NCAA

UTSA vs Houston: College Football Week 1 Preview and Analysis

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houston footballHOUSTON, Texas – The UTSA Roadrunners finished 2013 at 7-5 after a 30-10 win over Louisiana Tech and open up with a trip to face the Houston Cougars who lost to Vanderbilt 41-24 in the BBVA Compass Bowl to close out an 8-5 season.

The biggest question for the offense which averaged 25 points a game last season revolves around how well senior quarterback Tucker Carter can replace Eric Soza who threw from 2,719 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 369 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. Carter will find immediate help with leading rusher David Glasco II returning and the five top pass-catcher coming back to play with a veteran offensive line with four seniors and a junior starting.

The defense returns most of its starters from a year ago and almost everyone brings plenty of game experience to the field in 2014. The defensive line will consist of four seniors led by tackle Ashaad Mabry (41 tackles, 2.5 for loss) and end Robert Singletary (30 tackles, 5 sacks). Junior linebacker Drew Douglas (69 tackles, 2 for loss) will be a key mid-field tackler accompanied by senior safety Tristan Wade who led the team with 94 tackles last season. Junior corner Bennett Okotcha led the team with 11 passes defensed on a unit that surrendered 26 points a game and should be better.

Houston scored 33 points a game last season and will be led by the same backfield but a new look receiving corps. Sophomore quarterback John O’Korn threw for 3,117 yards and 28 touchdowns last season but will only see one familiar face in senior receiver Daniel Spencer. Juniors Kenneth Farrow and Ryan Jackson were the team’s two leading rushers a season ago were both utilized in the passing attack. A veteran offensive line should help keep the offense chugging.

Senior defensive end Trevor Harris (49 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 7 hurries) and sophomore end Tyus Bowser (26 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 11 hurries) will compete on a line that will remain very experienced. A pair of senior linebacker were one-and-two in tackles a year ago as Efrem Oliphant (134 tackles, 13 for loss, 5 hurries) and Derrick Mathews (116 tackles, 12 for loss, 3 hurries) look to remain a solid core for a defense that allowed 22 points a game. The strength of the secondary will be with experienced safeties in juniors Trevon Stewart (109 tackles, 11 passes defensed, 4 INT) and Adrian McDonald (99 tackles, 9 passes defensed, 6 INT).

Keys for UTSA Win

The Roadrunners need Carter to pick up the offense quickly and manage the game without turning the ball over. The defensive line, led by Singletary, must get pressure on the quarterback.

Keys For Houston Win

O’Korn must trust new receiving corps and not give up easy possessions. Oliphant and Mathews must stifle running game.

Key Injuries :

None

Favorite:

Latest Line, Houston -11

Conclusion:

Houston has the experience and talent advantage in this game but must take care of the football as UTSA can capitalize on miscues.

About Mark West

Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting.

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