Andrea Velgis, The Paisano
UTSA starting running back Jarveon Williams ran for a school-record 170 yards against the Colorado State Rams last Saturday, averaging 13.1 yards per carry — the second highest average in college football for the week — and scoring two touchdowns.
Starting quarterback Blake Bogenschutz added another 61 yards scrambling and the Roadrunners ended the day with 279 yards rushing, a number with which Head Coach Larry Coker was “very pleased”.
The run-heavy offense has been highly effective when executed correctly, extending the length of drives and tiring down defenses. After a solid performance through the first three games, the ground attack reached its full stride against the Rams.
Starting with a 13-yard touchdown run from freshman running back Jalen Rhodes on the opening drive, the run game accumulated first downs through the night behind an offensive line that is beginning to look ferocious.
“I feel much better with the offensive line,” said Coker. “I think that’s key. (Colorado State has) a really good defensive front.”
Along with 6’4, 260-pound tight end David Morgan II, UTSA has an extremely talented blocking core, and all the pieces came together during the 4th quarter when Williams exploded around the right corner for his record-setting 85-yard touchdown run.
“(The play) was a power (run); we run it a thousand times a week,” said Williams. “The safety kind of took a bad angle, and the rest is history.”
Fueled by Williams and Rhodes, UTSA’s run attack has compiled 685 yards rushing on 160 attempts through its first four games. Both runners have excellent vision on the field with the ability to change direction and maneuver around tacklers. Williams possesses a rocket speed that allows him to side step and run around defenders, while Rhodes uses his speed to explode straight through them.
Williams leads the team in rushing with 370 yards on 61 attempts and Rhodes is second with 124 yards on 26 attempts. Six of UTSA’s ten touchdowns have occurred on run plays; Williams and Rhodes account for five.
Quarterback play has also contributed to UTSA’s success on the ground this season. Blake Bogenschutz and Dalton Sturm have combined for 130 yards rushing on the year, and coaches are now implementing Sturm into the offense solely to run. He ran three quarterback keepers for 20 yards on Saturday after going for 47 yards on 10 attempts against Oklahoma State the week before.
“(He’s) got very good feet,” Coker said of Sturm. “I think Blake (Bogenschutz) played awfully well today, and Dalton (Sturm) came in and contributed to us. We’ll give him (Sturm) some more of the package.”
Bogenschutz has shown that he can escape pressure with his ability to scramble; he gained 27 yards and a rushing touchdown against Arizona in the season opener and rushed for multiple first downs against Colorado State, including one for 42 yards during the opening drive.
UTSA ran 34 run plays on Saturday as opposed to only 18 pass plays, and it was the most competitive game the team has played this season. Expect for the run game to remain dominant as the team enters its conference schedule.