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Texas-San Antonio (0-0) at Houston (0-0)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, August 29, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: TDECU Stadium (40,000) -- Houston, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: UTSA 0-0, Houston 0-0. Away Record: UTSA 0-0, Houston 0-0. Neutral Record: UTSA 0-0, Houston 0-0. Conference Record: UTSA 0-0, Houston 0-0. Series Record: Houston leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: The Houston Cougars tangle with the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners at newly built TDECU Stadium in a season-opening Lone Star State showdown.

Entering their third season at the FBS level, the Roadrunners are aiming to maintain the level of success they have had in the first two. In 2013, they finished at 7-5 following an 8-4 record in their inaugural year at their current level of competition.

Houston has been around a while longer as an FBS program, but is in just its second as a member of the American Athletic Conference. Their first run through the league led to favorable results, with the team in the thick of the conference title chase into November, before stumbling to an 8-5 finish. With the sour taste of a 1-4 record in the last five games still lingering, the Cougars have plenty to be optimistic about in 2014.

In last year's first-ever meeting between these two squads, Houston routed UTSA, 59-28.

UTSA was a solid offensive team last year, churning out 417.8 yards per game. However, the Roadrunners weren't especially potent when it came to scoring, posting 25.8 ppg.

Improving on those numbers will require new starting quarterback Tucker Carter to step up and replace the production of Eric Soza. Carter was the backup last year, but threw only 33 total passes. Meanwhile, Soza completed 62.6 percent of his pass attempts for 2,719 yards. If Carter can come near that production, head coach Larry Coker should be happy.

Coker should also be happy because of the returning talent at the skill positions. David Glasco II is back as the top rusher, although he only had 496 yards and five touchdowns, but that was while splitting carries with Evans Okotcha (386 yards, two TDs) and Soza (369 yards, seven TDs). His workload should increase this year.

The Roadrunners favored a 'spread the wealth' type of passing attack, with 12 different players recording at least 10 receptions. Kam Jones (34 receptions, 345 yards, TD) and Brandon Freeman (24 receptions, 255 yards) were the top targets, and both are back.

On the defensive side of things, the Roadrunners surrendered 376.3 yards and 26.3 points per game. While those numbers weren't horrible, they could certainly be improved upon, especially if they want to be in the C-USA title hunt. With 10 starters back in the fold, the chances are high that will be the case. Safety Triston Wade (94 tackles, two INTs) was the top tackler on the squad a year ago.

John O'Korn comes into the 2014 season a bit differently than the 2013 campaign. Now a sophomore, O'Korn was a freshman backup to David Piland a year ago, but when Piland's career was ended by multiple concussions, O'Korn got a shot at the starting gig. He more than excelled, throwing for 3,117 yards and 28 touchdowns on 58.1 percent passing.

If O'Korn suffers a sophomore slump, it won't be because of his receivers. Deontay Greenberry (82 receptions, 1,202 yards, 11 TDs) is one of the best at the position in the AAC, and the country for that matter. Daniel Spencer (52 receptions, 768 yards, six TDs) is an excellent second option, and Demarcus Ayers (11 receptions, 130 yards, TD) will see an expanded role beyond his normal return duties.

The Cougars ran with a platoon at running back last season to great success. Both Kenneth Farrow and Ryan Jackson are back after the combining for 1,175 yards and 12 touchdowns on 242 carries.

All in all, Houston performed well offensively last season, posting strong numbers in yards (419.5 ypg) and scoring (33.2 ppg). With O'Korn at the helm, they were also among the top-30 teams in the country in passing (280.5 ypg).

Defense is where coach Tony Levine's squad really needs to make a big step. They may have ranked 20th in the country in scoring defense (21.8 ppg) last season, but that was due to an incredible turnover margin (+25), which was better than any team in the nation. The Cougars were next-to-last in the AAC in total defense (415.8 ypg), and it is unlikely they will be able to come up with another 43 turnovers this season.

Efrem Oliphant (134 tackles, 13 TFL) and Derrick Mathews (116 tackles, 7.0 sacks) lead the unit from their linebacker spots, and Adrian McDonald (100 tackles, six INTS) and Trevon Stewart (109 tackles, four INTs) have proven themselves to be opportunistic at the safety position.

It has been a quick rise for UTSA recently, but it is still far from a national power. Houston has plenty of returning talent on both sides of the ball, and has its sights set on bigger things than a early season tussle with the Roadrunners. Expect the Cougars to get the season going on a high note.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 42, Texas-San Antonio 20

08/29 15:23:26 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
 
Final
CLE 98
ATL 127
Final
CHA 106
PHO 111
Final
DET 106
DAL 117
Final
BOS 109
ORL 92
Final
MIA 87
UTA 105
Final
TOR 105
BRK 89
Final
SAN 116
MEM 117
Final
POR 104
MIL 97
Final
DEN 111
HOU 115
Final
LAC 102
IND 100
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
HOU
NOP
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
MIL
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
OKC
 
Final
UNT 78
LANG 65
 
Final
Terriers 64
DELST 72
 
Final
MSST 55
ARKST 69
Final
NCCU 108
BASC 52
 
Final
GMAS 99
CATAWBA 69
 
Final
WOFF 64
CSOU 58
 
Final
HIGH 106
FERR 48
 
Final
JVU 68
GWEBB 65
 
Final
ILL 73
HAMP 55
 
Final
BST 52
JMU 72
 
Final
YOUNG 84
KNST 90
 
Final
UMO 71
LONG 60
 
Final
PITT 65
MAN 56
Final
OSU 97
NCAT 55
Final
FSU 93
UNF 77
 
Final
TOL 83
RMU 57
 
Final
CAMP 70
SIUE 65
 
Final
DUQ 52
RFLSH 67
 
Final
NCSU 83
TENN 72
Final
UCF 75
DET 70
Final
UNCW 73
LIB 70
 
Final
LOYC 83
ABCHRIST 44
 
Final
MURST 94
ALCOR 56
 
Final
HOU 56
ARKPB 61
 
Final
NW 67
CMICH 80
Final
WKENT 75
CHIST 60
 
Final
ODU 58
UGST 54
Final
SMU 67
ILLCH 46
Final
LALAF 115
MLGN 76
 
Final
TULSA 74
MIZST 70
Final
UWGB 66
MORE 50
 
Final
NEOM 92
NCOL 82
 
Final
TTU 101
SCST 39
 
Final
DEN 83
TAMCC 73
 
Final
STEPH 66
TXST 60
 
Final
STLU 75
TXPA 69
 
Final
MEM 83
USCU 73
 
Final
ILLST 64
TENNM 54
 
Final
MSU 66
EMICH 46
Final
GRCN 80
INCWORD 82
 
Final
STAN 67
LMU 58
Final
BAY 66
NMST 55
 
Final
CIN 71
SDST 62
Final
AUB 80
WINT 62
 
Final
NMU 76
CARK 55
 
Final
PEPP 53
HOW 45
 
Final
CPSL 60
NE 58
 
Final
UNLV 75
PORT 73
Final
OREG 79
CSNO 56
Final
WASH 86
GRAM 38
12:30pm Today
RICE
STTHOMASTX
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIU
FIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
STET
GSOUT
 
7:00pm Tonight
QUIN
LEH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SFLA
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
RICH
SALA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAN
USB
 
7:00pm Tonight
DEL
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WCU
WRST
 
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
YALE
 
7:30pm Tonight
SDKST
IDST
 
7:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
LATU
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHAR
APP
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
CCAR
 
8:00pm Tonight
DUKE
UCONN
 
8:00pm Tonight
BRAD
EUREK
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
OAKC
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
SMISS
 
8:30pm Tonight
SD
MNTST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UAB
LSU
 
9:05pm Tonight
EVAN
OHIO
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSFU
CSDH
 
10:00pm Tonight
ORST
DEP
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
NEV
 
10:00pm Tonight
USF
PORST
 
10:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
WALLA
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
CALST
 
Final
NJD 0
OTT 2
Final
MIN 2
BOS 3
Final
VAN 0
DAL 2
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
ANA
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
EDM
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
STL
 
8:25pm Tonight
JAC
TEN