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UTEP Miners vs. Jacksonville State Gamecocks 8/26/2023 Analysis, Game Tips and Picks

Miners (5-7) vs. Gamecocks (9-2) last season

UTEP Miners vs. Jacksonville State Gamecocks August 26, 2023 — After finishing in the 56th position in rushing offense during the preceding season, there is anticipation that the running game will become a notable strength. While Ronald Awatt, the team’s primary rusher, is no longer on the roster, Deion Hankins is poised to take charge of the running attack. During the 2022 season, the junior RB managed to accumulate 701 yards on the ground, maintaining an average of 5 yards per attempt. Unfortunately, Hardison’s favored target, Tyrin Smith, opted to transfer to Texas, leaving a void in the lineup. Kelly Akharaiyi, the team’s top returning wide receiver, accumulated 275 receiving yards over the course of last year. The team’s hopes are pinned on the contributions of fresh faces and transfers who are expected to step in and make significant impacts.

This Saturday marks the inception of a new era for the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. As the latest addition to the C-USA, this game serves as the program’s inaugural match in the FBS. The previous year, Jacksonville State showcased its prowess in the FCS’s A-SUN conference, achieving an impressive 9-2 record. Head coach Rich Rodriguez holds the expectation that despite it being their debut season, the team will remain competitive. Anwar Lewis, the junior running back who led the team in rushing last year, is returning and eager to contribute. He managed to accumulate an impressive 820 rushing yards. 

UTEP Miners vs. Jacksonville State Gamecocks Game Info

Time: 5:30 PM ET.

Date: Saturday, August 26, 2023

Venue: Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, AL

TV: Longhorn Network

Miners QB Gavin Hardison and Gamecocks QB Zion Webb

Competing within the C-USA, the UTEP Miners underwent a notable transformation in recent years, emerging as a significantly more competitive team. Their record for 2021 stood at 7-6, and their aspiration is to build upon the five victories achieved in the preceding season. While they did experience the departure of a few key players, particularly from the offensive lineup, they managed to retain the services of quarterback Gavin Hardison. This senior quarterback brings valuable experience to the table. During the previous season, he amassed 2044 passing yards, accompanied by an 11:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

During the training camp period, a quarterback competition unfolded within the team, resulting in Zion Webb securing the starting position. Over the course of 11 games in the previous season, this senior quarterback accumulated 1737 passing yards, maintaining a 10:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Webb emerged as the victor in the competition for the starting quarterback role, surpassing Logan Smother, a transfer from Nebraska. A few significant Gamecocks’ defensive secondary members have departed, including the team’s primary tackler. However, Jeremiah Harris, a crucial defensive back, is returning for his senior year, with a notable 68 tackles under his belt. Chris Hardie, who topped the charts for sacks last year, is also making a return to the team.

Odds/Point Spread: UTEP Miners -1, Total Odds: 53.5

With the UTEP Miners possessing a wealth of experience, there’s a strong possibility that they can build upon the five wins achieved in the preceding campaign. On the other side, Jacksonville State is stepping onto the field for their inaugural game in the FBS division. This transition comes after they participated in the A-SUN league for the FCS, making this battle quite distinctive. Despite their impressive lineup from the previous year, the leap to the FBS undeniably signifies a substantial elevation in the level of football in every aspect. It’s worth noting that UTEP boasts the presence of seasoned quarterback Gavin Hardison.

During the previous season, this senior quarterback showcased remarkable performances. Notably, in a triumph against the formidable Boise State team, he demonstrated his prowess by completing an impressive 90% of his passes. Additionally, he compiled a respectable tally of 244 passing yards in a matchup against Oklahoma during the preceding season. Expect Hardison to excel in the passing game, given that Jacksonville State’s pass defense wasn’t particularly dominant in the FCS last year, ranking 52nd out of 130 teams. The C-USA preseason media poll projected the Gamecocks to secure the second-to-last position, indicating their anticipation of being outmatched.

UTEP Miners Betting Trends

  • Texas El Paso is 1-8 SU in their last 9 matches on the road.
  • UTEP is 4-2 SU in their last 6 outings played in August.
  • The UTEP Miners are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in week 1.
  • The Miners are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games played on a Saturday.

Jacksonville State Gamecocks Betting Trends

  • The total stayed UNDER in 5 of Jacksonville State’s last 7 matches.
  • The Jacksonville State Gamecocks are 4-16 SU in their last 20 games.
  • The Gamecocks are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games in week 1.
  • Jacksonville State is 3-16 SU in their last 19 games played on a Saturday.

UTEP Miners vs. Jacksonville State Gamecocks Betting Trends

UTEP Miners vs. Jacksonville State Gamecocks: In their previous 8 games played in week 1, the UTEP Miners are 2-6 against the spread. In their previous 6 Saturday games, the UTEP Miners are 4-2 ATS. In their past 19 Saturday games, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks are 3-16 SU. In six away games last season, UTEP only managed one victory due to their erratic offense.

Jacksonville State will be motivated for their first FBS home game, and their offense may be explosive. The Gamecocks have a talented backfield and return 70% of their snaps from the offensive line. If Jacksonville State wins at home, take them. 

Free Pick and Prediction: The Gamecocks will win 31-21. 


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