The Cure Bowl: UTSA v Troy (12/16/2022 – 3:00 pm EDT)
Line: Troy -1
The Cure Bowl: UTSA Roadrunners vs Troy Trojans
It’s a battle for conference bragging rights this Friday night as the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl gets underway with the Conference USA’s 25th-ranked University of Texas San Antonio Roadrunners taking on the Sun Belt’s 24th-ranked Troy Trojans for the only Bowl Game this season pitting conference champions against each other. The Roadrunners come into this bowl game with a 48-27 victory over North Texas in their final game of the regular season while the Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in their last game of the season.
UTSA had a heck of a year as they only lost twice over 13 games to end the regular season with an 11-2 record to punch their ticket to the Cure Bowl after winning the Conference USA Championship over aforementioned North Texas. On that note, UTSA had an incredible conference run, going 8-0 in Conference USA play. In 13 games over the regular season, the Roadrunners went 7-6 against the spread and 8-5 versus the over/under.
If it weren’t for two early losses in the season, the Roadrunners might just be in one of the big bowls if they had gone undefeated, however, they struggled in their two games against ranked opponents that came twice in the first three games. One was a close 37-35 defeat to then-24th-ranked Houston while their other loss to Texas, was 41-20. Still, running the table in your own conference is an amazing feat, and this is the second consecutive year the Roadrunners have won the Conference USA.
UTSA’s successful season was noticed by the voters as head coach Jeff Traylor was named Conference USA Coach of the Year last Wednesday. More importantly, their future looks bright with both Traylor and superstar QB Frank Harris announcing he’ll be returning next season. Harris had an outstanding year for the Roadrunners, passing for 3,859 yards and rushing for another 588 to bring his grand total to an astounding 4,453 all-purpose yards, including 40 total touchdowns (31 TD passes, 9 rushing TDs). He led an offense that put up 486.2 yards per game, ninth-best in the nation.
For the Trojans, it’s been a season for the ages, however, the season didn’t start with a bang as they would open up the 2022 campaign losing two of their first three with a 28-10 loss to then-21st-ranked Mississippi State in their first game and a 32-28 defeat to Appalachian State in Week 3. From then, Troy turned the entire season around by going 11-2 on the season including a 7-1 record in the Sun Belt to make the Conference Championship where they easily beat Coastal Carolina for the Sun Belt title. The Trojans have gone 10-3 against the spread while only going 6-7 versus the over/under.
As mentioned above, the season didn’t begin how Troy wanted but winning 10 games in a row will certainly change a team’s fortunes as it has for the Trojans who now enter the Cure Bowl on a huge winning streak. Troy doesn’t care if they have to win by a close margin or a blowout as they’ve proven they can do it either way, although their defense is what stands out. On that note, although the Trojans don’t have the dynamic offense that UTSA does, they scored a combined 127 points over their final three games of the season for a 42.3 points-per-game average, winning by an average margin of 22 points over those three contests.
The question now becomes, how did the Trojans get to this point? It all starts with a suffocating defense that has put the clamps down on opponents this season by holding them to a mere 17.5 points a game, which ranks eighth in the country. In addition to that, the Trojans only allow 324.9 points of total yards a game, good for 19th overall while they only yield 117.5 yards of rushing per contest, which puts them 22nd in the nation. While their offense isn’t intimidating, they’re solid through the air with 252.5 yards per game, which is 48th overall.