Game: UTSA Roadrunners vs. San Diego State Aztecs
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Roadrunners +2.5, Aztecs -2.5
The Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl will feature two similar yet different styles of play tonight when 12-1 UTSA meets 11-2 San Diego State. The Aztecs love to wear opponents down with a punishing ground game and play solid defense. UTSA prefers a more up-tempo style of play, one that ended up averaging over 35 points per game.
Both styles worked throughout the 2021 season. San Diego State lost just twice, losing to Fresno State and then to Utah State in the Mountain West Conference championship game. The Aztecs didn’t just lose that game either. They were outplayed in every facet of the game and ended up on the wrong end of a 46-13 defeat on Dec. 4. The Aztecs went into that game as 6.5-point favorites.
UTSA lost just once all season. That was in the Roadrunners season finale. They faced a red-hot North Texas team that ended up qualifying for a bowl game. UTSA had already secured a spot in the Conference USA title game and may have gotten caught looking ahead. Whether they did or not, the Roadrunners came back the following week and beat a very good Western Kentucky team 49-41 to capture the school’s first Conference USA championship.
The problem that UTSA will have heading into tonight’s game is that they must play without RB Sincere McCormick. He has decided to opt out of the bowl game after running for 1,479 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Minus McCormick, the UTSA offense will turn to quarterback Frank Harris even more.
Harris is the team’s second-leading rusher with 565 yards and his dual-threat capabilities were on full display in the Conference USA title game. He would finish with over 300 total yards and three touchdowns to lead UTSA to victory. For the season, Harris completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,906 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has the ability to take over games by himself. UTSA may need that tonight.
The Aztecs will counter the Roadrunners with a running game that averaged over 175 yards per game. RB Greg Bell is one yard short of 1,000 for the season. Chance Bell added 312 yards and Kaegun Williams had 247 as Bell’s backup.
San Diego State has had little success covering point spreads recently. In their last six games, the Aztecs have covered just once. The Roadrunners, on the other hand, are 9-4 ATS this season and if you go back to last season they are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games.
The Under has been the trend for the Aztecs. That should be no surprise as the Aztecs rely on their defense and running game to control games. San Diego State finished 15th in the nation in scoring defense allowing just 18.1 points per game this season. As a result, the total went Under in six of the Aztecs’ last nine games.
Also of no surprise is UTSA and the Over. With its high-flying offense, UTSA has trended Over. The total has gone Over in five of the Roadrunners’ last six games.