Arizona State vs. UTSA prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Sun Devils and Roadrunners.
Arizona State vs. UTSA Game Preview
When: Friday, September 16 – 9:30 ET
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas.
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
It’s been a perfect start for the Sun Devils in terms of their record. After a 44-13 win to open the season against Northern Arizona, Todd Graham’s team hosted Texas Tech last weekend and survived a shootout, 68-55. After falling behind, 14-9, in the first quarter, the Sun Devils hung 28 points on the Red Raiders in the second quarter to go into halftime with a 37-34 lead. Arizona State outscored Kliff Kingsbury’s team, 31-21, in the second half to pick up its second win of the year.
The Roadrunners, like the Sun Devils, opened up the 2016 season with a win when Alabama State was sent packing from San Antonio with a 26-13 loss. Week 2 didn’t yield as positive of a result for UTSA. It went on the road to face Colorado State and left Fort Collins with a 23-14 loss. The Rams outscored the Roadrunners, 10-7, in each of the first two quarters and drove home a drove home a 46-yard field goal to ice it.
What To Know About Arizona State
Don’t blink. If you do, you might miss a Manny Wilkins highlight. The Sun Devils quarterback lit up the Texas Tech defense in more ways than one last weekend. He’s always a threat to run, and he did just that. Wilkins rushed 10 times for 55 yards, but most of the damage he did came from his arm. He completed 28-of-37 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Most of the work done in the ground game came from Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard, who combined for 246 rushing yards. As a team, they rushed for 301 yards, but it was Ballage who gashed Texas Tech with seven rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, the Sun Devils defense stepped up to limit quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Defensive back De’Chavon Hayes picked off the Red Raiders quarterback twice and supplied six total tackles in the game. Both DJ Calhoun and Koron Crump recorded sacks, but it was Kareem Orr who led Arizona State with eight solo tackles and one for loss.
What to Know About UTSA
It was a much more difficult task for the Roadrunners to run the ball against Colorado State. Frank Wilson’s team ran for -1 yard on 34 rushing attempts compared to the Rams’ 220 rushing yards on 47 attempts — just a wee bit of a difference there. UTSA found much more success throwing the ball. Even though quarterback Dalton Sturm threw an interception, he did complete 15-of-23 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. The underlying problem with the Roadrunners’ aerial attack, though, is the fact the offensive line let Sturm get sacked six times.
Safety Michael Egwuagu had plenty of opportunities to track down the ballcarrier, and he wound up with 12 total tackles, five of which were solo tackles. As a team, UTSA only compiled four quarterback hits and had zero sacks on the day. Marcos Curry forced a fumble, but the Roadrunners have to get more of a pass rush if they’re going to have any kind of a chance versus Arizona State.
Offense: Are you kidding? Ballage rushed for seven touchdowns in the same game Wilkins threw for 351 yards. Arizona State. End of conversation.
Defense: Orr has been a man possessed through two games. With him flying around the field and Hayes making quarterbacks think twice about letting go of the football, the Sun Devils will have the advantage here.
Special Teams: Tim White has returned eight punts for an average of 24.8 yards per return. And while Zane Gonzalez has knocked through 12-of-13 extra point attempts, he’s 4-for-4 on field goal attempts. Arizona State wins here, too.
Coaching: Like Gonzalez, let’s make it 4-for-4. Frank Wilson is a respectable coach, but Graham has more experience and a better squad. He delegated to offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, and it led to 652 yards of total offense last week.
Matchup To Watch
Arizona State running game vs. UTSA front seven
If Ballage and Richard can be patient, read their blocks and get past the second level, it’ll open up the passing lanes for Wilkins. And if he’s given the green light to launch the football, it could spell trouble for UTSA, who as mentioned, has a sub-par pass rush. If, though, the Roadrunners can stuff the run and force Wilkins into some tough throws, then it’s a whole different ballgame.
Arizona State vs. UTSA Betting Odds
Spread: Arizona State -18
Arizona State vs. UTSA Prediction
Make sure you have your ticket to the Manny Wilkins show. You won’t want to miss it. The Arizona State quarterback will come out of this one with a pristine jersey and at least two passing touchdowns. Ballage will continue to get a sizable workload and do a lot with it. He’ll break the plane twice, but Richard will get into the end zone as well. With at least 28 points put up by halftime, Graham will keep his foot on the gas.
Ballage will rack up more yardage, and Wilkins will scoot toward the front pylon for a rushing touchdown. Orr will record double-digit tackles while Calhoun ends up with a couple sacks. The Sun Devils defense, as a unit, will hold UTSA to less than 300 yards of total offense and force a turnover or two to secure the win.
Arizona State vs. UTSA Score Prediction: Arizona State 45, UTSA 17