With the UTSA Roadrunners’ 2017 season wrapped up with a 6-5 record, it’s time to take a look back at the season that was. It certainly felt like a season of missed opportunity as the chance to play for a conference championship was right in front of UTSA, losing only one conference game by more than one score. A senior-laden offense fell very flat over the span of the season, culminating in a failure to score a touchdown in the final two games of the season.
Disappointment aside, the Roadrunners still have plenty to hang their hat on this year. Their defense was among the very best in the entire nation and the team brought home their first winning record since the 2013 season. Let’s hand out a few unofficial honors to the team — be sure to hop in the comments to let me know where you disagree with my selections.
Offensive MVP - Dalton Sturm
2,185 passing yards, 62% completion, 15 TDs, five INTs, 545 rushing yards, two rushing TDs.
Senior quarterback Dalton Sturm turned in a very strong season on the stat sheet but his redeeming presence on the offense was immeasurable. Given how poor the offense was as a whole, Sturm was often forced to take heroic measures to keep drives alive by scrambling out of the pocket and sacrificing his body for first downs.
Sturm’s impact on this team was best shown in the season opener against Baylor where Sturm ran for 98 yards, including a long of 40. He was incredibly efficient through the air, going 15-20 for 155 yards and two touchdowns. It often felt like Sturm was handcuffed by UTSA’s pro-style offense but when he was allowed to shine he played like one of the top quarterbacks in the conference.
There’s no doubt Sturm had his limitations but he ends his career as, in my opinion, the best quarterback to take the field for UTSA in their short history.
Defensive MVP - Marcus Davenport
55 tackles, 17.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, four pass break ups, eight quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery, three forced fumbles.
Well this was an easy decision. Not only did Davenport turn in the best single-season performance for a UTSA player ever, he also cements himself as the best player to ever don the orange and navy. Davenport will be UTSA’s first player to play in the senior bowl and will likely be drafted somewhere between rounds one and four of the NFL draft depending on his performance at the NFL combine.
Always a disruptive pressure off the edge, Davenport took his game to an entirely new level this year after packing on the pounds and learning how to fully utilize his hands as a defensive lineman. Davenport developed his ability as a run defender from being a complete liability to offenses running as far away from him as possible. Sometimes that still wasn’t enough to stop him from creating a play behind the line of scrimmage.
Davenport is a freak of nature as an athlete, as shown by his ability to lock up running backs in pass coverage when they ran routes out of the backfield. It will be a long time before UTSA fans are treated to another player this talented.
Special Teams MVP - Jared Sackett
19-22 field goals, 23-24 point after attempts, 80 points scored.
Given UTSA’s general inability to cross the goal line on offense, Sackett’s contributions as a true freshmen were an absolute blessing. Sackett was efficient, knocking in 86.4% of his field goal attempts. Converting five of seven attempts from 40 to 50 yards out, Sackett gave UTSA’s kicking game a level of leg strength they haven’t seen since Sean Ianno was UTSA’s placekicker. The freshman has impressive height on his kicks which helps prevent his attempts from being blocked at the line of scrimmage. It’s clear UTSA is in very good shape in the placekicking department for the next few years.
Newcomer of the Year - Dominic Pastucci
One of the biggest storylines of the year for UTSA was the rough string of injuries they suffered along the offensive line. The brightside of that misfortune is that Pastucci was thrown straight into the fire as a true freshman and played better than anyone could have realistically expected. He certainly had his struggles and gave up a few unmarked blitzers but his contributions at his age while playing multiple positions is incredibly rare. Competition will be tense for starting spots along the offensive line next year but Pastucci figures to be a fixture along the UTSA offensive line for the next three years.
Ironman Award - Tyrell Clay
608 rushing yards, 4.5 yards per carry, two rushing touchdowns. 95 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown.
Clay wins this year’s Ironman award in recognition of his hard work through his career but especially this season. UTSA’s three-star freshmen running backs weren’t quite ready to step into the backup running back role this season but former walk-on Tyrell Clay proved himself to be a stabilizing force in the backfield. Clay was never an extremely explosive ball carrier but he refined his craft over the offseason, adding some slick juke moves to his repertoire. The Roadrunners’ offense greatly benefited from Clay’s dependability.
Assistant Coach of the Year - Bo Davis
I still think it’s pretty crazy that Bo Davis is coaching at UTSA of all places. The former national champion at Alabama turned an already strong UTSA defensive line into a dominant unit. Davis elevated his best player’s technical skill by an extraordinary amount through one season, putting yet another defensive lineman into the early rounds of the NFL draft. If Davis sticks around San Antonio for another season as expected then the Roadrunners’ defensive line should bounce back from the loss of Marcus Davenport without too much of an issue.