The University of Texas at San Antonio’s football program is a brand new entering the 2016 season! With an entirely revamped sideline, it’s hard to predict what we can expect from Frank Wilson’s Roadrunners.
Wilson was assigned as the head coach position in early 2016. The type of environment UTSA has for its football fever is nothing compared to what Wilson was used to seeing back at Louisiana State University (LSU). After UTSA is coming off of a dismal 3-9 record, most people will probably continue to rule out the team from competing in C-USA West. That 3-9 record, however, is somewhat deceiving. Of UTSA’s nine losses, four of them ended in a one-possession difference. Not to mention, five of the them were within ten points and, in most of those, UTSA opted to punt instead go for the gold in the final five minutes. With that in mind, the Roadrunners could have one turn around season to remember this year.
The season opener is finally back home in the Alamodome! This is the first time since the program’s 2011 inaugural game. UTSA has more than enough to look forward to with Wilson who is the hot new coach, and you’ve got a home crowd that’s going to bring some thunderous noise. The Alabama State Hornets finished 6-5 last season, placing second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division. This game should be a good showing for UTSA and while it may or may not be a coming-out party for Wilson’s Roadrunners, the team has more than enough talent to put some serious damage on A-State. If the last home opener gives any indication, Roadrunner fans will have a whole lot to be excited about after this one.
UTSA is immediately back on the road and it’s only fair that they bring back a win for the city of San Antonio. This will be the first road test for Wilson and this is one of the most intriguing matchups on the schedule as they face the Colorado State Rams. Last year, the Rams came to the Alamodome and narrowly escaped UTSA by two points. Given that fact, it’s safe to assume the Roadrunners won’t let history repeat itself and compete until the end in one of the last games at Hughes Stadium, the Rams’ home since 1968. However, the team has a history of not faring well on the road and in what most people expect to be a shootout similar to last year. UTSA has the opportunity to make a statement and add some grit and grind to the team’s developing identity.
UTSA’s next opponent on their schedule is the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils finished the 2015 regular season at 6-6. This will be the first matchup between the two teams. There is a significant number of people that are Roadrunner Faithful members and their mothers can tell you how close UTSA was to tasting glory in their last two matchups against rival-school Arizona. The biggest task UTSA has yet to accomplish is winning a game against a Power-5 Conference school. This will possible be the game that changes that streak. UTSA will come home and play some of the hardest football we’ve ever seen from them, matching the Sun Devils on both sides of the ball and capable of pulling off a victory in the closing minutes.
UTSA came up just short against the Old Dominion Monarchs at home last year, losing 36-31, after failing to convert on two fourth downs in the redzone in the final five minutes of play. ODU’s pass game put quite the number on UTSA’s secondary, but with the Roadrunners premier defenders returning this year, it won’t be that easy. This game is vital to UTSA’s success, not only because it’s the first conference matchup of the season, but also because it may forecast how the Roadrunners are going to fare on the road for the rest of the season.
Southern Mississippi is currently the class of C-USA West, and rightfully so due to the success they have had the past couple of seasons. They finished 7-1 in conference last season, represented the division in the championship game, and for a while held their own against Western Kentucky pretty well. When the Roadrunners visited Hattiesburg last year, Southern Miss reckoned the Road Runners 32-10. Given that this game is in San Antonio and UTSA now has former-Southern Miss assistant Pete Golding at the defensive helm, it won’t be a walk in the park for the Golden Eagles this time around. However, USM will still be a force that is tough to reckon with this year.
Last year’s silver lining was UTSA defeating in-state conference rival Rice for the very first time in its history. The once-dominant C-USA force in Rice suddenly collapsed last season, finishing 5-7 overall and 3-5 in conference. They didn’t just lose games last year, though, they were defeated in ugly fashion. With Rice’s defense ranking among the nation’s worst, UTSA should take full advantage of this game and use it to ignite their season.
Last year’s lightning-palooza was one the craziest games UTSA has ever played. After two weather delays, the Roadrunners’ “Hard Hat Defense” eventually mauled the Miners 25-6, giving away a trash-time touchdown to forfeit the homecoming shutout. The UTEP Miners would go on to have the same record as Rice: 5-7 overall and 3-5 in conference. Neither team will need to worry about the weather being a factor in this game as the Roadrunners kick off a two-game home stand in San Antonio.
UTSA suffered a nightmare in Denton last Halloween. The mean green of North Texas received their first win of the season against the Roadrunners, 30-23, in a game that carried all attributes of a true rivalry. There were big hits, insane turnovers, clutch scoring, and a packed visitors section. UNT seemed to do exactly what they had to against UTSA, but only displayed such ferocity in that single game. In what was otherwise a broken season, the Mean Green finished a pitiful 1-11 but defeated UTSA for the first time in school history. Technically, it can’t be a rivalry unless both sides win some and lose some. There’s no doubt that the Roadrunners still have a terribly sour taste in their mouths and it’s a given they won’t take this one lightly.
Unfortunately, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) embarrassed UTSA in the last game of season, 42-7. The Blue Raiders have proven to be contenders in C-USA, finishing last year with 6-2 conference record. UTSA wasn’t the only team they crushed, either. The Roadrunners are looking to riding high after a clean sweep of C-USA Texas and when they pay a visit to MTSU expect the two teams to have a possible shoot out.
Louisiana Tech is another dominant conference team. They finished 9-4 and 6-2 in conference last season, but only after narrowly escaping UTSA in the Alamodome, 34-31. The Bulldogs finished the game by converting a 32-yard field goal with ten seconds remaining to outlast Dalton Sturm’s four touchdown passes. In what will be the second of a three-game road trip, it’s imperative the Roadrunners pull out a victory this time around. Assuming the Bulldogs find an answer at QB, LA Tech will yet again have one of the most explosive offenses in the conference. This could be considered another challenging game for UTSA’s road schedule.
This matchup is going to be the most exciting of UTSA’s short history. Finally, the Roadrunners have played enough football to take the field with the state’s top dogs and on the turf of Texas lore at that. The Texas A&M Aggies are one of the most unpredictable programs in college football. Quarterbacks don’t want to play for them and right when you think the team has something going they seem to drop the ball. That said, they’re still in the SEC, the best conference in college ball by a full head and shoulders. This will also be undoubtedly the most hostile environment the Roadrunners have ever walked into. Kyle Field will have UTSA’s eardrums completely numb, and considering it’s one of the last games of the season, A&M will be in full stride come Thanksgiving week. Though UTSA might not win this game it’ll be an experience for the ages for Road Runner fans.
The Charlotte 49ers are the new kids on the block in C-USA, but still managed to tussle with UTSA last season. The Roadrunners managed to send the game into overtime in the final seconds and pull-out the program’s first-ever OT win on the road in Charlotte. With this game taking place in San Antonio, expect the Roadrunners to put a hurting on them with their first bowl berth on the line.
The Roadrunners will reach another milestone and get invited to their first bowl in school history. Frank Wilson’s tenure will start with immediate success and the program will launch into conference championship contention.
If you’re excited about what UTSA football has to bring this upcoming fall, don’t miss out to purchase your football tickets online at Zeronosebleeds.com. Don’t wait until the end and purchase tickets to all of the games UTSA will play at the Alamodome in San Antonio.