A year ago UTSA vs. North Texas was a marquee Conference USA matchup with an instant classic finish. This year competitive is the hope; we’ll lower the bar from instant classic. Here’s what we’re watching for on Saturday night.
Which Roadrunner Quarterback?
UTSA’s revolving door of quarterbacks continues to spin. Bryce Rivers will see time Saturday, after that it’s anyone’s guess. Maybe Rivers shows more consistent flashes. Cordale Grundy looks to be out. I think we’ll look back and say Grundy gave UTSA the best chance to score. Note I say score, not win. Scoring is the pre-requisite. I doubt we’ll see more of the D.J. Gillins experiment which leaves true freshman Jo Jo Weeks. You’d hate to burn his redshirt in the hopes of tracking down a fourth win. Regardless, this offense cannot get into anything approaching a shootout with North Texas. UTSA is dead last in points per possession (1.03) and percentage of drives that end in a touchdown (9.02)
Mason Fine’s Hand
North Texas has potential quarterback issues of its own to deal with. Mason Fine suffered a hand laceration but, it seems, avoided any broken bones, last week against FAU. The injury was to his non-throwing hand, and Fine, in spite of what I thought earlier, did in fact re-enter the game, completing one of three passes for fifteen yards. Quinn Shanbour is the backup, but the offense looks very different with Shanbour running it. North Texas could turn to either Cade Pearson or Kason Martin; both played in limited duty earlier this year. If Littrell’s Air Raid is anything like Leach’s or Kingsbury’s, then the quarterback position is generally plug and play, but if Fine is out the Mean Green will deal with some unknowns.
Meet DeAndre Torrey
JUCO running back DeAndre Torrey is coming into his own in the Mean Green backfield. Torrey played primarily on special teams early on, but with the loss of Loren Easly to a knee injury against Louisiana Tech, Torrey’s slowly moved into more primetime carries. Now he’s the primary ball carrier and is becoming one of the most explosive backs in CUSA. His 92-yard touchdown run against FAU put the game out of reach. UTSA will need to scheme for Torrey but find a way to keep North Texas’ talented receiver group in check as well.