This week, the UTSA Roadrunners faced their toughest challenge of the year. They squared off against the University of Alabama-Birmingham and you could say the Roadrunners were less than underwhelming. By the final whistle, the score was 52-3 in favor of UAB. This was an absolute beatdown in which the ‘Runners never led once in the game. Alabama-Birmingham scored with ease on their first drive and never looked back.
UTSA v. UAB Beatdown
Many UTSA faithful were confident and excited for the team as they came out of their bye week. However, any hopes and aspirations for making a small bowl game are surely out the window. This game was the perfect time to turn the season around, unfortunately, the Roadrunners flopped. They were inconsistent and clearly overmatched. However, this loss cannot fall entirely on the players as the Roadrunners were also outcoached. Frank Wilson and his assistants did not set the team up for success as it seemed as if every play call was the wrong one. The player’s and the coaches must be on the same page in order to win games. However, all season, that has not seemed to be the case.
All year the defense has been unimpressive. They give up huge plays time and time again. Opposing offenses do not need to get into the red zone because they can easily score from 40 yards out. On Saturday, four of Alabama-Birmingham’s seven touchdowns came from outside the twenty. The Blazers even scored twice from 50 yards out. On every touchdown, the Blazers went untouched or were able to walk it in. It has been dwelled upon that the weaknesses at the cornerback and safety positions are severe. However, this game proves just how frail they are at the position. All year, the secondary has struggled to keep wideouts in front of them. The team is not even missing tackles, but rather they just get outrun down the sidelines.
It is unfair to always blame the offense for the team’s struggles. In the first few games, this appeared to be the case. However, after nine weeks of struggles and poor effort, it is clear that this defense needs to be looked at hard. Whether it tests out new corners or bring in coaches that can get the job done. Bottom line is that their play has been unacceptable and frankly difficult to watch. For the season, opponents are putting up an average of 31.3 points per game on this Roadrunner defense. This ranks them 94th out of 130 FBS football teams. The team hoped they could get back to their dominant ways of 2016. However, this team does not have the star power or fire within them to make plays when it’s needed. The play of the defense will ultimately be the demise of the team’s season.
Poor Offensive Play
The offense has struggled all year. They have not had a home run threat to stretch the field. They often rely on the play of kicker Jared Sackett who has been reliable for them. Realistically, the offense should have put up more points than they have, however, Sackett has contributed to the majority of the team’s scores. The offense is incapable of finishing drives, making the kicker their most valuable asset. On Saturday, the team tested out three different quarterbacks. All of which were ineffective in getting the job done. Jordan Weeks, who has been named the starter, was poised, however, he was not able to sustain offensive drives. He completed 11 of his 26 attempts for 109 yards with no touchdowns. Weeks is not a bad player, unfortunately, the players around him are not making winning plays.
There have been few games in which there was a player who scored more than once. The play of the wide receivers can fall on the quarterback, however, running back production has been non-existent all year. There has still yet to be a 100-yard rusher in a game this season. In fact, the highest average rushing total per game comes from B.J. Daniels with 32.9 yards per game. There have been nine different rushers, all of which have been ineffective in making any kind of impact on a game this year. It has been easy to criticize the play of the quarterback. However, since there is no real rushing threat, opposing defenses know that the Roadrunners will have to throw the ball. It makes it easy to scheme for the team and poses as a real disadvantage going into each week.
Against UAB, the team passed for 136 yards and only rushed for 84. They had 220 total yards of offense in this game and clearly did not pose as a real threat to the Blazers. For the season, the Roadrunners are averaging only 93.9 rushing yards per game and only 149.2 passing yards per game. The team also only averages 15.8 points per game which ranks them 128th out of 130 teams. When the running game is nearly outworking the passing, there is a problem with their system and it must be fixed.
UTSA’s loss on Saturday makes it nearly impossible for them to make a bowl game this year. Whether they win or lose in the coming weeks will not make a difference. At this point, the team must begin to think about next year and the decisions that can be made in order to earn a winning season.