In a wild and hard-fought game, UTSA picked up their first conference win of the 2014 season. The Roadrunners managed to pull out the victory while being down to their third string quarterback after Blake Bogenschutz joined an injured Tucker Carter on the sidelines after fracturing his throwing hand following a couple of hard hits. Despite drawing even in conference play, UTSA will need to address several glaring issues if they hope to compete against Louisiana Tech in Ruston this weekend.
While Austin Robinson turned in the best performance we've seen from a UTSA quarterback this season the freshman certainly had some passes that were caught despite being off the mark. Robinson threw a little wide and out of stride on several occasions but he was able to identify open receivers, often after plays had broken down. It is possible that Robinson will be able to more appropriately place his passes after a few more starts as the game continues to slow down for him mentally. It's hard to rag on Robinson too hard after such an eye-opening debut. You can read more about his outing in the precursor to this article.
The coaches certainly deserve credit for putting Austin Robinson in a great position to succeed but there were some real head scratch-inducing play calls for UTSA including a decision to punt on fourth and a millimeter from the UTSA 49 yard line. The ensuing punt would travel just 22 yards. Perhaps more egregious was a called quarterback sneak on second down from the three yard line. I don't think I've seen a QB sneak go for more than a yard outside of pee wee ball. After a poor pitch on an option on third down, UTSA would lose six yards on the red zone series before hitting a game-tying field goal.
UTSA failed to develop a consistent running game yet again. Jarveon Williams had eight carries for ten yards (1.2 YPC) and David Glasco had nine carries for four yards (0.4 YPC). The offensive line deserves much of the blame for this terrible output as both running backs were constantly ducking away from FIU defenders in the backfield. I would like to see the staff employ the pistol formation more often. The offset one back formation that the staff has been using on most downs is slow developing and allows the opposing defense more time to fight past the UTSA offensive line.
Penalized eight times for 71 yards, UTSA committed some stupid penalties yet again. The Roadrunners gifted the Panthers with three free first downs and wiped out a 55 yard touchdown off a Jarveon Williams screen pass. This has been a recurring problem for UTSA. The Roadrunners are currently tied for 36th most penalties per game in FBS, good for the 30th most penalty yards per game. I don't know if anyone out there logs number of yards lost due to plays called back due to penalties but I feel confident that UTSA would be one of the best (worst?) in the country in that category. They'll need to play a cleaner game against Louisiana Tech if they want to win the western division of Conference USA.
After a four game losing streak this win was much needed for UTSA as the Roadrunners will be able to stay in contention for a conference title and maintain bowl eligibility. It did come at a price though. After losing quarterback Blake Bogenschutz, freshman free safety Nate Gaines fractured a collarbone that will keep him out of action for four weeks. Defensive tackle Brian Price was also lost for the game after an unknown injury to his shoulder. Special teams contributor Drew Johnson was also on crutches on the sideline with his knee heavily bandaged. These injuries are particularly troubling since UTSA's week eight opponent Louisiana Tech is coming off of a bye week and will have several injured players returning back to the turf. Be sure to check back for more coverage of this key Conference USA match up throughout the week.