Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Four up and four down, Runners still unbeaten

UTSA football

The Roadrunners football team dominated the visiting Northwestern Oklahoma State Rangers 56-3 in front of 25,742 fans on Saturday, Sept. 22. The 53 point triumph against the Rangers is the largest margin of victory in the program’s history, showcasing a program record 445 yards of total offense.

 UTSA’s best winning streak in program history was extended to five games, dating back to last season. Next week, the Runners will play their first game against a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) opponent. 

“This was a game we needed to win, and our coaches did a good job trying to keep things in order with the formations,” Head Coach Larry Coker said, “This was a game we needed to win convincingly with conference play next week.”  

The first half was controlled by UTSA on both sides of the ball. The Roadrunner offense found its momentum very early in game, facing little resistance from the Rangers.

Roadrunners quarterback Eric Soza launched an aerial assault with a 21-yard pass down the middle of the field to wide receiver Brandon Freeman. Soza’s next pass traveled 30 yards to tight end Cole Hubble, and the drive was completed with a three-yard run into the end zone by running back Evans Okotcha with 13:07 left in the first quarter.

UTSA offense caught their second wind at the 5:30 mark when running back David Glasco II sliced through the Rangers’ defense for a 51-yard run, positioning the Runners just 10-yards shy of the endzone. Okotcha punched in his second score of the day with 4:58 left in the first quarter. The Runners extended their lead 14-0. 

“It felt great; without my offensive line, the run is not there,” Glasco II said. “I was just blessed to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right guys blocking for me.”

The Roadrunner defense stood their ground throughout the opening quarter, preventing the Rangers from crossing midfield only once in the opening quarter. The defensive pressure never slacked throughout the game.

“When we come out, it’s a full on attack the whole time, you can’t let them have any room to breathe at all,” UTSA linebacker Blake Terry said. 

Less than two minutes after Okotcha’s second touchdown, sophomore safety Triston Wade made his mark, intercepting Rangers quarterback Kyle Jech’s pass for his fourth career interception. Wade returned the interception for 38 yards; UTSA’s third touchdown at the 3:21 mark. UTSA led 21-0. This season, the UTSA defense has led to 12 turnovers, nine of which have resulted in  seven touchdowns and two field goals.

“We’ll take as many points as the defense wants to give us,” Soza said. “You get that kind of momentum with this crowd, and it’s pretty tough for them to overcome.” 

The Roadrunners special teams brought the Alamodome crowd to their feet when kick returner Kenny Harrison returned a punt gaining 54-yards. With Harrison’s record setting 84-yard run against Georgia State and his performance this week, UTSA  special teams will become a force that their future opponents must reckon with.

“I’m having too much fun; it’s just something that I love to do. I give all the credit to my teammates for blocking for me,” Harrison said.

The Roadrunner offense maintained high gear in the second quarter as Glasco II tied Okotcha with a pair of  touchdowns. The first rushing score was orchastrated by a 19-yard pass from Soza to high-producing wide receiver Kam Jones at the end of the first quarter. Just six seconds into the second quarter, Glasco II broke through the Rangers defense to extend the UTSA lead to 28-0.

Glasco II quickly penetrated the endzone again with an 11-yard run and a dive over the orange pylon for his second touchdown of the day, and put the Runners further ahead with a commanding 35-0 lead, with 13:47 left in the half.

Soza maintained the fierce momentum going when he completed a 32-yard pass to Hubble for a touchdown strike.  The touchdown gave UTSA 42 points in the first half, the most points that UTSA has scored in a single half.

Before the end of the first half, fans witnessed the UTSA reserve players play when all the starters were pulled from the game. Second-string quarterback John Simmons dominated the Runner offense in the second quarter, demonstrating his skill by completeling all eight of his passes for 72 yards.

UTSA special teams exhibited their outstanding ability, as true freshman kick returner Aaron Grubb had a return of 54 yards in the third quarter, matching Harrison’s run earlier on the clock. His effort enabled running back Nate Shaw a one-yard rushing touchdown, with 10:12 left in the third quarter.

In the final quarter, third string-quarterback Ryan Polite grabbed the reigns from Simmons and orchestrated his own scoring drive. Polite drove the UTSA offense into the redzone once again for a two yard touchdown at the 7:15 mark, and put the final cherry atop the dominating 56-3 victory.

“We’re confident right now, but we’re not sa
tisfied, which is very important. We know that we are a pretty good football team,” Glasco II said. “At the same time, we have to understand that anybody can beat anybody on any day.”

Next week, the Roadrunners will face their first WAC opponent when the team travels to Las Cruces, New Mexico to face the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday, Sept. 29. 

“I’m tremendously excited to see how we measure up with the opponents in the WAC,” Terry said.

“It’s exciting because I want to challenge this team. We are a Division I team playing Division I competition, and it’s exciting to prepare for,” Coker said.

The Roadrunners will then travel to Houston to face Rice University on Saturday, Oct. 13 and will play their first home WAC football game against San Jose State on the following week on Oct. 20.  

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