With 25,931 fans attending UTSA’s homecoming game, the Roadrunners record-setting home victory was a testament to the difficult battles they have faced all in their inaugural Conference USA season.
In a season full of first-time experiences, the UTSA Roadrunners (3-5, 2-2 C-USA) finally had a chance to celebrate one of those firsts. The Roadrunners tallied a program record 523 total yards on offense in a 52-31 win over the UAB Blazers (2-5, 1-2 C-USA) Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Alamodome.
UTSA displayed a tenacious defense and consistent offense that helped build a 28-point lead at the half, and the Roadrunners never looked back as they ended a three-game losing streak.
“This was a much needed win for us, and we did get back on track,” UTSA head coach Larry Coker said. “A year ago, we kind of had a little losing streak in the middle of the schedule, and the guys really finished up strong. I think they have a chance to do that again.”
The first quarter may have been the best UTSA has played this season as they scored 24 points with three touchdowns and a field goal. The defense kept the Blazers scoreless in the first quarter. The Roadrunners scored on all six of their first half possessions while forcing two turnovers on the defensive side.
On the Blazer’s first possession, UTSA junior safety Nic Johnston intercepted a pass, leading to a 5-play, 33-yard drive by the Roadrunners that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by junior Kam Jones. Jones, who has three rushing touchdowns this season, added a little extra excitement when he front-flipped into the end zone to avoid the tackle.
“It feels good. It’s about time,” Johnston said after the game. “We’ve been close all season to getting takeaways, and we knew as soon as we got one we were going to get a few. We should’ve had four. We got three and it was about time to make a play. We’ve been working on it all week.”
UAB started out the second quarter with a drive that ended in a 50-yard field goal for the Blazers to put their first points on the scoreboard. But UTSA’s offensive momentum carried into the second quarter as they scored twice, once on a 17-yard pass from senior quarterback Eric Soza to junior Earon Holmes and then on a 27-yard run by Jones. The Blazers would add a touchdown between the two UTSA scores, but UAB still trailed by a large margin heading into the second half.
UTSA dominated the first half on the ground and totaled 331 offensive yards.
“We are focused on us. You know we probably set those records, but we know eventually down the road that won’t be good enough,” Coker said about the record-setting performance. “We are happy we did well, but we’re going to have to build off of this. Being satisfied is one of the worst things you can do. That’s the first step in failure, and so we are happy that we did that, but we’re going to build off that and get better and better as the year goes on.”
This second half proved more difficult for the Roadrunners as the UAB defense sharpened, and their offense scored 21 points against UTSA. But UTSA capped the day with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Soza to running back Brandon Armstrong that put UTSA up 52-17.
“We were all on the same page today,” Coker stated. “We played fast. The protection we had was outstanding. I felt good about our preparation. Football is a mental game, and when Johnston first intercepted the ball, it got our whole team pumped. It was a very big game. I’m very happy for our players.”
The Roadrunners have four conference games left to proclaim a winning season. Next up is a road game with the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (2-5, 1-2 C-USA) on Saturday, Nov. 2. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.