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

Ranking the five best games of UTSA’s football season

Stephen Saenz

UTSA’s inaugural year in the American Athletic Conference will be an exciting time for Roadrunner fans. Football has gotten most of the spotlight in terms of media attention, which is fair, considering the ‘Runners are coming off back-to-back Conference USA titles. 

With the start of the campaign in the AAC happening last weekend, now is a great time to rank the five best games on UTSA’s schedule. 

#5 – UTSA at Florida Atlantic

Florida Atlantic was one of the teams that joined the AAC alongside UTSA this year. Despite the Owls having a disappointing 2022 record of 5-7 overall, there seems to be a great amount of optimism within their football program. 

Former UT head coach Tom Herman has joined FAU in the same role and will look to catapult the program into the same line of success as their basketball team, who just recently made the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Herman will look to implement his spread offense and get the most out of the quarterback position, with another former Longhorn in Casey Thompson transferring last spring. 

With a veteran offensive line and a borderline 1000-yard rusher in Larry McCammon back for another season, Thompson will have some options to work with and could give UTSA a run for their money if he is not properly pressured. While defense is still an issue for FAU, it still has plenty of veterans on the roster that could give the Roadrunners problems. With a new era beginning for the Owls, this game is officially a trap game for UTSA. 

#4 – Texas State at UTSA

The I-35 Rivalry is back in football for the first time since 2020, with both programs going in completely different directions since then. UTSA has gone on to dominate Conference USA and get a move to the AAC, while Texas State has struggled in recent years and is looking to regain relevance in college football. 

Things may just be looking up for the Bobcats with new head coach G.J. Kinne coming in from Incarnate Word. Kinne will have the task of awaking a sleeping giant of sorts and bringing them back into the Sun Belt Conference title picture. Kinne is touted as one of the most underrated young offensive minds in all of college football. Texas State hit the transfer portal heavily and brought in some major players, with quarterback Malik Hornsby coming in from Arkansas and a whole host of players coming from Incarnate Word. 

Texas State still has questions defensively, but linebackers Jordan Revels and Derrick Brown will do the heavy lifting. This could be a game much closer than anyone expects, as the hatred between both schools always fuels a great matchup. 

#3 – UTSA at Tennessee

Undoubtedly the biggest name on the schedule, Tennessee had a roller coaster season in 2022. From beating Alabama and LSU, to knocking off Clemson in the Orange Bowl, to losing in a blowout against underdogs South Carolina, the Volunteers went through all the emotions last season. Now, heading into 2023 and another season under offensive guru head coach Josh Heupel, the orange and white are set to have another great season. 

They are by far the toughest opponent on UTSA’s schedule, even being ranked No. 12 in the first edition of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Joe Milton III will be the big name that leads this offense and, despite losing star receiver Jalen Hyatt to the NFL, they still have players like Squirrel White and Bru McCoy that will be extremely productive. 

The biggest issue for Tennessee is their passing defense, which was ranked 127 out of all Division I schools in 2022. With UTSA’s plethora of options at the receiver position and Frank Harris at quarterback, the ‘Runners could cause the Volunteers serious problems in this game. 

#2 – UTSA at Houston

A sense of deja vu is a common feeling in this rivalry. When Houston opened TDECU Stadium in August 2014, its first-ever opponent was none other than the Roadrunners. UTSA played party-pooper and beat the Cougars 27-7. Now, Houston has another inaugural game at the stadium, but this time it will be their first game as a member of the Big 12 Conference. 

The Roadrunners will look to enact revenge after last season’s triple overtime defeat in the Alamodome. The lead up to the game got nasty, and it has been the same for this year’s edition.

 Houston has lost some big time playmakers on offense, including quarterback Clayton Tune and receiver Tank Dell. The Cougars have reloaded though, with Texas Tech transfer Donavan Smith coming in as the projected starting quarterback. Houston’s best player is not a flashy position, but an important one in offensive tackle Patrick Paul, who looks set to be on many NFL teams’ radars this upcoming draft. Houston will not want a sour start to its new conference, but UTSA would oh so love to spoil their party yet again. 

#1 UTSA at Tulane

Many preseason polls were having a hard time picking which of these two teams would win the AAC. Tulane is the reigning conference champion after a remarkable season which included knocking off USC in the Cotton Bowl. Eight year head coach Willie Fritz finally found the formula to success last season after a dismal few years for the program. 

The fan base in New Orleans will always support their team, especially when they are winning ball games. It will be an extremely difficult venue to play for UTSA, and that’s just speaking about the fans. The product on the field is extremely good, with the defensive secondary being one of the most underrated in the country. 

A key element for Tulane is that they have four out of five starting offensive lineman coming back, including LSU transfer Cameron Wire, who was a spot starter for the Tigers over four years. This will be an extremely difficult game for UTSA, but if they play like they are projected to, we will have an amazing game to end the regular season.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Connor Suehs
Connor Suehs, Staff Writer
Connor (he/him) is a junior communication major at UTSA. This semester is Connor's first at The Paisano. Connor covers UTSA Athletics and the San Antonio Missions, as well as the Austin Spurs for the Project Spurs Network and high school football for Texas Sports Productions. He loves to shine a spotlight on the power of sports within our society. Aside from writing, Connor's hobbies are playing video games, hanging out with friends and watching sports.
Stephen Saenz
Stephen Saenz, Photographer

Stephen is a first-year mechanical engineering major with a minor in business administration. Stephen is from McAllen, TX, but has lived in San Antonio for about 9 years now. This is his first-year shooting for The Paisano, however, Stephen has loved film and photography since he was around 10-11 years old and has actively been pursuing freelance photography for about a year now. While photograph is not his major, Stephen is currently focused on growing his name in the industry by focusing on his photography business, however, if it’s not editing or taking photos, he is either listening to music, watching movies, in a coffee shop or finding a good spot to eat. Stephen is a part of other organizations like Engineers Without Borders and works for a non-profit in San Antonio called Kinetic Kids.

Comments (0)

The Paisano intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Paisano does not allow anonymous comments, and The Paisano requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Paisano Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *