Vicente Cardenas /The Paisano
UTSA’s four-game losing streak finally ended Saturday night as senior kicker Sean Ianno hit two field goals during the final minutes of the game to lead the Roadrunners to a 16-13 win against the Florida International University Panthers. The victory came in front of a roaring homecoming crowd of over 25,000 at the Alamodome.
The Roadrunners saw backup quarterback and redshirt freshman Austin Robinson take the reins after true freshman quarterback Blake Bogenschutz went down with a hand injury late in the first quarter. Robinson’s first few series started slow, but eventually he found a rhythm that got the offense rolling.
“Coach (Coker) always says ‘be ready’,” explained Robinson. “I prayed a little bit on the sideline, I got the defense with me, I got the offense with me, Coach Brown and Coach Coker behind me, and finally I was able to settle down and relax and allow the game to come to me.”
Robinson would end his night completing 14 of 17 passes and no interceptions. He racked up 144 yards through the air and another 64 rushing on the ground. Robinson proved to be an effective pocket passer, but it was his quickness on the run that stole the show.
Robinson torched the Panthers’ defense with a 37-yard run in the second quarter, setting the Roadrunners up in FIU territory. The play would eventually lead to a two-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Jarveon Williams.
With time running out, Robinson completed a 27-yard pass to senior running back Brandon Armstrong. Although the drive stalled in the red zone after the catch, it was good enough to set up Ianno for a game-tying field goal.
When asked about his thoughts on Robinson’s performance, Coker had this to say: “I’m very proud of Austin. He’s an exceptional young man and a good student. For him to step in with limited experience and do what he did and how he did it, you can’t say enough about that. He did a phenomenal job and our guys really rallied around him.”
The Roadrunners’ defense also stepped up in a big way.
The Birds caused two interceptions and a UTSA-record five fumbles. Senior defensive end Robert Singletary led the way with 10 total tackles with a career-high three sacks. He also recorded 4.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles – both UTSA single-game records.
“We played pretty well on defense,” explained Singletary. “We just had an overall good effort. We usually try to go out there and play hard-hat defense, and today, we were able to do that.”
Senior safety Triston Wade also had a great night, racking up 11 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception.
Junior safety Duke Wheeler came to the rescue, recovering a fumble by FIU’s return team to set up Ianno for the game winning kick with only 50 seconds left in regulation.
“I’ve never been more proud of a team,” explained an emotional Coker. “It was a hard-fought victory. I told them to find a way to win…and somehow, we found a way. I can’t say enough about our football team and our coaching staff. We sure needed a win to get our mojo back, our energy back and our belief back. We’ve got many more tough games to play, but this one gives us a jump-start.”
With the win, the Roadrunners improve to 2-4 overall on the year, and 1-1 in C-USA play. UTSA’s next test will come on the road against Louisiana Tech (3-3, C-USA 2-0) next Saturday, Oct. 18 at 11 a.m.