This week’s game is a matchup between two of the top three teams in Conference USA West. The University of Texas at San Antonio is undefeated and sitting atop its CUSA division at 4-0, with the University of Texas-El Paso right behind at 3-1. After an eventful bye week that saw UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor sign a 10-year, $28 million extension, the Roadrunners head west for a key conference contest.
UTSA Roadrunners (8-0, 4-0 conference) at UTEP (6-2, 3-1):
Location: Sun Bowl Stadium
Kickoff: 9:15 p.m. CDT
How to watch: ESPN2
UTEP is coming off a 28-25 loss at Florida Atlantic. The Miners fell behind 28-10 and couldn’t overcome the deficit despite scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
The Roadrunners are coming off a bye week in which they rose to No. 16 in the Associated Press poll. Before the off week, UTSA defeated Louisiana Tech 45-16 on the road Oct. 23, breaking a five-game losing streak in Ruston, Louisiana.
What they’re saying:
UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor: “[UTEP is] very methodical on offense. They execute. They move the chains on third down. They run the football. … We have a lot of respect for them, and we know how hard it is to play in the Sun Bowl, especially at 9:15 [p.m. kickoff]. It’s gonna be a hornet’s nest out there.”
UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel: “If we want a chance to contend for a conference championship, this game becomes really important for us to do that. The challenge is there with them being an undefeated team. They played extremely well all season.”
UTSA is one of just six undefeated teams remaining in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Roadrunners are second in the nation for defensive touchdowns scored with five this season, and rank third in rushing defense, giving up only 79.4 rushing yards per game. UTSA is averaging 39.38 points per game. The Roadrunners have won the last four meetings with the Miners.
UTEP has the nation’s eighth-stingiest defense, allowing opponents only 295.1 yards per game. The Miners have held teams to an average of 20.4 points per game.
Players to watch:
Running back Sincere McCormick ran for 113 yards and three touchdowns in the win at Louisiana Tech and has nine rushing touchdowns in eight games. He’s averaging 111.4 yards per game. Quarterback Frank Harris was named to the Dave O’Brien quarterback class of 2021, making him an official candidate for the award honoring the nation’s top quarterback. He has thrown for 16 touchdowns, rushed for two more, and has just three interceptions.
The Miners’ top rusher is Deion Hankins, who averages 84.57 yards per game and has scored nine touchdowns. Quarterback Gavin Hardison’s favorite target has been wide receiver Jacob Cowing, who has caught 41 passes for 811 yards and four touchdowns.