7-3, 5-1):
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.
How to watch: ESPN+
The Roadrunners were able to scrape together a come-from-behind 27-17 win against Southern Miss last weekend. The UTSA defense played a big role, coming away with three crucial turnovers in the final quarter to put the game away.
UAB beat Marshall, a Conference USA East opponent, 21-14. The Blazers’ only conference loss came against Rice, 30-24, on Oct. 23.
What they’re saying:
UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor: “They’re [UAB] big, they’re fast, they’re physical. … They’ve got good players that know what they do, and they’re well coached. It’ll be the best defense we play against this season.”
UAB Head Coach Bill Clark: “What San Antonio has done, boy, it’s unbelievable. They have had an unbelievable season. … They’re very good across the board. Offensively they are very dynamic. They’ve got the great running back. They have a quarterback now that can do it all. They are big upfront. They put points up on everybody.”
UTSA is now one of only three unbeaten Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams. The Roadrunners defense is among the best at stopping the run, ranking fifth in the nation and allowing just 89.9 rushing yards per game. With five defensive touchdowns, UTSA is tied with Middle Tennessee for third highest in the nation. The Roadrunners are averaging 38.6 points per game but might have trouble matching that against UAB’s defense.
UAB has the nation’s 15th-best defense, holding opponents to 320.2 yards per game. The Blazers held Marshall’s Rasheen Ali, who has scored 17 rushing touchdowns this season, to just 41 yards and no scores last week. The Blazers have won four of their last five games.
Players to watch:
UTSA Running back Sincere McCormick has scored 11 rushing touchdowns this season and his 1,150 yards rank ninth in the nation. Junior wide receiver Zakhari Franklin paces all UTSA receivers with 750 yards and eight touchdowns on 13 catches this season despite missing some time due to an injury. On defense, junior safety Rashad Wisdom has been everywhere as he leads the team with 46 tackles.
Running back Wayne McBride leads the Blazers’ ground attack with 945 yards and 10 touchdowns on 145 rushes. Nine of those scores have come in the last four games. UAB quarterback Dylan Hopkins has completed 106 of 170 passes for 1,723 yards and 11 touchdowns.