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It was the 2014 home opener —four minutes and 43 seconds remaining in the first half. Following a stellar UTSA punt, Arizona’s offense took the ball from their own 2-yard line.

A bad snap hurled over Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon’s head and into the Roadrunner endzone for a safety. UTSA led Arizona 16-13, and the Alamodome crowd was going ballistic.

UTSA played its fiercest football that day, matching up evenly with the Pac-12 powerhouse all the way down the stat-line. The offense gained 23 first downs while controlling the ball six minutes longer than Arizona, and the game came down to the very last play.

Despite the Roadrunners’ efforts, the Wildcats held on for a three-point victory, 26-23.

UTSA didn’t recover from the heartbreaking loss, winning only three of their remaining 10 games following the Arizona loss in the 2014 season. The Roadrunners finished that year under .500, the first time since the program’s inaugural season.

This Thursday night, UTSA hopes to rewrite the novel in Tucson, Arizona, and start the 2015 campaign strong. This meeting will be the final of a three-year series in which the Wildcats lead 2-0. UTSA will go into Arizona Stadium as 31-point underdogs despite last year’s showing.

After graduating 37 seniors, UTSA filled every vacant roster spot with this year’s tremendous recruiting class.

“We’re bigger, stronger, and faster,” UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker claimed after Friday morning’s practice. “We’re a more talented team (now) than we were then.”

The Roadunners have depth at each position, and of the starters, only five are returning from last season. So UTSA students should expect to see several players get opportunities for playing time.

The biggest question marks lie on the defensive side of the ball as the Roadunners lost six of their top eight tacklers from last season, including defensive team captain — now Seattle Seahawk — Triston Wade.

The team’s biggest task will be containing Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon. A young defensive line will have to win upfront to slow down Arizona running back Nick Wilson, who racked up 174 yards in last year’s matchup.

As for the offense, Blake Bogenschutz, who won the offseason’s quarterback battle, assumes command as the starter. He played in three games last season, completing 22-of-39 passes before suffering a season-ending hand injury in the game against Florida International University.

He received a medical redshirt during the offseason, so it’s safe to assume Bogenschutz will be the offensive captain for the next few years.

The Roadunners also have a new starting running back, Jarveon Williams. The coaching staff is expecting great things from the junior.

“We should’ve won,” Williams simply stated, speaking on the Arizona loss from 2014.

Last year Williams rushed the ball 66 times for 325 yards, nearly 5 yards per carry. Also expect to see fellow running backs Tyrell Clay and Brian Vaughn get some carries.

Watch the Roadrunners kick off their 2015 season as they take on the Arizona Wildcats Thursday, September 3, 9 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks or listen live on The Ticket, AM channel 760.

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