The Texas A&M Aggies are set to take a break from conference play Saturday to host the UTSA Roadrunners in a non-conference clash at Kyle Field. The Aggies, now 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the SEC following back-to-back wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State, are heavy favorites to win the game, meaning they are likely to secure bowl eligibility this week. Of course, the Roadrunners, 3-4 and 2-2 in Conference USA following a 31-27 victory over Rice, would love to spoil the day.
UTSA at Texas A&M
Kickoff:Saturday, Nov. 2, at 12 p.m. ET
Spread:Texas A&M -38
When UTSA Has the Ball
The Roadrunners have struggled to move the football consistently this season; they rank No. 116 nationally in both scoring offense (19.4 points per game) and total offense (322.6 ypg), plus 117th in yards per play (4.81). But believe it or not, UTSA has shown some improvement since 2018, even despite the loss of starting quarterback Frank Harris to injury in September.
With Harris sidelined, UTSA turned to former LSU signee and junior college transfer Lowell Narcisse. The sophomore has completed just 51 of 105 pass attempts (48.6 percent) for 485 yards (4.6 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns with three interceptions but has stressed defenses with his running ability. Narcisse ranks second on the team with 358 rushing yards and three touchdowns. True freshman running back Sincere McCormick leads the squad with 567 rushing yards and six touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
UTSA is likely to lean heavily on the running game Saturday, which is a plan of attack that could have some success against the Aggies. Texas A&M ranks tenth in the SEC in rushing defense (148.3 ypg) and 11th in yards allowed per carry (4.6), which rank No. 53 and No. 90 in the country, respectively. However, in non-conference play, A&M has surrendered just 83.7 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per attempt.
When Texas A&M Has the Ball
Texas A&M would also love to run the football, but doing so has been a struggle for the Aggies this season. Jimbo Fisher’s offense ranks No. 10 in the SEC and No. 89 in FBS in rushing (145.5) and No. 8 in the league and No. 60 nationally in yards per carry (4.5). Some of the Aggies’ rushing troubles can be blamed on the season-ending injury suffered by sophomore running back Jashaun Corbin, who ran for 137 yards and one touchdown in two games.
In Corbin’s absence, Isaiah Spiller has emerged as the Aggies’ top ball-carrier. The freshman from Spring, Texas has gained 450 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 89 carries (5.1 ypc). Quarterback Kellen Mond has also scored five times on the ground and ranks second on the team with 352 rushing yards and 77 carries (4.6 ypc).
Not surprisingly, the Aggies have leaned heavily on Mond (who ranks second in the SEC with 34.3 passing attempts per game) and a solid group of receivers to propel the A&M offense. Mond ranks third in the SEC in passing offense (250.4), behind only Heisman front runners Joe Burrow (350.6) and Tua Tagovailoa (276.4). The junior has completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 2,003 yards and 16 touchdowns (also third-most in the conference) and six interceptions. Mond’s top target, Jhamon Ausbon, ranks No. 7 in the conference with 76.0 receiving yards per game, having led the team with 46 catches for 608 yards to date. Ausbon has hauled in three touchdown passes, which ranks third behind tight end Jalen Wydermyer (15 receptions, 235 yards, 5 TD) and second-leading receiver Quartney Davis (36, 441, 4).
UTSA has allowed an average of 6.4 yards per play this season, which ranks 12th in C-USA and 109th in the nation. Opponents have had huge success against the Roadrunners in the running game with an average of 209.9 yards per contest on the ground and 5.6 yards per carry, which ranks 13th and 14th in the conference, respectively — 116th and 126th in the nation.
Like many non-conference games between Power Five teams and Group of Five opponents, there is a huge talent disparity between Texas A&M and UTSA. The Aggies have spent several weeks ranked in the Top 25 this year, while the Roadrunners are one of 21 current FBS teams who have never been ranked in the AP poll. A&M is a heavy favorite to pick up its sixth win and understandably so.