Weekly Predictions: ACU vs. UTEP
Owen: Wildcat football has returned. Unfortunately, the delayed start could benefit UTEP with two games already under its belt. After a hard-fought comeback against Stephen F. Austin in the season-opener, the Miners were no match against the Longhorns. Nevertheless, UTEP will likely be less anxious coming out of the game. The Wildcats will have to focus on containing the run after redshirt freshman Deion Hankins exploded in his first collegiate game against the Lumberjacks for 113 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries. Looking on the offensive side, ACU has many unanswered questions. With senior running back Billy McCrary sidelined due to injury, someone will need to step up for the running game. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Peyton Mansell and junior quarterback Sema’J Davis will run a dual-quarterback system similar to last season. However, there are questions with Mansell having not started a single collegiate game while at Iowa. With so many unknowns, the Wildcats could struggle in the season-opener. Vegas has the Wildcats at +8. I’ll go under on those odds.
ACU: 24 UTEP: 31
Carrie: The first of many games this season for the Wildcats begins on Saturday with a matchup against UTEP in El Paso. While ACU has been preparing for the first game of the season, the Miners have had two games this season. Though they won their week one game against SFA this season, UTEP will be looking to bounce back after their 59-3 loss against the University of Texas last week. The Wildcats’ defense will have to face Gavin Hardison, who has tallied 353 yards, one touchdown and a 53 percent completion rate. As for ACU, they have a lot to figure out in their first game of the season. Expect some offensive struggles in this game, as the Wildcats settle into head coach Adam Dorrel’s newly revised offense with new leaders taking the snaps. As for defense, ACU will be looking to fill the hole left by Jeremiah Chambers and the other seniors that graduated, so expect some struggles there as well. But at the end of the day, Dorrel is confident that the younger players and transfers will fill the roles that need to be filled. Though, it will be unlikely that all these roles will be filled perfectly on week one.
ACU: 21 UTEP: 28
Tavian: The Wildcats are in action for the first time since Nov. 23 after suffering a 7-45 loss to Mississippi State. Since then we’ve seen a lot of changes to the Wildcats’ team. We should see a new face under center and a lot of new faces in the secondary, but this should be one of the most talented teams in a while. This game against UTEP will not be an easy one, but the Wildcats do have a chance to turn some heads taking down a FBS opponent. I think the biggest story that will come out of this game is how the two quarterbacks will share snaps and if that will disrupt the chemistry between the offense. If the Wildcats can control the clock and keep giving the defense the rest they need, they will prevail after 60 minutes of play. The ultimate x-factor will be special teams, and that will be the deciding factor. I have the Wildcats coming out on top in a low scoring game.
ACU: 27 UTEP: 23
Jalen: The Wildcats are back in action with its first matchup against UTEP. The Miners pulled off an impressive win in week one against Stephen F. Austin 24-14. Redshirt freshman Deion Hankins had himself a clinic in his first collegiate game, rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns. For ACU, there are so many questions to ask about what their season could look like going forward. ACU’s offense will be one to see how they produce on the field. Junior wide receiver Kobe Clark is coming off his best season with 777 receiving yards and three touchdowns, so he will be someone to watch this season. The quarterback duel between junior quarterback Sema’J Davis and senior Peyton Mansell will be interesting to see who takes the starting position in the coming games. ACU’s defense will need its young players to step up within the linebacker and secondary core. Although my concerns seem to be outweighing the positives, I believe ACU will come out on top and win their season opener.
ACU: 24 UTEP: 17
Madi: ACU has a big match up ahead of them taking on UTEP this weekend. The Wildcats have been preparing for this since all the players were able to get to campus. Although UTEP is not one of the best teams in Conference USA, they have already played two games this season. With ACU having so many new pieces to its offense and defense, I think it might take them some time to get the ball rolling in the first half, whereas UTEP has had two games to work out some of the early kinks. Personally, I am disappointed because I was looking forward to Billy McCrary’s comeback appearance, but he will be sidelined this game due to injury. This will be the first of many tests that ACU faces this year, and how they deal with the adversity this game I think will set the tone for the season. Defensively we see a lot of new faces as well that did not receive very many minutes last season. With the lack of experience from some players and the lack of chemistry the team has at this point in the season, I do not know if we will be able to pull out a win.
ACU: 21 UTEP: 38