UTSA Football

The Roadrunners’ losing streak extended to four games with a loss to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the 22nd rank football team in the nation, 51-27 on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Ruston, Louisiana. It was a difficult task for the ‘Runners defense to try and stop the Louisiana Tech’s offense that has the second highest scoring average per game with 52.6 points per game. 

This is the fourth straight loss for UTSA after the program’s five consecutive wins.  UTSA has dropped to fifth place in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and now has an overall record of 5-4.  Saturday was the first time the ‘Runners faced a ranked Football Bowl Series (FBS) opponent, but Head Coach Larry Coker believes the team is moving in the right direction.

“I saw some glimpses of how good we can be. It’s a short season left with just three games, and if we keep progressing, we can be a good team,” Coker said.

Starting quarterback Eric Soza returned to action after missing the last two games for UTSA due to a hip injury. His performance is evidence of Coker’s positive glimpses. Soza established two new program records as he threw four touchdowns and 318 yards with no interceptions against the Bulldogs defense, completing 23 of his 41 passing attempts. 

“He stepped up and played like he hadn’t missed any time,” Coker said. “I’m really proud of him.”

The ‘Runners made a statement by playing very physical football in the Bulldog’s homecoming game, to prove UTSA was not just going to roll over to their nationally ranked opponent.

 The Bulldogs first drew blood with 13:25 left in the first quarter when Bulldogs wide receiver R.P. Stuart snatched a one-yard touchdown pass from Tech quarterback Colby Cameron and led 7-0.

About three minutes later, UTSA responded in a big way when Soza completed a pass to tight end Cole Hubble in the middle of the field; Hubble sprinted through the Bulldogs defense for a 33-yard touchdown and tied the game up 7-7 with 10:26 left in the quarter.

Less than a minute later, Louisiana Tech answered with another score after UTSA’s touchdown when running back Kenneth Dixon rushed into the endzone after a three-yard run and put the Bulldogs back in the lead 14-7 at the 9:38 mark.

The ‘Runners offense did not back down from the quick Bulldogs’ response and Hubble grabbed another Soza pass down the middle and this time went for a more impressive 57-yard touchdown run to tie up the game 14-14, and that was the score at the end of the first quarter.

However, UTSA’s offense struggled in the second quarter. The Bulldogs scored 13 unanswered points before the end of the first half. At the 9:56 mark, in the second quarter, wide receiver Quinton Patton showcased his talents when he took a pass by Cameron 79-yards through diving UTSA defenders and gave the Bulldogs the lead 21-14.

Cameron extended Louisiana Tech’s lead once again with a 23-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Jon Greenwalt with just eight seconds left in the first half. After a missed extra point by kicker Matt Nelson, the Bulldogs held a 27-14 advantage over the ‘Runners.

In UTSA’s first possession of the third quarter, Soza showed what the ‘Runners have missed the last two games, a stable control of the offense. Soza led UTSA on a four-minute offensive drive that culminated with a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Earon Holmes. UTSA only trailed the Bulldogs by six, 27-21 with 10:52 left in the third quarter.

Louisiana Tech’s offense was slowed down in the second half, but Tech’s running back Dixon wore the UTSA defense down for his second touchdown rush of the game, a seven-yard run with 7:01 left in the third quarter and put the Bulldogs ahead. The ‘Runners offense couldn’t respond with their own touchdown and both teams went into the final quarter facing a 34-21 deficit.

In the final quarter, the Bulldogs came away with a successful 22-yard field goal from kicker Nelson with 14:27 left in the game and extended Tech’s lead 37-21.

Soza rallied the UTSA offense for one final touchdown drive, just over two minutes after the Bulldogs field goal. Wide receiver Cole Hicks grabbed a 14-yard pass for another UTSA touchdown with 11:50 left in the game. UTSA went for a two-point conversion but reserve quarterback Ryan Polite was stuffed at the line by Tech’s defense, but UTSA was only trailing Tech by 10 points, 37-27.

The ‘Runners defense looked like they held the high-scoring Bulldogs offense once again as they lined up for a field goal attempt midway through the fourth quarter. But Tech came away with another touchdown off the fake field goal formation, when running back Malon Lee completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Gru, putting the Bulldogs up 44-27. Tech offense was not finished scoring yet as Nixon bowled through the UTSA defense for his third touchdown of the day with 2:37 left in the game and for what was ultimately the final score of 51-27.

The silver lining of the recent Roadrunners loss is the impressive offensive displays by a number of UTSA players. UTSA’s 438 total
offensive yards is the highest total since the ‘Runners posted 445 total yards against Northwestern Oklahoma State. Tight end Hubble became the first Roadrunner to record multiple touchdowns in one game and 101 total receiving yards on only three catches. Receiver Hicks is tied with his Bandera High School teammate, Hubble, for as the UTSA leader in touchdown receptions.

Receiver Holmes is becoming a consistent target for UTSA quarterbacks as he caught five passes for 57 yards during the game. With his 54 yards against Utah State, Holmes has 111 total receiving yards and Holmes ranks third on this year’s team in receiving yards average with 26.2 yards per game. Running back David Glasco II was the leading rusher for the ‘Runners in the game with 63 total yards.

The ‘Runners come back to play in the Alamodome when they host the McNeese State Cowboys on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. 

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