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Trap game? ESPN puts Tennessee on upset alert for tricky meeting with UTSA

The Roadrunners are legit.

Duluth Trading Cure Bowl - Troy v UTSA Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

If you’re a college football fan, the odds are pretty good you already know about Frank Harris and UTSA. The Roadrunners have been one of the best stories in the country over the last couple of years, going 11-3 and 12-2 in their last two seasons. Their success has pushed them into the American Athletic Conference, benefiting from the wild year of realignment.

A big part of their success has come from the arms and legs of quarterback Frank Harris, who returns for a fifth season with UTSA this year. Harris will lead his Roadrunners into Neyland Stadium on September 23rd, set to give the Tennessee defense a challenge.

ESPN’s Chris Low identified the game as a potential Group of 5/Power 5 upset.

Which Power 5 teams could get tripped up at home by a Group of 5 team, a la Appalachian State winning at Texas A&M last season? One game to watch is UTSA at Tennessee on Sept. 23. The Vols have an away game with Florida the week before and a home date the week after with South Carolina, which torched Tennessee 63-38 a year ago and ruined the Vols’ playoff chances. UTSA brings back 15 starters, including record-setting quarterback Frank Harris, after going 11-3 and winning two straight Conference USA titles.

Forgetting UTSA’s recent success for a second, consider the date of this game. As Low points out, September 23rd falls in between a date in The Swamp with Florida and a big home revenge spot against South Carolina. That creates an obvious potential overlook spot, which Tennessee better be ready for.

The Roadrunners did lose star receiver Zakhari Franklin to the transfer portal, but most of the pieces are still in place for Jeff Traylor. UTSA did lose a similar game at Texas last year, 41-20, for reference. They also lost a three-overtime game to Houston back in week one.

Now playing their first year in the AAC, UTSA will be coming off of a home game against Army before heading to Knoxville in week four. It’ll be a meeting of the No. 1 and No. 12 ranked offenses from 2022, which should create plenty of fireworks. Tennessee should be able to out-athlete UTSA, but the Roadrunners will be fully capable of making things uncomfortable in Neyland.