Last Updated Dec 02, 2022, 7:51 PM

North Texas Mean Green vs. UTSA Roadrunners Picks, Predictions, Odds

The UTSA Roadrunners and North Texas Mean Green are both looking to claim a Conference USA Championship before leaving for the American Athletic Conference. UTSA and North Texas will join the AAC alongside four other CUSA teams next season, and both teams are looking to go out on top. The Roadrunners claimed the conference title last year, and they are close to a double-digit favorite per the college football betting odds to repeat as champions in 2022, as they will be hosting the Mean Green in this game. These teams will meet on Friday, December 2, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in the first game of Championship Weekend.

North Texas Mean Green vs. UTSA Roadrunners Betting Prediction

When these teams met earlier in the season, UTSA knocked off North Texas 31-27. The Roadrunners needed Frank Harris to find De'Corian Clark for a touchdown with 15 seconds left in the game to pull ahead for good, as these two programs traded five touchdowns over the final quarter. However, UTSA was a much better team than the final score indicates, and North Texas was fortunate to keep it that close. The Roadrunners had 32 first downs, 495 total yards, and held the ball for 38 minutes and 23 seconds of game time. Conversely, the Mean Green had just 13 first downs, 347 total yards, and less than 22 minutes of possession. As long as the UTSA defense prevents big plays in the rematch, the Roadrunners should be able to repeat as CUSA champions.

Score Prediction: UTSA 41, North Texas 23
Best Bet: UTSA -8.5

North Texas Mean Green vs. UTSA Roadrunners Betting Odds

More Odds | Futures Odds | CFP Central

North Texas Mean Green vs. UTSA Roadrunners Betting Resources

Date: Friday, Dec. 2, 2022
Matchup: C-USA
Venue: Alamodome
Location:
San Antonio, Texas
TV-Time:
CBS Sports, 7:30 p.m. ET
Matchup | Expert Picks

North Texas Mean Green Betting Analysis

The Mean Green reached their first CUSA Championship Game in five years as a result of an upset win over Western Kentucky in late October. North Texas was a 10-point underdog by the CFB betting odds in that game, yet the Mean Green were able to shut out the Hilltoppers in the second half on their way to a 40-13 upset of WKU.

Quarterback Austin Aune has been instrumental to North Texas' success all season. Aune is completing 57.4% of his passes for 3,115 yards while averaging 8.9 YPA. He has thrown 31 touchdown passes compared to just 11 interceptions, and the offensive line has done an excellent job keeping him upright although he isn't a real mobile threat. Aune has only been sacked 10 times all year, and he has 350 pass attempts. That has helped Aune improve considerably after a marginal 2021 campaign.

The two leading rushers on North Texas haven't suited up for a month due to injuries. Ayo Adeyi and Oscar Adaway III combined to run for over 1,270 yards during the regular season, but the Mean Green have had to rely on Ikaika Ragsdale and Isaiah Johnson to run the ball in the month of November. Ragsdale has been the more efficient runner and is coming off his best performance of the season last week against Rice. Meanwhile, Roderic Burns, Jyaire Shorter, and tight end Var'Keyes Gumms are the three players to watch in the passing game for UNT. All three players had at least a 45-yard reception against UTSA in the first meeting between these teams, and the Mean Green will look for more big plays.

North Texas is ranked 99th in Defensive SP+. The Mean Green rank 94th in scoring defense (30.4 PPG) and 117th in total defense (451.0 YPG). They have struggled to get off the field on third downs, ranking 120th nationally in third down defense, so they need their stars to step up in a big way on Friday night. Linebacker Mazin Richards leads the team with 7.5 sacks, and Ridge Texada has recorded 15 pass breakups and leads UNT with three interceptions.

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UTSA Roadrunners Betting Analysis

Frank Harris has been one of the best quarterbacks at the Group of Five level over the last three seasons. Harris was superb in leading UTSA to the Conference USA Championship last year, and the Roadrunners have not lost a conference game under his watch this season. Their only two defeats this season came in Week 1 against Houston in triple overtime and in Week 3 against Texas. Harris is completing 69.6% of his passes for 3,524 yards (9.0 YPA) with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, and he surpassed 500 rushing yards for the third straight season.

Harris' play is why UTSA is ranked 16th in Offensive SP+. It's extremely hard to stop the Roadrunners' offense as Harris is an accurate passer and an elusive runner. UTSA has three main targets in the passing game in Zakhari Franklin, Joshua Cephus, and De'Corian Clark. Franklin and Cephus are both on pace to finish with over 1,000 receiving yards this season if they play in the postseason, while Clark is a deep threat averaging 14.5 YPR. The ground game hasn't been as explosive with Sincere McCormick in the NFL, but freshman Kevorian Barnes has run for 538 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 6.3 YPC. Barnes will be the workhorse in the backfield on Friday night as Arkansas transfer Trelon Smith has been injured and is averaging just 3.5 YPC, while leading rusher Brenden Brady has been declared out after suffering an injury last week against UTEP.

UTSA does not have a good defense, ranking 93rd in Defensive SP+. The Roadrunners have done a decent job stopping the run, allowing 4.2 YPC and 141.9 YPG on the ground, but the secondary has had some issues. They rank outside the top 100 in pass defense, and they have trouble getting to the quarterback outside of Trey Moore. He has six of the team's 19 sacks and will be asked to provide pressure against Aune.

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