Tale of the Tape: C-USA championship game

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

With the Conference USA Championship Game set to kick off Friday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m., it is time to examine the matchup between the UTSA Roadrunners (11-1, 7-1 C-USA) and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (8-4, 7-1 C-USA). 

Offensively, both teams boast dangerous offenses. The Hilltoppers enter the contest with the second-highest scoring team in the nation, averaging an eye-watering 43.2 points per game. The offense is led by senior quarterback Bailey Zappe. Zappe has enjoyed the best season statistically of any quarterback in the nation, leading the nation in both passing yards with 416.08 per game and in passing touchdowns with 52. These numbers have helped spearhead an offense that has little trouble moving the ball, averaging 524.7 yards per game. 

For the ‘Runners, the offense is similarly talented. UTSA currently ranks 14th in the nation in scoring at 36.9 points per game and ranks 42nd in total offense averaging 433.5 yards per game. UTSA boasts a balanced rushing attack led by quarterback Frank Harris and running back Sincere McCormick. Harris has battled injuries throughout his career, but he has finally put together a full season to emerge as the unquestioned captain of this UTSA offense. He currently ranks 53rd in the nation averaging 224 passing yards per game. He has played relatively mistake-free football this season, throwing 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions. McCormick has been the engine of the UTSA offense and has put together another sterling season. The junior finished eighth in the nation this year in total rushing yards with 1,275.

Defensively, both teams come in vulnerable. The Hilltopper scoring defense is tied for 76th in the nation, surrendering 27 points a game. The Hilltoppers are particularly vulnerable against the pass, as they rank 113th in the nation giving up 261.9 yards per game. 

The UTSA defense is slightly more impressive, but has endured a troubling drop in recent form. The ‘Runners are 33rd in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 22.17 points a game. UTSA currently ranks 37th in total defense, giving up 346.8 yards per game, but are relatively weak in coverage, as they are currently giving up 225.2 yards through the air, 63rd in the nation.  

It is sure to be a hard-fought game at the Alamodome on Friday night as the two teams clash for Conference USA supremacy, and it will be one for the record books.