Houston is nationally ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 for the first time since 2016. The Cougars have been ranked for eight consecutive polls since Oct. 31, 2021. Houston’s resurgence comes in its final season in the American Athletic Conference before joining the Big 12 next year. UTSA was ranked in the Top 25 last season for the first time in program history. The Roadrunners spent six straight weeks in the poll until their first loss. Both teams finished 12-2 last season.
Houston and UTSA had prolific offenses last season and expect similar production this year despite some key losses. The Cougars averaged 35.2 points per game last season but lost top running back Alton McCaskill IV to a knee injury during spring practice. The Roadrunners averaged 35.5 points. In addition to running back Sincere McCormick departing to turn pro, offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. left UTSA to accept the same position at Illinois. Roadrunner assistants Matt Mattox and Will Stein were promoted to co-offensive coordinators.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston: QB Clayton Tune passed for 3,546 yards and 30 touchdowns while completing 68.2% of his passes. Tune is on pace to join Case Keenum (19,217) and Kevin Kolb (12,964) as the only 10,000-yard passers in Houston’s prolific history. He finished with 10 interceptions last season but threw 192 consecutive passes without a pick. Tune is not mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate, but a strong start could vault him into that discussion.
UTSA: QB Frank Harris enters his fourth season as starting quarterback. Harris led UTSA to its first league title in program history as the Roadrunners went 7-1 in Conference USA. He set school single-season records for passing yards (3,177), completions (398), touchdowns (27), attempts (263), completion percentage (.661), passing efficiency (152.5), total offense (3,743) and touchdowns responsible for (33).
FACTS & FIGURES
Houston is 40-34-2 all-time in season openers including a 10-4 record since 2008. … The Cougars are 15-10-2 against in-state opponents during season openers. … UTSA has won three straight season openers and is 9-2 all-time. … The Roadrunners have won 10 straight games in the Alamodome. … Under Coach Jeff Traylor, UTSA is 12-1 at home and is 7-1 against in-state teams. … The Roadrunners have won 15 of its last 18 games.