Date: Friday, December 3
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
How To Watch: CBS Sports Network
Record: WKU (8-4), UTSA (11-1)
Conference USA Championship: WKU vs UTSA Game Preview
Why WKU Will Win
If you haven’t seen it yet, get ready to enjoy the Bailey Zappe experience.
WKU didn’t have an offense last year, and so it went out and got one from Houston Baptist. Head coach Tyson Helton went and hired away Zach Kittley from HBU to be his new offensive coordinator, and along came the star quarterback and big-time wide receiver.
And it all worked.
Jerreth Sterns caught 127 passes for 1,539 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Zappe bombed away for close to 5,000 yards with 52 touchdowns, nine picks, and three rushing scores for the No. 1 passing attack in college football.
The Hilltoppers are trending up, rolling through its last seven games after the 52-46 loss to UTSA, getting better, sharper, and defensively stronger. Helped by a 53-21 blowout of a Marshall team with a strong D, everything is clicking at the right time while UTSA just got rolled by an okay North Texas team 45-23.
Why UTSA Will Win
OF COURSE UTSA wanted to beat North Texas. Of course it wanted to be 12-0 and come into the Conference USA championship on a roll.
But last week’s game didn’t exactly matter.
It’s not like UTSA is realistically pushing for a New Year’s Six game, and while 12-0 would’ve been nice, coming into this relatively healthy and not taxing the stars too much was more important.
At least that sounds like a good excuse considering how badly the Roadrunners were pasted, there were five penalties, the third down conversions weren’t there, and North Texas was fighting for a bowl game.
UTSA lost three fumbles after losing four all year and none in the previous five games. Let’s just say it wasn’t the most focused of efforts. The loss didn’t represent UTSA’s best work.
Normally, this is a rock-solid team that doesn’t make mistakes – it led Conference USA in fewest turnovers – and doesn’t get flagged enough to matter.
The defense gave up five touchdown passes and over 500 yards to Zappe in the first meeting, but QB Frank Harris – who had a case of the fumbles last week – threw for 349 yards and six touchdowns, and …
What’s Going To Happen
Sincere McCormick and the running game should be able to rumble again.
The Roadrunners will balance things out like they did in the first meeting, the defense will quickly bounce back from last week’s debacle, and in the end, it’ll come down to who makes more mistakes.
WKU will commit more penalties and likely won’t win the turnover battle. That should be just enough of a blink for UTSA to get by in what might be the most entertaining game of Championship Weekend.
Conference USA Championship: WKU vs UTSA Prediction, Lines
UTSA 37, WKU 34
Line: WKU -1.5, o/u: 72.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2