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Photo Credit: Vicente Cardenas/The Paisano

The UTSA Roadrunners fell to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) 56-35 in the Alamodome on Saturday afternoon in front of 40, 977 fans — the second largest UTSA crowd in the programs history.

UTSA racked up a school-record 504 total yards in the loss behind senior quarterback Eric Soza who threw for 308 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Cowboys, ranked in the AP polls No. 13 in the nation, claimed victory thanks to sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh’s nearly flawless performance. Walsh was 24-27 passing for 326 yards and five total touchdowns; four passing and one rushing.

UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker led his team in the loss against former pupil Mike Gundy who is in his ninth season as head coach of the Cowboys. This was the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

“Their (OSU) a good football team and let’s give them credit,” Coker said. Mike’s (Gundy) done a great job there. I think Oklahoma State is a team now that expects to win.”

The Cowboys came in as the favorites and proved it by building a 35-7 lead over UTSA in the first half.

“We came in here and got a win,” Gundy said. “That’s a pretty good football team over there. I think their quarterback is a really good player. They’ve got some skilled receivers that can catch. They’ve got some good schemes on offense and they are very well-coached.”

In the first quarter OSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead on an eight-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Walsh’s first passing touchdown of the day to wide receiver Jhajuan Seales. Seales finished with a team-high seven receptions for 87 yards and a score.

The drive would set the pace for a Cowboys team that constantly ran the no-huddle offense much to the frustration of the UTSA defense.

“They are one of the fastest teams in the country,” UTSA safety Nic Johnston said. “We have had never experienced a team that actually went this fast. It’s a learning experience.”

The Roadrunners were able to bounce back and orchestrated a 13-play 71-yard drive of their own, resulting in UTSA wide receiver Kenny Bias scoring on a six-yard run that would tie the game at 7-all. Bias’ score would be the first touchdown the Cowboys had allowed this season.

But that’s when things got out of hand. The Cowboys would score five touchdowns in a row giving them a 42-7 lead, prompting Gundy to substitute Walsh out for senior backup Clint Chelf. Chelf threw for two touchdowns on 11-16 passing and 192 yards in limited play.

Despite the deficit, UTSA battled back and found some success in the fourth quarter. Soza connected on back-to-back touchdown passes to Bias and tight end Cole Hubble to cut the lead to 42-21. Bias was superb with 96 yards receiving and three scores in the game.

“Going into film we would see how they press up” Bias said after the game, “and to me I think that’s kind of disrespectful for my speed. The o-line helped up and Eric got me the ball.”

OSU and UTSA would trade touchdowns in the final 10 minutes eventually resulting in the 21-point loss for the Roadrunners.

Even in defeat Coker and his players saw the positives they could take away — mainly the ability to put up huge offensive numbers against a nationally ranked team.

UTSA also benefited from the rowdy UTSA fans that supported the team even when they were down.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Soza said. “We were expecting it to be pretty crazy and it was.”

Coker mirrored Soza’s comments after the game.

“I can’t say enough about San Antonio and our students,” Coker said. “I just encourage them not to give up on us because we will be back. We’re going to fight on.”

The Roadrunners will head to Tucson for a meeting with the PAC-12Arizona Wildcats next Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 9:30 p.m. kickoff at Arizona Stadium.

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