Photo Credit: VIncente Cardenas
Two straight losses for any football team is by no means acceptable. The UTSA Roadrunners are no exception as they suffered a 38-13 loss on Saturday, Sept. 14, against the Arizona Wildcats.
UTSA has been unable to shake the small school label despite being competitive even in defeat.
“We’ve played two in a row now with Oklahoma State and Arizona. I’m proud of the effort our kids gave,” UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker said. “There are certainly some areas where we’ve got to play better.”
The Roadrunners at times have exceeded expectations in the program’s three seasons; however, the level of competition has started to reveal itself in the last two games.
UTSA made offensive strides against the No. 11 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys last Saturday, but the Roadrunners still allowed 56 points to be scored. UTSA followed up the loss with a difficult road game where the defense gave up 38 points to a Wildcat team who is now 3-0 to begin the season.
The Roadrunners racked up six penalties as a team for 65 yards against Arizona.
“We had some nonsense stuff that we have to put a stop to. I don’t blame the officials at all,” Coker said.
Saturday’s game also produced a rarity as senior quarterback Eric Soza was intercepted in the first quarter and fumbled on a run in the third, leading to 14 points for the Wildcats. Those, turnovers combined with a lack of forced turnovers, are something Coker is already addressing.
“It’s a real level of concern. It’s one of the reasons we won some games last year because we were able to win that takeaway battle,” Coker said.
Offensive guard Cody Harris, who has been with the program all three years as one of the first scholarship players to join the team, is one player tired of being labeled.
“They keep thinking that we are still this first year program. Sorry to say, but it does get a little annoying hearing that,” Harris said. “I have gone against them all. I have seen them all. I have played all sorts of competition. Honestly, they are just another team to me, another body to move around.”
What does make UTSA different is that everyone on the team and staff expects to win with no excuses.
“We have to deal with reality and we’re 1-2. We have good football players here. We’re going to have to be at our best to beat a lot of these teams down the road,” Coker said. “We have to realize what it takes to win and take that next step. I think we measure progress by wins, and we have to get some of that done.”
The Roadrunners face their first Conference USA team of the season on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. when they face the UTEP Miners in El Paso, TX. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.