UTSA vs Troy prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. Duluth Trading Cure Bowl, Friday, December 16, 2022
UTSA vs Troy Duluth Trading Cure Bowl Prediction Game Preview
UTSA vs Troy How To Watch
Date: Friday, December 16, 2022
Game Time: 3:00 ET
Venue: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: UTSA (11-2), Troy (11-2)
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UTSA vs Troy Duluth Trading Cure Bowl 5 Things To Know
– None of the College Football Playoff games match up conference champions. This is the only bowl of the season that does. It’s about as close as possible to being a representative of a big regular season game with two 11-win teams that come in without any big transfers or head coaching changes – but UTSA lost offensive coordinator Will Stein to Oregon. It’s the Sun Belt vs Conference USA for bragging rights in what should be one of the best bowls of the bunch.
– It’s the first bowl under Troy head coach Jon Sumrall, and he has to keep the post-season run going – the program has been outlasting in bowls lately. Troy was 1-3 in its first four, but since 2010 it won its last four. It hasn’t been to one since beating Buffalo in the 2018 Dollar General. On the flip side …
– UTSA is still searching for its first bowl win. It’s 0-3 since first getting to the 2016 New Mexico Bowl – losing to New Mexico – and it lost the last two seasons under head coach Jeff Traylor. Last year it dropped the Frisco Bowl to San Diego State 38-24.
– The Cure has been a bit of a catch-all bowl when it comes to affiliations and matchups over its seven-year-run, and that’s a good thing – the games have been fantastic lately, The first four were all decided by double-digits, but they weren’t awful. The last three have all been close, the 37-34 Liberty overtime win over Coastal Carolina might have been the best bowl of 2020, and last year the Chanticleers beat Northern Illinois in a 47-41 thriller.
– The Sun Belt was all about the addition of new programs and the big splashy start with a slew of upset wins. Troy rose above the pack and rolled Coastal Carolina for the Sun Belt title. It’s coming in on a ten-game winning streak, just like UTSA.
The Roadrunners started 1-2 – coming this close to beating Houston in the opener – but they dominated the rest of the way with a high-powered offensive style scoring 30 or more since losing 41-20 to Texas.
Why UTSA Will Win The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl
Even with the changes at offensive coordinator, the show goes on thanks to veteran Frank Harris. One of the best all-around quarterbacks in the country, he hits 71% of his passes, doesn’t make a ton of mistakes, and he’s a dangerous runner with 588 yards and nine scores – he keeps the chains moving. On the flip side, the Troy O has big problems on third downs.
Relentless, UTSA doesn’t miss on its chances to take advantage of good drives, and it’s balanced enough to hit the great Troy defense in a variety of ways. The ground game hit 200 yards in five of its last six games, the passing attack threw for 220 or more in every game but a blowout over Rice, and Troy has to deal with all of it.
The Trojans might have a good enough offense to have their moments, but they can’t get behind. Not only do they have to keep up, but they have to prepare for a flurry – UTSA can score in a hurry when down.
Why Troy Will Win The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl
The defense stepped up big when it had to.
Granted, it lost to Appalachian State early in the season on a deep ball – sort of a Hail Mary, but not quite – in the last loss of the season, but it came back to shut down Marshall, stopped South Alabama in a huge 10-6 win on the road, and held down just about everyone else. It finished the season eighth in the nation in scoring defense helped by a great pass rush that should keep the pressure on Harris.
The offense wasn’t just along for the ride, but it wasn’t all that consistent. There’s a passing game good enough to push past 300 yards if needed. the ground game over five yards per carry in the finishing three games, and now it gets a UTSA defense that’s not totally awful, but doesn’t generate any pass rush.
Trojan QB Gunnar Watson threw for 318 yards in the Sun Belt title game against Coastal Carolina on just 12 completions – he’ll connect on a few big plays.