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CFN Take: UTSA Overcomes Errors To Beat LT

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 30, 2013


The 2013 UTSA Roadrunners ... Head Coach: Larry Coker


UTSA Roadrunners

2013 Record: 6-6
8/31 at New Mexico W 21-13
9/7 Oklahoma St L 56-35
9/14 at Arizona L 38-13
9/21 at UTEP W 32-13
9/28 Houston L 52-28
10/5 at Marshall L 34-10
10/12 Rice L 27-21
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 UAB W 52-31
11/2 at Tulsa W 34-15
11/9 Tulane W 10-7
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 at North Texas W 21-13
11/30 Louisiana Tech W 30-10
at UTSA 30, Louisiana Tech 10
Basically … UTSA overcame mistakes by starting out well with Eric Soza throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jarveon Williams and running for a 20-yard score. Louisiana Tech’s D got back in the game with a 27-yard Adairius Barnes interception return for a score, but the offense didn’t get into the end zone. Sean Ianno hit three field goals for the Roadrunners, who scores 13 unanswered points.
- UTSA committed 11 penalties for 83 yards and turned it over three times.
- Louisiana Tech QB Scotty Young completed 13-of-24 passes for 80 yards with a pick.
- UTSA had the ball for 38:17, Louisiana Tech had it for 21:43
- UTSA RB Evans Okotcha ran 26 times for 109 yards and a score.

at UTSA 10, Tulane 7
Basically … Sean Ianno hit a field goal with 14 seconds to play to give UTSA the win in a sloppy, defensive-filled game. Tulane scored on a nine-yard Orleans Darkwa touchdown run late in the second quarter, but the offense suffered three turnovers, and UTSA came through with a 68-yard Brandon Armstrong touchdown dash late in the third as part of the ten unanswered points for the win.
- It was ugly. Tulane turned it over three times and committed 14 penalties for 105 yards, and UTSA committed eight penalties and turned it over eight times.
- UTSA QB Eric Soza completed 10-of-25 passes for 183 yards.
- Tulane RB Orleans Darkwa ran 20 times for 103 yards and a touchdown.
- Tulane had the ball for over 37 minutes. UTSA held it for just 22:29.

UTSA 34, at Tulsa 15, Nov. 2
Basically … UTSA got touchdowns from all three phases of the game, and forced four turnovers to beat Tulsa on the road. The Roadrunners recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone and got an 84-yard rushing touchdown from wideout Kam Jones to race out to a 24-0 lead at halftime. Tulsa scored a touchdown and executed a two-point conversion, but Triston Wade picked off Dane Evans and took it 82 yards to the house to ice the game in the middle of the fourth quarter.
- UTSA QB Eric Soza was very efficient, completing 16-of-20 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.
- Tulsa played three quarterbacks who combined for 25-of-45 passing, 221 yards, two touchdowns and two picks.
- UTSA ran for 286 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry on 39 attempts.
- Tulsa converted on just 9-of-20 third-down attempts, which was still better than UTSA’s 25% conversion rate.

Rice 27, at UTSA 21
Basically … Rice held on late after getting up 27-7 on touchdown runs from Darik Dillard and Taylor McHargue, a McHargue 37-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Parks, and two Chris Boswell field goals, but UTSA wouldn’t quit. Eric Soza ran for two one-yard touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the second one coming with just over a minute to go, but Rice recovered the onside kick. UTSA outgained Rice 434 yards to 340.
- It’s not like Rice stopped trying, but the offense didn’t click after a strong 24 minutes. Taylor McHargue ran for 41 yards and a score, but he only completed 9-of-21 passes for 183 yards and a score as he came up with too many misfires. The defense couldn’t get off the field late because the offense couldn’t keep the chains moving, but the Owls held on and now they’ve won three straight with apparent layups against New Mexico State and UTEP up next.
- The Roadrunners kept fighting with Eric Soza rallying the team back late. It was a tough loss, and now it’s been five losses in the last six games with little margin for error the rest of the way if there’s any hope for a good season. Soza only hit 17-of-31 passes for 170 yards, but he scrambled for a team-leading 85 rushing yards and two scores. Unfortunately, Rice isn’t Alabama; the offense should’ve been a lot sharper before the four quarter surge.

at Marshall 34, UTSA 10
Basically … Marshall came out roaring with 24 straight points helped by a 17-yard Devon Johnson touchdown catch and short scoring runs from Essray Taliafero and Steward Butler. UTSA managed a Sean Ianno field goal late in the first half, and Eric Soza ran for a one-yard score in the fourth, but Rakeem Cato put the game away with his second touchdown pass of the game with less than four minutes to play.
- Marshall basically coasted. The defense came up with the takeaways, the passing game worked with Rakeem Cato completing 22-of-32 passes for 279 yards and two scores, and there wasn’t any stress after the first quarter.
- Everything had to go right for UTSA, and there couldn’t be any mistakes. It didn’t happen. There wasn’t any consistency to the passing game, the ground attack was stopped cold from the start, and the three picks from Eric Soza and ten penalties led MU take it relatively easy.

Houston 59, at UTSA 28
Basically … Up 31-28 going into the fourth quarter, and then Houston exploded for 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter helped by two John O’Korn touchdown passes and punctuated by a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown from William Jackson in the final seconds. O’Korn threw four touchdown passes and the Cougars came up with a blocked field goal for a touchdown to keep pace, but UTSA helped the cause with five turnovers. The Roadrunners got two touchdown passes and a scoring run from Eric Soza, but the giveaways were too costly.
- It all changed on a single play. It was a tight battle with each team trading haymakers, and then Houston’s B.J. Singleton blocked the field goal that went for a score, and the momentum had completely shifted. UTSA didn’t recover.
- UTSA killed itself with special teams errors and turnover after turnover. There were several chances, and the offense kept screwing up. Eric Soza was replaced late, and while Tucker Carter completed 7-of-8 passes for 49 yards, he also threw a pick six. Soza is still the key playmaker for the attack.
- Houston was more active on defense and special teams. There weren’t any sacks and there was just one tackle for loss, but the secondary came through time and again.
- John O’Korn didn’t make the big mistakes. He completed 24-of-36 passes for 312 yards with four scores, and most importantly, there weren’t any picks. UTSA with five turnovers, Houston with zero.

UTSA 32, at UTEP 13
Basically … UTSA started out the scoring with a 29-yard touchdown run and overcame an ensuing kickoff for a score from Autry Golden and a 10-7 deficit with a 18-point second quarter to take the lead for good. Eric Soza threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Cole Hubble, and Kam Jones added a 28-yard touchdown run. UTEP’s offense didn’t get in the end zone, settling for two short field goals from Jay Mattox.
- The UTSA defense was brilliant. LB Drew Douglas led the way with 12 tackles, and while there wasn’t any real pass rush, the secondary held up well. Every time the defense needed a key stop, it got it.
- Jamiell Showers couldn’t move the offense. The UTEP quarterback completed 17-of-31 passes for 119 yards, but none of his plays worked deep and he didn’t come through on two fourth down plays. UTEP just couldn’t find anything that worked.
- This is how it was supposed to work for UTSA. Eric Soza didn’t have to do much except hit the easy throws, completing 18-of-24 passes for 204 yards and a score. He spread the ball around perfectly connecting with 12 different receivers.
- The UTEP defense was fine. It didn’t come up with any game-changing plays, and it didn’t do enough to disrupt the midrange passing game, but it wasn’t at fault. The Miner offense went nowhere.

at Arizona 38, UTSA 13, Sept. 14
Basically … B.J. Denker ran for two scores and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Samajie Grant, and Ka’Deem Carey ran for two short runs as Arizona came up with a 38-6 lead and coasted. UTSA only managed two Sean Ianno field goals until David Glasco got into the end zone with just under ten minutes to play.
- Arizona’s offense might not have exploded like it had in the first few games, but it was effective. Ka’Deem Carey was beaten up, and he didn’t take off for any big runs, but he still came up with a workmanlike 128 yards on 27 carries.
- The UTSA offense pressed, but it couldn’t turn drives into points. Eric Soza threw 46 times as the Roadrunners tried to come back, but he could only get the offense into the end zone late after the outcome had been decided.
- B.J. Denker continues to impress as the leader of the Wildcat attack. He completed a solid 14-of-21 passes and ran for 90 yards. This was his game, even though Carey handled most of the workload.
- UTSA had to get away from the running game early as the score got out of hands. David Glasco II only carried the ball ten times because Soza had to throw and throw some more. Controlling the clock didn’t matter; Arizona didn’t break early.

UTSA 21, at New Mexico 13, Aug. 31
Basically … UTSA rallied from a 13-0 deficit with two Eric Soza touchdown passes and two David Glasco scores as part of a run of 21 unanswered points. New Mexico scored the first 13 points on a SaQwan Edwards fumble return for a score and a 37-yard Marquis Bundy catch, but the offense fizzled the rest of the way.
- If New Mexico isn’t running the ball effectively, the offense won’t work. The Lobos ran for 193 yards with Cole Gautsche leading the way with 118 yards, but he only completed 4-of-12 passes with a score. Kasey Carrier was stuffed for 54 yards on 20 carries.
- It’s not like the UTSA offense was clicking, but Eric Soza found a rhythm and the offense picked things up after a rough start. There’s no ground game from the running backs, but Soza helped carry the attack with a team-leading 48 yards.
- It’s not like either defense did anything crazy. There weren’t a slew of plays in the backfield but New Mexico did a better job of attacking the run. UTSA swarmed around Carrier and let the rest of the Lobos try to produce.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … the Roadrunners have a veteran quarterback and a veteran coach to help guide them into a new conference. Eric Soza was the catalyst for last year’s 8-4 debut in the FBS, while Larry Coker has a long and impressive resume that will continue to serve UTSA well. The program is taking a three-game winning streak into the 2013 campaign.

Why To Be Grouchy … the D had all kinds of problems when facing WAC and Conference USA teams a year ago. And will likely continue experiencing many of those same issues again this fall. Still in the embryonic stages of even participating in college football, it’s going to take a while before the Roadrunners have the depth and talent to compete on a week-in, week-out basis.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … ramping up the maturity of the defensive backs. Everyone is back in San Antonio, and CB Erik Brown and safeties Nic Johnston and Triston Wade flashed potential last season. However, they were also part of a defensive backfield that allowed 26 touchdown passes and picked off half that number of throws. This unit has to take a step forward in 2013.

Non-Conference Games: at New Mexico, Oklahoma State, at Arizona, Houston
Games Against the East: at Marshall, at UAB
Realistic Best Case Record: 4-8
Worst Case Record: 0-12
Likely Finish: 0-12

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: None

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at New Mexico, Oklahoma State, at Arizona, at UTEP, Houston, at Marshall, Rice, UAB, at Tulsa, Tulane, at North Texas, Louisiana Tech

Schedule Analysis: The days of playing Texas A&M-Commerce and Northwestern Oklahoma are over. The Roadrunners might be full of experience, but where are the wins going to come from? Starting out against New Mexico would be a plus if it wasn’t on the road, and while UAB and Tulane might not be great, they’re better than Larry Coker’s club. North Texas and UTEP are other winnable games that are away from the Alamodome. Hosting Oklahoma State will at least be interesting, but that could get ugly in a hurry as could the road trip to Arizona. Four of the first six games are on the road before getting a home game against Rice leading into a week off.

Team Concerns For 2013: Head coach gets back all 11 starters on an offense that stalled way too often running the ball against the better WAC defenses. Out of the 21 touchdown runs, just one came in the four losses. The defense got ripped apart by most passing games over the second half of the season allowing 324 yards or more in each of the last five games and gave up 17 touchdown passes with just three picks in the last six outings.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... FBS talents. It's not like the Roadrunners are taking any prospects away from Alabama, but after not needing to come up with too many bodies in the 2012 class, this one is full with a variety of different prospects for all spots. The line isn't getting a slew of top-shelf stars, but running backs Jalen Rhodes and Jarveon Williams were nice gets, and corner Nkeal Bailey will soon be a key part of the secondary.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 123. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Roadrunners haven’t had too much time getting ready for life in the WAC, but head coach Larry Coker has a young, YOUNG team without many glaring personnel needs. Redshirt freshmen are the norm across the board with only two upperclassmen among the 24 players on the offensive two-deep, and there’s only one player needing to be replaced on defense.