UTSA defeated their I-35 rivals Texas State in the first-ever football game, 31-38 in Alamodome on Saturday Nov. 24.  In the 2012 season finale, the Roadrunners compiled almost 300 yards on the ground, and sophomore wide receiver Kenny Harrison returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown. Harrison was also name the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Special Teams Player of the Week.   The Roadrunners ran a Bobcats defense that came into the game ranked 114th in the country against the run as UTSA Quarterback Eric Soza threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

After settling for a field goal from UTSA kicker Sean Ianno on the game’s opening drive the Runners’ defense held the Bobcats into a three-and-out, forcing Texas State to punt from their own 20 yard line. Linden native, Harrison, fielded the punt at his own 21 yard line before taking it all the way to the end zone in a play that put UTSA up 10-0 early and set the tone for the ‘Runners early in the game. UTSA never trailed in its final game, finishing the season at 8-4.

Texas State, known for its option-based offense and led by running back Marcus Curry, came into the game averaging 5.9 yards per rush. However, the Bobcats were never able to establish a ground game and were limited to just 2.1 yards per rush against the Roadrunners. Texas State finished the game with just 68 rushing yards, compared to 299 for UTSA. The Runners ground was led by Soza, who finished with 97 rushing yards and a touchdown, and by running backs Evans Okotcha (93 yards) and David Glasco II (68). 

“It probably was the difference in the game–being able to run the football,” UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker said after the win. “We weren’t able to run the ball much last year but this year we really stepped it up.”

The Bobcats responded to Harrison’s early touchdown by scoring on their ensuing possession, as Quarterback Shuan Rutherford hit Isaiah Battle deep for a 57 yard touchdown to bring the score to 10-7.

The Roadrunners struck back, however, when Soza threw his first of three touchdown passes to Tight End Cole on the Runners next drive to put UTSA ahead 17-7. 

A crowd of more than 39,000 showed up to the Alamodome to cheer on the Runners in their final game of the season. The Runners finished their second season of football with their first winning record and with a conference record of 3-3.

Rutherford scored from 2 yards out late in the second quarter to bring Texas State to within 3, but UTSA responded with an efficient two-minute drill that was capped by a 5 yard touchdown pass from Soza to Kenny Bias that put the Roadrunners up 24-14 going into halftime. 

As the Texas State Running Backs failed to get into a groove the Bobcats turned to their Quarterback in an attempt keep up with a Roadrunner offense that finished the game with 499 total yards of offense. Rutherford finished the game with 324 passing yards–119 to Battle–and led the Bobcats with 42 rushing yards with two scores through the air and one on the ground. However, Rutherford was sacked 5 times and was never able to get his team to within more than 7 points in the second half.

A crowd of more than 39,000 fans cheered on the ‘Runners in their final game of the season at the Alamodome on Nov. 24. UTSA beat Texas State, 31-38, in the first meeting between the I-35 rivals and finished the second season of Roadrunner football with their first winning record and a conference record of 3-3.

“We just went out there and busted our tails and came up with the win,” junior linebacker Kurfehs. “It’s a very special moment for us.”

UTSA compiled almost 300 yards on the ground, sophomore wide receiver and Linden Texas native Kenny Harrison returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown, and the Roadrunners ran a Bobcats defense that came into the game ranked 120th in the country against the run as UTSA quarterback Eric Soza threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

After settling for a field goal from sophomore kicker Sean Ianno on the game’s opening drive, the ‘Runners defense held the Bobcats into a three-and-out, forcing Texas State to punt from their own 20 yard line. Harrison fielded the punt at his own 21 yard line before taking it all the way to the end-zone in a play that put UTSA up 10-0 with 8:41 remaining in the quarter, setting the tone for the ‘Runners early in the game. UTSA never trailed in its final game, finishing the season at 8-4.

Texas State, known for its option-based offense and led by running back Marcus Curry, came into the game averaging 6.1 yards per rush. However, the Bobcats were never able to establish a ground game and were limited to just 2.1 yards per rush against the Roadrunners. Texas State finished the game with just 68 rushing yards compared to UTSA’s 299 yards. The ‘Runners were led on the ground by Soza, who finished with 97 rushing yards and a touchdown and by running backs Evans Okotcha (93 yards) and David Glasco II (68 yards). 

“It probably was the difference in the game–being able to run the football,” UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker said after the win. “We weren’t able to run the ball much last year but this yea
r we really stepped it up.”

The Bobcats responded to Harrison’s early touchdown by scoring on their ensuing possession, as senior quarterback Shaun Rutherford completed a pass to junior wide receiver Isaiah Battle deep for a 57 yard touchdown, bringing the score to 10-7.

The Roadrunners struck back, however, when Soza threw his first of three touchdown passes to tight end Cody Cole on the ‘Runners’ next drive to put UTSA ahead, 17-7. 

Rutherford scored from two yards late in the second quarter to bring Texas State to within three, but UTSA responded with an efficient two-minute drill that was capped by a five yard touchdown pass from Soza to freshman wide receiver Kenny Bias that put the Roadrunners up 24-14 going into halftime. 

As the Texas State running backs failed to get into a groove, the Bobcats turned to quarterback Rutherford in an attempt to keep up with a Roadrunner offense that finished the game with 499 total yards. Rutherford finished the game with 324 passing yards–119 to Battle–and led the Bobcats with 42 rushing yards, with two scores through the air and one on the ground. However, Rutherford was sacked five times and was never able to get his team to within more than seven points of the ‘Runners in the second half.

Each of Soza’s touchdown passes were to a different receiver. However, the quarterback from Beeville, Texas struggled through the air all day, only managing to complete just 50 percent of his passes. Soza also had two interceptions in the second half, allowing Texas State to keep the score close. 

Despite the accumulation of 499 yards of total offense, the ‘Runners were hampered throughout the game by penalties. UTSA finished the game with 13 penalties, good for 143 yards. 

“We had some foolish penalties,” Coker admitted of his young team, which played only six seniors in orange and blue for their final game on Saturday.

However, the veteran coach went on to praise his squad’s maturity, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. “Last year that probably wouldn’t have happened,” Coker said.

One of the biggest stops of the game for the Roadrunners came shortly after halftime. The Bobcats received the kickoff, but in their second play, scrimmage safety Cody Berry forced a fumble on Rutherford to give the Runners the ball at the Texas State 30 yard line. Moments later, Soza ran the ball two yards into the end-zone to give UTSA a 31-14 lead.

However, poor passing by Soza kept Texas State in the game during the third quarter, as the Roadrunner quarterback was picked off by the Bobcats on back to back possessions. Texas State converted the turnovers into a field goal by Will Johnsons and a touchdown by Curry to close the gap to 31-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

“Give Texas State credit,” Soza said. “They fought the whole way.”

Despite their efforts, the Bobcats could not overcome the deficit in the fourth quarter after Soza hit tight end Jeremiah Moeller for a 34 yard touchdown to give the ‘Runners a 38-24 advantage. UTSA defense forced the Bobcats into a three-and-out on their next possession, but Texas State responded by intercepting Cam Jones on UTSA’s next possession before Rutherford completed a pass to wide receiver Brandon Smith for a touchdown with 1:40 left in the game to bring the Bobcats to within seven points, 38-31.

However, that proved to be the final score, prompting the UTSA student section to rush the field.

The celebration took an unexpected turn when Soza walked into the stands to propose to his girlfriend, who said yes to her high school sweetheart.

“She must be crazy,” Soza joked after the game.

The victory capped off the first winning season for the Roadrunners, whose 3-3 record in conference play was good for fourth place in the WAC in just UTSA’s second season.

“Being 8-4 is well deserved,” Coker said. “This one is very special because of the rivalry and the atmosphere and the dome today.”

“Give credit to the coaches,” said Kurfehs. “They came up with a great scheme. UTSA’s game plan worked to perfection.”

UTSA football will join Conference USA for its third season next fall.

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