Texas State (3-7) at Texas-San Antonio (7-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2 pm (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alamodome (65,000) -- San Antonio, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: TSU 2-3, UTSA 3-2. Away Record: TSU 1-4, UTSA 4-2. Neutral Record: TSU 0-0, UTSA 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 1-3, UTSA 2-3. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The final game of the 2012 regular season for the Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio comes this weekend at the Alamodome, as the squad hosts the Texas State Bobcats in Western Athletic Conference action.
UTSA, which is playing at the Football Bowl Subdivision for just the second year, began this season with five straight wins before hitting a major skid. The team was 0-for-October in three tries and saw its losing streak stretched to four games before emerging with a 31-24 victory over FCS foe McNeese State earlier this month.
Last weekend, the Roadrunners posted their second straight win and the second in five league outings as they delivered a 34-27 victory over the hapless Idaho Vandals on the road, assuring themselves of a winning record on the season in the process.
As for the Bobcats, their initial WAC campaign has been far less encouraging as the team sports a 3-7 mark overall and is just 1-3 in league play. Last weekend, TSU made the trip to Annapolis to challenge the United States Naval Academy and was sent packing in a 21-10 setback. The loss was the fourth in a row and the sixth in seven games for a program that took nationally-ranked Louisiana Tech to the brink of defeat just a week earlier.
Even though both of these schools are currently in the same conference and reside in the same state, this is the first-ever meeting for them in football.
After just going through the motions for the first half against Navy last weekend and coming up with only three points through as many quarters, the Bobcats were destined to suffer the road loss to the Academy. Quarterback Shaun Rutherford tried to keep Texas State in the mix as he converted 25-of-40 passes for 290 yards and a late touchdown, but he was sacked two times and just couldn't stay on the field long enough to make a difference.
Like so many of their games, the Midshipmen used their ground attack to wear out the Bobcats and control the tempo of the game at the same time. Navy ran the ball 62 times for 407 yards and three TDs, while putting the ball in the air just eight times overall.
Texas State opponents have found that running the ball seems to be the best attack against the Bobcats this season, with those programs generating an average of 231.2 ypg and a total of 22 touchdowns. Then again, the passing defense for the Bobcats can also be quite liberal in its schemes as it too has allowed 21 TDs and 258.7 ypg.
The Bobcats have logged a mere six sacks this entire season, while the offensive line has permitted 21 quarterback takedowns for a loss of 120 yards. Rutherford has taken the brunt of those hits and yet he has still converted better than 64 percent of his pass attempts for 174.4 ypg.
Rutherford's counterpart for this game, Eric Soza, did it all for his team in the win over Idaho as he not only connected on 23-of-36 passes for 232 yards, he also led all ball carriers with 89 yards and three TDs on 11 carries. David Glasco II scored the other offensive TD for the Roadrunners as the group survived three passing touchdowns from Idaho signal-caller Taylor Davis.
Despite allowing Idaho's Mike Scott to catch 10 passes for 116 yards and two scores, the UTSA defense did come up with a pair of fumble recoveries and made an interception to keep the hosts out of the win column yet again.
In terms of the entire season, players like Erik Brown and Triston Wade have kept opponents from walking all over the Roadrunners defense as each has picked off four passes, the latter also returning one for a touchdown. Foes have managed to generate 378.6 ypg of total offense, but more often than not UTSA has been able to rise above that thanks to Soza.
A starter in all but two of the team's games, Soza is completing passes just under 60 percent of the time and has tossed 17 touchdowns while averaging better than 200 ypg through the air. Perhaps most remarkable has been the signal-caller's decision making in the pocket because of his 252 attempts, only once has he been intercepted.
Finishing the season strong will go a long way in helping the Roadrunners attract recruits as they prove that they can handle the action at the FBS level, so don't think that's an idea that is lost on the players and coaching staff this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-San Antonio 38, Texas State 23
11/21 11:09:11 ET