Tracy S. Gillett
Coming off a 45-14 defeat in College Station to Texas A&M (6-3), UTSA football saw their record fall to 3-5 for the 2019 season. The Roadrunners will look to bounce back as they visit Norfolk, Virginia, to take on the Old Dominion Monarchs (1-8). This will be the third all-time meeting between the ‘Runners and the Monarchs. The ‘Runners have never beaten Old Dominion, with their most recent meeting occurring in 2016, which ended in a 33-19 defeat in Norfolk.
Old Dominion comes into the game in free-fall, losers of their last eight games with their only win for the year coming in their opener against FCS Norfolk St. The ‘Runners will face an upcoming schedule which includes the leaders of Conference USA West, Louisiana Tech, and C-USA East, Florida Atlantic. This is an opportunity the ‘Runners must capitalize on to have a chance at a bowl game.
The ‘Runners’ ability to do so may hinge on the availability of quarterback Lowell Narcisse, who exited last week’s game against Texas A&M in the 3rd quarter with an injury to his non-throwing hand. After the game, coach Frank Harris was optimistic about Narcisse’s availability but would not fully commit to Narcisse playing against Old Dominion. Narcisse has been a bright spot in the ‘Runners’ offense since taking over for the injured Frank Harris, and he flashed his athletic talent against the Aggies, generating 144 yards of total offense and punching in a two-yard touchdown run. If Narcisse is unable to play, the ‘Runners will turn to redshirt freshman Jordan Weeks under center.
After a week in which the ‘Runners’ defense allowed 45 points and 505 yards of total offense from Texas A&M, they will look to right the ship against an Old Dominion offense that comes into the week ranked last in the nation in total offense, averaging 237.2 yards per game. Specifically, the ‘Runners’ rushing defense, which ranked 119th in the nation surrendering 217 yards on the ground per game, will face off against an Old Dominion rushing attack averaging only 89 yards a game which is good for only 125th in the nation. If Narcisse is able to suit up this week, he may be asked to continue to throw the ball down the field as he has done the last two weeks, since a stingy Old Dominion defense comes into the game only allowing 134.4 yards on the ground, which ranks 39th nationally. The ‘Runners enter the final third of their season ranked 122nd in the nation in passing, only averaging 141.9 yards per game — a number they look to improve on as they do not face a team the rest of the season ranked worse than 51st nationally against the run.
Broadcasting on ESPN 3, the ‘Runners will take on the Monarchs at Foreman Field on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m.