The University of Texas San Antonio Roadrunners and the Arizona State Sun Devils have never met on a football field. They will be doing so for the first time on ESPN2 this Friday night at 6:30 p.m. MT. The Roadrunners have already beaten a team called ASU this season, as they topped Alabama State of the FCS.
UTSA joined the FBS in 2012 and began the football program in 2011. Being in Conference USA, the Roadrunners have yet to win a game against a Power Five conference opponent. They are coming off a 3-9 season in 2015 and are currently at the .500 mark (1-1) this season.
Here’s what you need to know about the Roadrunners:
Head Coach-Frank Wilson
Wilson is in his first season with UTSA. He replaced the great Larry Coker who coached in San Antonio from 2011-2015 and helped the Roadrunners become an established football team, along with two winning seasons. Wilson has experience coaching in some big time football programs in the SEC.
Wilson played football at Nicholls State from 1994-1996 and then got on the coaching staff the same year he finished his playing. In 2005 he began coaching in the SEC. He was the running back coach at Ole Miss from 2005-2007, coached the running back position and was the recruiting coordinator at Southern Miss for a year in 2008 and then found himself as the wide receiver coach in 2009 for Tennessee.
Before coming to UTSA, Wilson finished up coaching his longest stunt with LSU from 2010-2015 where he was the running back coach, recruiting coordinator, and associate head coach.
Coming from a conference of so many prized recruiting classes, Wilson will try to mimic that in San Antonio. While in his tenure at LSU, he won Rivals.com National Recruiter of Year in 2011, NFL.com Top Recruiter in College Football in 2014 and Scout.com SEC Recruiter of the Year in 2015.
How have they done so far?
UTSA is 1-1 with a win against an FCS team in Alabama State (26-13) and a road loss to Colorado State in week two (23-14). The Roadrunners had -1 yards rushing against Colorado State and though they beat Alabama State, UTSA fumbled the ball three times in that game.
Defensively, UTSA does well against the pass as it has only given up 250 yards all season, but the rush defense is not producing. The Roadrunners have allowed 365 yards on the ground including 220 yards last week against CSU.
QB Dalton Sturm
Strum already has a year of experience as the starting quarterback at UTSA and has had two solid performances this season. His 450 yards in the air along with four TD’s and two interceptions speak for themselves.
The Roadrunners run an offense that primarily operates in the air. Just like Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech and Case Cookus of NAU, he will be utilized all game against the Sun Devils.
LB Josiah Tauaefa
As a redshirt freshman, Tauefa is young, but he can move fast and with power. He’s 6’1” 230 pounds and used to be a nightmare for defenses as a running back in high school.
Now, on the opposite side of the ball, he’s been involved in 22 tackles, has nine alone and has recorded two sacks for a combined loss of 14 yards in just two games.
RB Jalen Rhodes
Though the running game was ineffective against CSU, the junior running back has still managed 117 yards and a touchdown this season and is waiting to erupt offensively. Rhodes is also used as a receiver as he’s caught five balls for 54 yards. He can block, run and catch for the Roadrunners and will definitely be an impact player in this game.
WR JaBryce Taylor
The junior wide out led UTSA WR’s last season with 541 yards on 52 catches with four touchdowns. With 82 yards and two touchdowns already this year he is poised for another solid season.