The UTSA Roadrunners didn’t have the inaugural conference home game they expected. The San Jose State Spartans overwhelmed the ‘Runners early with an impressive passing attack and won 52-24 on Saturday, Oct. 20 before an announced crowd of 30,862 at the Alamodome. The Spartans scored 28 points in the first quarter alone and extended their lead to 31-0 before the Roadrunners finally put points on the board in the second quarter. The Roadrunners were overwhelmed by the Spartans’ play and looked discouraged after the disastrous opening quarter.
“They were a good football team,” Head Coach Larry Coker said. “There is a reason they only lost by three to Stanford. There is a reason they beat Navy. Give them credit.”
The Roadrunners helped the Spartans cause by turning the ball over six times, which resulted in 28 of the total points for the Spartans.
“This was a terribly bad football game for us,” Coker said. “We made a lot of mistakes.”
Redshirt-sophomore Ryan Polite was named the starting quarterback for the Roadrunners replacing an injured. Soza suffered a hip injury in last week’s game against Rice.
“It felt good to finally get on the field and play for my teammates,” Polite said. “I should have done better, the team should have done better.”
Regarding Soza’s injury Coker said he might miss more time than first thought.
“Hopefully we’ll have him back soon,” Coker said. “I don’t think we will have him back this week.”
The Roadrunners got a first down on their second play of the day, an improvement over last week’s game. Things went down hill when they were forced to punt to the Spartans.
The Spartans took advantage of their first possession when quarterback David Fales lobbed a pass over the Roadrunner secondary and found receiver Noel Grigsby open with nothing standing in his path to the endzone.
The Spartans scored another touchdown a little over two minutes later when backup quarterback Blake Jurich jogged into the endzone to put the Spartans up 14-0 with 6:59 left in the first quarter.
The Roadrunners took the field hoping to put some points on the board facing a manageable deficit. However, in the fifth play of the series, the Roadrunners fumbled the football and the Spartans recovered on the Roadrunner 36-yard line.
The Spartans then scored when Fales scorched the Roadrunner secondary a second time and completed a pass to running back Tyler Ervin open for a 36-yard touchdown.
Polite led the Roadrunners back onto the field with 63 yards between them but that offensive drive was stopped and the Roadrunners were forced to punt. Unfortunately, the snap sailed high over the head of Josh Ward and rolled into the endzone. The Spartans recovered the Roadrunners fumble for another touchdown and gave San Jose State a 28-0 lead.
The Roadrunners were desperate to retaliate offensively. Unfortunately for the demoralized Roadrunners, the Spartans defense forced another fumble and recovered the ball just 16 yards from the endzone. However, the UTSA defense held the Spartans to a field goal.
The Roadrunners started the next drive at their own 14-yard line. The fourth play was the ‘Runners most explosive, as running back Evans Okotcha caught a screen pass from Polite and sped down the Alamodome turf for a touchdown to put the Roadrunners on the board 31-7.
Okotcha wore number 21, instead of his usual number 36, in honor of his friend Jacob Logan, a football player at Coppell High School who died earlier this month on Oct. 14.
The woes for the Roadrunners continued on the ensuing kickoff when Ervin returned the kick 92 yards for another Spartans touchdown and gave San Jose State a 38-7 lead. The Roadrunners kicked a field goal before the half and trailed 38-10 at the intermission.
UTSA’s defense disrupted the San Jose’s offensive momentum and forced a Spartans fumble up the football on their first drive. The Roadrunners didn’t waste the opportunity when Kenny Harrison snatched Polite’s pass for a five-yard touchdown that made the score 38-17.
The Roadrunners stopped the Spartans on the next drive, but then fumbled it back to the Spartans who, in turn, put another touchdown on the board to go up 45-17.
The Roadrunners were forced to punt on their next possession but it didn’t go well, as the punt from the UTSA 12-yard line went out of bounds eight yards down field at the UTSA 20-yard line. Three plays later, the Spartans scored their final touchdown of the day. The Roadrunners scored one more touchdown in the final quarter that made the final score 52-24.
The Roadrunners will play at home next weekend when they face the Utah State Aggies to the Alamodome.