2013 Pre-Season Preview: UTSA Roadrunners

2012 Record: 8-4 (3-3 in WAC)

Head Coach: Larry Coker (12-10 at UTSA, 72-25 All-Time

Stadium: Alamodome in San Antonio, TX (capacity = 65,000)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 23rd out of 55 mid-major teams

Affiliation: Joins Conference USA for 2013 season

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Out of Conference: 8/31 at New Mexico, 9/7 vs Oklahoma St, 9/14 at Arizona, 9/28 vs Houston

Toughest Conference Home Games: 10/12 vs Rice, 11/30 vs Louisiana Tech

Toughest Conference Road Games: 10/5 at Marshall, 11/2 at Tulsa


Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stat to Fear: scored TDs on just 51.35% of trips to the red zone

Stats to Cheer: +1.20 turnover margin per game (1st in WAC), converted 45.45% of third downs (1st in WAC)

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 118th out of 124 teams



Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 10, Defense: 9, Special Teams: 2

Key Defensive Returnees: LB Steven Kurfehs (56 solo tackles, 5.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks), S Triston Wade (59.5 solo tackles, 4 INT, 7 PBU, 4 forced fumbles)

Key Offensive Returnees: QB Eric Soza (2085 yds pass, 20 TD, 3 INT), RB David Glasco II (410 yds rush, 4.4 ypc, 5 TD), RB Evans Okotcha (359 yds rush, 8 rush TD, 23 rec)

UTSA went 2-0 last year against FCS opponents and 2-0 against Division II opponents on their way to an 8-4 season. They also won two games against FBS new arrivals Texas State and South Alabama. Going 8-4 is nothing to sneeze at for a team that just started competition in 2011 but the road will not be so easy this season.
Eric Soza is very solid at QB. Last season he threw 20 TD against only 3 INT. It will be interesting to see how he performs against better competition. He didn't play in their toughest two games (Utah St and San Jose State) and he struggled a bit against Rice and Texas State although they did beat Texas State by seven. The top two RBs, David Glasco II and Evans Okotcha, both return and Okotcha is a dual threat as he also led the Roadrunners in receptions last season. The top two receivers, Kam Jones and Earon Holmes, both return although neither caught over 25 balls. The OL brings back four of five starters as well as five players who have started at least seven games.
The defense finished with 23 sacks but when you dive a bit deeper you see that only 16 of those came against FBS/FCS opponents and 10 of those 16 came in two games (NMSU and Texas State). There were six games where the Roadrunners had 0 or 1 sack. They were actually pretty good against the run but the opposite against the pass. The DL needs to see improvement this year. They return six of their top eight players so the experience is there, now they just need improved production from a veteran group of players. The LB corps losses Brandon Reeves but Blake Terry should be able to replace him at the MIKE position but also keep an eye on JUCO transfer Jens Jeters. Steven Kurfhs returns at the HAWK position in the 4-2-5. He's the leader of the defense and could also see time at the DAWG (LB/Safety hybrid) position. The Roadrunners lose only one contributor in the secondary and the Roadrunners also recruited heavily here in 2013 (bringing in seven recruits at either CB or S). The defense has the experience but it's tough to tell how good they will be this year based on last years schedule. They played three offenses that finished in the top thirty in scoring last season and they gave up at least 48 points to each one of those teams. The only FBS teams they held under 30 points were Idaho (ranked 123rd in scoring offense) and New Mexico State (ranked 114th in scoring offense). The defense is going to have a lot to prove this year and it will be against tougher competition.
This year the schedule will pick up as the Roadrunners will play four of the top 15 scoring offenses in FBS from last season (Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma State, Marshall and Arizona). Some of their "easier" games (New Mexico, UTEP, North Texas) are on the road. Because of the ease of the schedule last season this team is one of the biggest wild cards in college football. Athlon goes as far as predicting them to go 1-11 overall and 1-7 in the conference. While I could see a scenario like that play out I think the experience of this team will help out and they will be able to put up some W's. They do have Houston, UAB and Tulane at home as well as New Mexico, UTEP and North Texas on the road so those are all winnable games. I'm going to put the Roadrunners win total at three but wouldn't be surprised to see them finish with two or more wins or losses in either direction.

Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:

MWC- Air ForceSDSU
The American- HoustonMemphisTempleUCFUSF
Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section and founder of College Football Zealots