UAB (6-3 overall, 4-2 in Conference USA) vs. UTSA (5-3, 2-3)
When, where: Saturday, 6 p.m., Alamodome
Series history: UTSA leads 1-0
Last meeting: UTSA 52, UAB 31, Oct. 26, 2013, Alamodome
UAB’s last game: Defeated Rice 52-21, Nov. 4, Birmingham, Ala.
UTSA’s last game: Lost to FIU 14-7, Nov. 4, Miami
Notable: Saturday’s game is the first of two straight at home for UTSA, which hosts Marshall in its regular-season finale Nov. 18.
SAN ANTONIO – The performance of the UTSA football team from week to week this season has been a lot like the weather in San Antonio during the fall: difficult to predict.
The Roadrunners jumped out to a 3-0 start, but lost their first two Conference USA games by a combined five points. UTSA got back on track with consecutive conference victories over Rice and UTEP, but lost to FIU last week in Miami to fall to 5-3 overall and 2-3 overall.
With three games left on their schedule, the Roadrunners still need one more victory to become bowl eligible for the second year in a row.
After being on the road for the past two weeks, the Roadrunners return to the Alamodome on Saturday night to play UAB (6-3, 4-2) in a C-USA game. The Blazers are second in the league West Division standings, and UTSA is tied with Louisiana Tech for fourth.
Saturday night’s game is the first of two in a row at home for the Roadrunners, who play Marshall next week before ending the regular season at Louisiana Tech on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
UTSA has played UAB only once, trouncing the Blazers 52-31 in 2013 at the Alamodome. UAB rolled to a 52-21 victory against Rice last week to become bowl eligible. The Blazers defeated Southern Miss 30-12 two weeks in Hattiesburg, Miss. UTSA opened conference play with a 31-29 loss to Southern Miss at the Alamodome.
The Roadrunners had their chances in last week’s 14-7 loss to FIU, but their offense had problems moving the ball consistently. UTSA finished with 246 yards, getting 156 rushing and only 105 passing.
Dalton Sturm completed 13 of 21 passes for 105 yards and one touchdown, but was sacked four times. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 82 yards on 18 carries.
“Honestly, it was one of those games,” UTSA coach Frank Wilson said at his weekly session with the media last week. “You know, we went to (Texas) A&M a year ago and I thought we played our very best and our best wasn’t good enough. You can accept that.
"I thought we competed very hard in the bowl game and our best wasn’t good enough that day. I don’t think we played our very best (last Saturday). The effort was there. The execution still was missing. It’s difficult when you don’t play to the best of your ability. All we ask is for the best that you have, and if your best isn’t good enough, we can accept that.”
Wilson said there’s a thin line between victory and defeat, and spoke to the importance of his players feeling “discomfort” when they lose.
“It brings accountability and then the realization of you’ve got a worthy opponent that’s playing very well that’s about to come to the Alamodome, and they won’t have empathy for you,” Wilson said. “So, we have to get prepared to play. Let’s take ownership of this, let’s let our scars show and then move forward to play this game.”
While the offense had a subpar game against FIU last week, the defense had one of its best performances of the season, holding the Panthers to 315 yards (100 rushing, 215 passing).
Linebacker La’Kel Bass finished with eight tackles, including five solos and a stop for loss, and end Marcus Davenport had seven tackles and his third forced fumble of the season.
Wilson spoke highly of UAB coach Bill Clark and the Blazers.
“They don’t beat themselves,” he said. “They don’t turn it over. They do things that give them advantages. I think he’s (Clark) done an outstanding job with this program. He’s always done that. I have a lot of respect for him and the job he does.”