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

Soza leads Roadrunners to fifth consecutive win Second place finish in C-USA West Division leaves UT


The UTSA Roadrunners (7-5, 6-2 C-USA) put an end to their so-called underdog season with an emphatic 30-10 win against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (4-8, 3-5 C-USA) at the Alamodome on Saturday, Nov. 30.

UTSA dominated most of the game, outgaining the Bulldogs 475 yards to 195, but Louisiana Tech had a chance to pull even after UTSA quarterback Eric Soza left the game in the second quarter with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

Soza, a senior playing his last game for the Roadrunners, refused to go out with an injury and instead chose to end his career on his own terms. The Beeville, Texas native displayed poise and grit, adding instant impact when he returned to the game.

The Roadrunners were ahead 17-10 heading into the third quarter when Soza returned. With a sense of pride and energy behind them, UTSA would score 13 unanswered points to end the game, eliminating any chance the Bulldogs had to come back. Soza would finish the game with 271 yards passing with one touchdown.

“He’s a tremendous leader, and he just didn’t want to miss anything,” UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker reflected after the game. “It rubs off on the rest of these guys. They feed off that and they know that.”

“Soza’s presence is definitely important,” senior running back Evans Okotcha commented about his fellow teammate and classmate. “When he’s on the field, he uplifts the whole team. As soon as he came back everything fell into place.”

Okotcha, also playing his final game, finished the season with back-to-back 100-yard games, ending his UTSA career on a high.

“I really can’t explain my emotions and what I was feeling,” said an emotional Okotcha after the game. “I’m just so happy to go out the way we did. It’s a true blessing. After struggling this year it was really nice to return to what I knew I could do. It really was a collective effort; I have to thank the offensive line and the coaching staff.”

In front of 26,549 fans that cheered on UTSA on Senior Day, the Roadrunners victory puts them at 6-2 in C-USA. UTSA needed the Rice Owls to lose to the Tulane Green Wave to get an opportunity to play in the C-USA Championship, but the Owls won 17-13 to improve to 9-3 and clinch first place in C-USA’s West Division.

With the odds of getting a bowl opportunity unlikely, Coker and Soza are still holding out hope that luck might fall their way.

“I don’t think we’re going to spring practice yet, but I think hopefully sometimes there is bowl opportunities,” said Coker. “I think all we can do is win. But I will say this: people would love to have us in a bowl game.”

“We put our case out there; whatever happens, happens,” Soza said when asked about the possibility of a bowl game. “But if this was our last game then I think it ended pretty well.”

The win over Louisiana Tech puts an end to the Roadrunners improbable season. UTSA had the 11th toughest schedule in the FBS and were predicted to finish last in C-USA.

“It’s been a great run this season. You never know, I read earlier that we had the 11th toughest schedule in the FBS and that we’d be lucky to win four games,” said Coker. “I told the team that if you learned anything from this season — don’t let people label you. Go out and be the best you can be, I think if we learned anything – that was it.”

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