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Larry Coker didn’t waste any time validating his contract extension at UTSA as the Roadrunners put forth a dominating defensive performance to beat Houston 27-7. The competition levels up for the Roadrunners this week when Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats come to the Alamodome. The Wildcats beat UNLV 58-13 and racked up nearly 800 yards of offense in the process.

Arizona vs. UTSA College Football Preview

Date/Time: Thursday September 4, 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Sports 1

College Football Betting Odds from WagerWeb

College Football Betting Favorite: Arizona -7

Total: 56

The Wildcats were 2-1 ATS as a road favorite last season with covers over UNLV and Colorado. They failed to cover as a 16-point favorite against Cal. Arizona was 4-0 against the number against non-conference opponents. The Roadrunners are 1-2 as a home underdog under Coker and 4-4 ATS overall in the Alamodome. Coker is 8-3 ATS at UTSA following a straight up win.

Arizona Wildcats:

There were a lot of unknowns on offense for the Arizona Wildcats entering this season. Ka’Deem Carey and 1,885 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns left with him. The Wildcats were going to have their third different starting quarterback in three seasons. Anu Solomon won that job and made Rich Rodriguez look like a genius with his performance in the opener. Solomon was a little erratic early on, but he finished 25-of-44 for 425 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 50 rushing yards. What was most admirable about Arizona’s performance is that the defense kept playing hard, even in the blowout. UNLV was held to 13 points and just 121 yards in the second half. That’s a good sign for a fairly young defense, especially with a safety net offense like the one that Arizona has.

UTSA Roadrunners:

Larry Coker’s squad returned 10 starters on each side of the ball, but the lone loss on offense was starting quarterback Eric Soza. Tucker Carter didn’t do much to ease the concerns of UTSA fans and supporters, but he didn’t exactly do much to send off warning signals. Carter was 15-of-24 for 121 yards but didn’t turn the ball over. UTSA held the ball for over 37 minutes against Houston and they’ll need to find a way to do that same thing to slow the Wildcats offense down. Turnovers were the key as UTSA was +5 in turnover margin and that kept them from having to have a big offensive showing. That proved to be a good thing since UTSA only had 267 yards of offense for just 3.6 yards per play.

Free Pick: Arizona -7

Both of these teams have a slightly inflated perception after last week. UNLV is not a good team, but any time a couple FBS teams meet in a 58-13 blowout, it gets attention. UTSA was fortunate that their subpar offense wasn’t exposed because of the turnovers. Since Houston was a preseason favorite in the AAC, the win got a lot more attention than it should have. Arizona’s a different beast than Houston and Coker doesn’t have months to prepare for a revenge game like he did against Houston.

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