By Craig Fields
UTSA Quarterback Eric Soza passed for 274 yards, rushed for 48 yards and two scores, and the UTSA Roadrunners beat the North Texas Mean Green 21-13 in an afternoon game last Saturday at Apogee Stadium.
The Roadrunners started the game on fire showing the UNT defense a couple of things that they had not really seen this year. The quarterback option and the wildcat formations were two offensive tactics that teams this season have not really used against the aggressive UNT defense. They both proved effective however as the UTSA Roadrunners would score first on their first possession to lead 7-0.
As far as scoring goes in the first half, that would be about it. The teams went through the tunnels at half time, the Roadrunners leading 7-3. The first half was full of missed chances for both teams, but especially for the Mean Green. Derek Thompson over threw three targets that would have easily been touchdowns. UTSA’s defense just seemed to have Thompson out of sorts all afternoon.
The second half, while proving to be more offensively driven, was equally just as frustrating as the first half if you were a Mean Green fan. The Roadrunners would go on to convert 14-20 third-downs in this game which fueled the frustration. The defense just could not get off the field when it counted. The usually stout defense of the Mean Green gave up 458 yards of total offense.
“We couldn’t get off the field on third down,” Coach Dan McCarney said. “They converted on too many third and long situations to sustain drives.”
Even though that is true, this game was not lost by the defense. The offense just could not seem to get much of anything going. The rushing attack of the Mean Green pinnacled at 105 yards. That will not get it done when this is a team that relies on its rushing ability. UNT is now 1-4 when held under 150 yards rushing. If that does not tell you how much running the ball is important to this team then nothing will.
Even though the Roadrunners pretty much dominated the entire game, Derek Thompson and the offense still had an opportunity at the end of the game to try and tie it up. With no time left on the clock, the Mean Green were given the chance by the refs who called a penalty on the Roadrunners for running onto the field early and disrupting play. Derek Thompson took the snap on UTSA’s two yard line and promptly threw an interception to the corner of the endzone when he actually had an open player flashing across the middle.
Coach McCarney knows that a loss like this can effect an entire team, now and in future games.
“We can’t let this game beat us next Saturday,” McCarney said. “We can’t let this loss beat us next Saturday against Tulsa. We have to pick ourselves up and go win a game next week. Tulsa was the preseason pick to win the conference. They’ve got a lot of talent. They’re capable of beating us.”
After every win McCarney normally says that they will enjoy it for 24 hours, and get back to work. Well I think that they should reflect on this game for 24 hours and then get back to work. Remember this feeling. They need to go out and give their best effort next week, because a repeat performance like this will not get it done against a talented Tulsa team.