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UTSA at UTEP: Freshman quarterbacks lead their programs into conference play

Could we be seeing the future star signal callers of the C-USA West unfold their prospects Saturday night?

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One came out of nowhere to most, the other had high expectations by fans since he stepped on campus, and both will meet at a critical turning point for their respective programs in the Sun Bowl Saturday night.

UTEP's Ryan Metz, and UTSA's Blake Bogenschutz could become the future stars of the C-USA West, and their first meeting could dictate how that ends up playing out not only in 2015, but even possibly in the next three and a half years.

Bogenschutz has sort of had a rough go in his past three games, after an eye opening outing to open the season against ranked Arizona, on the road.

He proved that when has a clean pocket he can pick a defense apart with good decision making and a crisp ball almost at ease, and also can be an effective scrambler if need be.  With a legit run game that UTSA has developed over the past two games, Bogenschutz could benefit from a passing efficiency standpoint this weekend.

The high hopes for "Bogie" aren't just a fictional tale that UTSA has a suitable quarterback for the future. If UTSA can improve their offensive line play he has the tools to be one of the better QB's in the league.

Where he has struggled is when teams take him out of the rhythm of their offense with a consistent pass rush, which is something UTEP has to do.  If he has time, and the run game is clicking, we could see the "official" coming out party for UTSA's quarterback of the future.

For Metz, anyone that saw UTEP's spring or fall practices knew what the kid could do, and in truth, he really didn't come out of nowhere.

One of the more consistent playmakers in UTEP's quarterback competition that started in the spring, Metz consistently moved the three's in practice, and provided the big play aspect at least once in each set of reps.

Inexperience plays a role in some of Metz's weakness in his first two games like staring down his primary receiver, and/or relying on his first target in his progressions, but his above average play making ability has masked that in his first two games of meaningful action.

Sean Kugler has talked about being wowed by his competitive nature and I hope that means UTEP allows him to make decisions from the zone-read pass option he has excelled at, because let's face it, that's all UTEP really has on offense due to injury.

And almost forgot....he has shown that he has a cannon.

The biggest question is not if Metz can do it against a very respectable and fully healthy UTSA defense, but will the staff allow Metz do his thing starting on the first possession, or does UTEP use the Mack Leftwich game plan until they are down a few scores?

This matchup is just crazy weird on paper.

UTEP is the four point underdog with a shaky 2-2 record, but it seems UTSA has the momentum and has played much better against stiffer competition despite being 0-4 and owning a -8 turnover margin on the season.

To me, it will come down to quarterback play, and as good as Ryan Metz has been, it will be up to the UTEP defense to slow down UTSA's running attack, and make Bogenschutz convert 3rd and longs.

Is the UTEP defense up to the task, and will UTEP open up the pass game before things start going south?

Alex's Prediction

UTSA 45 UTEP 35