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This Saturday's contest between the UTSA Roadrunners and the Old Dominion Monarchs feature two teams struggling for wins. The Roadrunners are coming off a 45-14 loss to Texas A&M. For the season, their overall record is 3-5 with a 2-2 record in Conference USA West play.
On the other sidelines is ODU, a team that has lost its last eight games. In their latest contest, they stood toe to toe with FIU before losing 24-17. The Monarchs have a 1-8 record and haven't won a conference game this season.
This makes Saturday's game a must-win for both programs, as they aim to finish their seasons strong. Kickoff takes place at 2 p.m. EST at S.B. Ballard Stadium. The game airs on ESPN 3.
The Roadrunners aim to climb the conference standingsThe Roadrunners have struggled the most on the offensive side of the ball where they're 122nd nationally with 141 passing yards per game. Because of the lack of development in the passing game, UTSA relies more on its rushing attack. Running back Sincere McCormick leads the team in rushing with 610 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
Lowell finds Sincere for a 44 yard completion, setting us up for a touchdown!— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) November 2, 2019
UTSA 7, Texas A&M 0 - 8:22 (1st). #BirdsUp 🤙
🎙 https://t.co/mmHNgr9fF8 pic.twitter.com/Vlt2bcardG
To succeed on the ground on Saturday, the Roadrunners must run at the strength of the Monarchs' defense. ODU doesn't surrender many large gains on the ground--they allow just 133 rushing yards per game. However, they do have weaknesses in their back seven, where opponents have had success in the passing game. So, for the Roadrunners to be successful, they must find a way to make big plays. This is a tall order too as they've received inconsistent play from their quarterbacks.
Defensively, the Roadrunners must improve the play of its secondary. ODU isn't the most prolific offensive attack UTSA has faced, but they do employ a pass-heavy approach that should provide a formidable challenge.
The Monarchs are searching for offensive productionODU has had to use makeshift lineups on both sides of the ball this season due to injuries and a lack of production. Offensively, they have started three quarterbacks in games this season.
The latest to have a shot was freshman Hayden Wolff. Wolff performed about as well as you could expect a freshman to, as he threw for 169 yards and one interception. On Saturday, he faces a Roadrunner defense that gives up 190 yards through the air per game. If Wolff can settle down, gain some comfort and vision in the pocket he could make big plays.
They need these big plays to open up lanes for a ground attack that has been close to non-existent this season. The Monarchs average 89 rushing yards per game. A big part of that has been due to the injuries on the offensive line. And because they've had to work in different players, it's been difficult for that unit to develop cohesion. The Roadrunners could use this weakness to force Wolff to make bad reads, so the onus is on the offensive line to dominate the line of scrimmage.
Defensively, ODU will be short two tackles. Juwan Ross will miss the rest of the season due to injury while Jeremy Miser will miss Saturday's game with an illness. Again, the short-staffed Monarchs must find a way to win the battle in the trenches against a Roadrunners team whose ground attack will test ODU.
Trends found on Covers.com ODU is:
- 4-1 ATS in last 5 against teams with a losing record
- 3-13 ATS in last 16 games on field turf
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Coming into the contest, ODU has a better defense. Offensively, they also match up well against a Roadrunner defense that gives up 34 points per game and 407 total yards. Look for the Monarchs to stuff the Roadrunners' ground attack to make them one-dimensional. This leads to stalled drives and more possessions, where ODU finds a way to score late to win by one possession.
Prediction: ODU -4
Full-Game Total Pick
Neither offense is the most prolific, between the two of them they combine to average 32 points per game. Moreover, the Monarchs are 4-0 in the Under in their last four home games. Expect this trend to continue in a low-scoring, grind it out kind of contest that sees ODU win by one possession.
Prediction: Under 43