Cure Bowl features matchup of conference champs Troy, UTSA

Cure Bowl

No. 23 Troy (11-2) vs. No. 22 UTSA (11-2), Dec. 16, 3 p.m. Eastern, (ESPN)

FanDuel Sportsbook College Line: Troy by 1½

Series: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The winner of the only FBS bowl matchup featuring conference champions will finish on an 11-game winning streak. Troy and UTSA both rattled off 10 consecutive wins after losing two of three to begin the season. The Trojans captured their first Sun Belt title since 2017 and the Roadrunners repeated as Conference USA champs.

KEY MATCHUP

UTSA’s prolific QB Frank Harris against a Troy defense that has limited opponents to 325.3 yards and 17.5 points per game. Harris, a red-shirt senior who’s already announced he’ll return for another season with the Roadrunners moving to the American Athletic Conference, ranked fourth nationally in total offense at 342.5 per game. He’s thrown for 3,865 yards and 31 touchdowns vs. seven interceptions, while also rushing for 588 yards and nine TDs. The high-scoring Roadrunners average 486.1 yards and 38.7 points.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Troy: QB Gunnar Watson has completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 2,705 yards, 13 TDs and 10 interceptions. RB Kimani Vidal is the Trojans’ leading rusher with 1,059 yards and nine TDs, while RB DK Billingsley has run for 656 yards and eight TDs.

UTSA: Harris has plenty of playmakers around him, including WRs Zakhari Franklin (86 receptions, 1,100 yards, 14 TDs) and Joshua Cephus (87 catches, 985 yards, six TDs). RBs Kevorian Barnes and Brendan Brady have combined for 1,412 yards and 15 TDs rushing.

FACTS & FIGURES

Troy is No. 24 in the CFP rankings. UTSA is 25th. … The Trojans lost to Mississippi 28-10 and Appalachian State 32-28 during the regular season. UTSA’s only losses were Houston 37-35 in triple overtime and at Texas 41-20. … The Roadrunners are 0-3 all-time in bowl games, including a 38-24 loss to San Diego State in last year’s Frisco Bowl. … Troy’s defense allowed just 3.92 points per game in the fourth quarter this season, with seven of 13 opponents going scoreless over the final 15 minutes of regulation. … Sun Belt defensive player of the year Carlton Martial is Troy’s top defender with 563 career tackles, along with six interceptions, eight forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. … UTSA is 0-10 all-time vs. opponents ranked in the Top 25.

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