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UTEP vs. Arizona - 9/15/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Arizona Wildcats (1-1) at UTEP Miners (0-2)

College Football: Friday, September 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm (Sun Bowl)

The Line: UTEP Miners +17 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The Arizona Wildcats will travel to the Sun Bowl to take on the UTEP Miners this Friday night in College Football action.

The Arizona Wildcats fell to 1-1 on the season after being defeated by the Houston Cougars, 19-16, this past Saturday. Arizona was down throughout the 2nd half and although the Wildcats had plenty of opportunities to tie or take the lead, the Wildcats just couldn’t overcome the stout Houston defense. The Wildcats were outgained by the Cougars by a 383-371 margin and both teams had 2 turnovers. Leading the way for Arizona was RB J.J. Taylor who had 87 rushing yards on 17 carries. On the season, Arizona is averaging 39.0 ppg on 483.0 total yards per game (154.0 passing yds/g; 329 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Arizona has been led by their backfield of J.J. Taylor (13.0 att/g, 65.6 yds/g) and Nick Wilson (10.0 att/g, 59.0 yds/g, 2 TD). Dual threat quarterback Brandon Dawkins (57.1 comp %; 133.5 yds/g; TD) was replaced by Khalil Tate (55.6 comp %, 20.5 yds/g, INT) early in the 4th quarter in hopes of sparking a Wildcat comeback, but I imagine that we’ll see Dawkins behind center for this one. The main targets for Arizona at the WR position have been Tony Ellison (4.0 rec/g, 52 yds/g, TD), Shun Brown (2.5 rec/g, 42.0 yds/g) and TE Bryce Wolma (2.5 rec/g, 19.0 yds/g). Defensively, Arizona is holding their opponents to an average of 21.5 ppg on 472.5 total yards per game (301.0 passing yds/g; 171.5 rushing yds/g). Arizona has forced 5 turnovers on the season and have a turnover margin of +3.

UTEP vs. Arizona - 9/15/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The UTEP Miners fell to 0-2 on the season after being defeated by the Rice Owls 31-14, this past Saturday. UTEP struggled offensively throughout the game and couldn’t fight back after falling behind by a 24-7 margin with just 8:27 left in the 4th quarter. The Miners were outgained by the Owls by a 437-229 margin and lost the battle of first downs by a 22-12 difference. Leading the way for UTEP was QB Ryan Metz who completed 18 of 33 passes for 203 yards and 1 TD. On the season, UTEP is averaging 10.5 ppg on 198.0 total yards per game (148.5 passing yds/g; 49.5 rushing yds/g). Offensively, the Miners are led by QB Ryan Metz who had completed 54.9% of his passes with a TD while averaging 129.5 passing yds/game. The main threats the receiver positions for Metz and the Miners have been WR Kavika Johnson (3.0 rec/g, 33.5 yds/g), WR Warren Redix (1.0 rec/g, 29.5 yds/g, TD), and TE David Lucero (2.5 rec/g, 22.0 yds/g). The Miners rushing attack is led by the duo of Walter Dawn Jr (8.0 att/g, 40.0 yds/g, TD) and Kevin Dove (6.0 att/g, 18.0 yds/g). Defensively, UTEP is holding their opponents to an average of 43.5 ppg on 556.5 total yards per game (313.5 passing yds/g; 243.0 rushing yds/g). UTEP has forced only one turnover so far this season and currently has a turnover margin of -1.

The Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game and 0-7 ATS in their last 7 road games. The Miners are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss however, just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.

Arizona played Houston tough however, their offense, which generally relies on a solid rushing attack was exposed when the Cougars forced the Wildcats to beat them through the air. UTEP suffered a huge blow when RB Aaron Jones declared for the NFL draft and so far early in the season, it looks as if the offensehas really struggled to find its footing as it currently ranks just 126th in scoring offense. Arizona’s offense shouldn’t have any trouble scoring on the Miners defense and as I was encouraged by the Wildcats defensive performance against a decent Houston offense, I’m taking Arizona to cover this big road spread.  

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