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The UTSA Roadrunners fell 36-31 to the Old Dominion Monarchs (4-5, 2-3 C-USA) in a closely contested battle of Conference USA rivals.

In a loss that tied the program’s single-season record of eight, the Roadrunners (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) entered the game with the ninth most first-time starters in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Despite their youth, UTSA managed to collect more than 400 yards of total offense —283 yards through the air and 141 yards on the ground.

The impressive offensive numbers from the Roadrunners might have yielded a win on any other night, but after a stellar performance from the ODU offense, the Monarchs managed to put up 548 yards of total offense (378 passing, 170 rushing).

“I didn’t expect it,” UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker said, commenting on Old Dominion’s offensive explosion. “You can’t give up the big plays and win. That’s what we did.”

The Roadrunners’ secondary — which has largely been the most productive unit for UTSA this season — was torched by ODU wide receivers Zach Pascal and Jonathan Duhart.

Pascal and Duhart combined for 18 receptions, more than 300 yards receiving and two touchdowns against the Roadrunners.

“We’ve got to contain them (opposing offenses) better,” UTSA linebacker Drew Douglas said after the loss. “We’ve got to play better.”

Douglas acknowledged ODU quarterback David Washington (378 yards passing, two touchdowns, 69 yards rushing) after the loss.

“All credit to him (Washington),” Douglas said. “He was very elusive and did a really good job of throwing it to his receivers and letting them make plays.”

Even with the less-than-stellar performance for the UTSA defensive backs, the unit helped stretch UTSA’s streak of takeaways to five after an interception by senior cornerback Trevor Baker.

The interception marks the tenth of the season for the Roadrunners, a mark good enough to place second in the program’s short history (13).

UTSA’s ten interceptions this season have all come in the team’s last five contests. With three games remaining, the team has a real chance to challenge the record.

On the offensive side of the ball, UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm continued to etch chapters into his admirable story after yet another impressive performance.

The second year walk-on threw for more than 250 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Sturm — who secured the starting duties after an injury befell former starter Blake Bogenshutz — also led the Roadrunners’ balanced rushing attack with 34 yards on the ground.

Sturm credited his pre-game preparation for his performance: “Whether I make good plays or bad plays, I go straight back the film. But, there’s only so much film can do. Game-time experience is the main thing.”

Despite their struggles this season, UTSA still has an opportunity to close the season on a three-game win streak as their final three opponents boast a combined record of 5-11 in conference play.

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