Game #6 sees the UTSA Roadrunners on the road in Houston to take on the Rice Owls. We caught up with Stephen Whitaker (@StephenWhit89 ) from UTSA Rivals (@UTSARivals) to get the 411 on UTSA’s recent run and their matchup with Rice.
- 1) (1A210) – UTSA enters Saturday’s as winners of two straight. What has been the difference in the previous two games that have turned the tide for the Roadrunners?
One thing that stands out about the Roadrunners recent run of form is the schedule has gotten lighter. The first three games were all against Power-5 opponents and in those games, UTSA was outscored 127-44 in those three games. In the two wins, the Roadrunners are outscoring their opponents 55-42. Those two wins also came against teams that are a combined 1-8 this season. This week they face a 1-4 Rice team which might mark their last good chance at a win for a few weeks.
- 2) Defensively, the Roadrunners seem to have improved the last two games overall. What can you tell us about UTSA’s defensive improvements?
Last season the Roadrunners held their opponents to under 300 yards per game. The defense gave up more than 300 yards in the first three games against the power-5 opponents. In the last two games, the Roadrunners have held both Texas State and UTEP to under 300 yards of offense. The biggest reason for the improvement goes back to the fact that the Roadrunners are playing teams closer to their talent level again.
- 3) Rice is coming into this game with four straight losses, can this be viewed as a trap game for UTSA?
Looking at the upcoming schedule this could be considered a trap game. UTSA will play Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and UAB in the other weeks of October. The Roadrunners have to look at this is a must win because the next three games will be tougher than the past three. This series between UTSA and Rice has also been streaky. Rice won the first three meetings in 2012, 2013 and 2014. UTSA won in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The game being at Rice Stadium means UTSA will have to be on their toes.
- 4) Tell us something we should know about Rice.
I was a big fan of Rice growing up (and my Grandpa was a Rice grad) so I could fill pages with tidbits about Rice. Two things of note: John Heisman, the man who the Heisman Trophy is named for was a coach at Rice from 1924-1927 and Rice Stadium played host to Super Bowl VIII which was won by the Miami Dolphins 24-7 over the Minnesota Vikings.
UTSA Roadrunners – L L L W W, 2018 Road Record 0-2
Rice Owls – W L L L L, 2018 Home Record: 1-1
Position in Standings
UTSA Roadrunners: 2-3 (1-0, C-USA), 4th in Conference USA
Rice Owls: 1-4 (0-1, C-USA), 6th in Conference USA
UTSA and Rice will play in their seventh head to head matchup on Saturday. Both teams have won three meetings, with the Roadrunners winning the last meeting 20-7 in 2017 at the Alamodome.
UTSA Roadrunners 2-3 (1-0, C-USA) at Rice Owls 1-4, (0-1, C-USA)
Rice Stadium, Saturday, October 6
Kickoff 6 p.m. Central Time
Watch: ESPN 3
Keys To Victory:
UTSA’s defense has been a key for them in their last two wins, particularly in their defensive stance against the Texas State Bobcats. Rice has been struggling as of late, losing their last four games after winning their season opener.
It is because of this that we’re calling this game for the Roadrunners.
UTSA – 24
Rice – 10