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Slumping UTSA bracing for collision with nationally ranked Louisiana Tech

Slumping UTSA bracing for collision with nationally ranked Louisiana Tech

Credit: Antonio Morano / Special to Kens5.com

UTSA cornerback Erik Brown (17), tackle Ashaad Mabry (97) and linebacker Blake Terry (52) will have their hands full against a Louisiana Tech offense averaging 575.1 yards a 52.6 points.

by David Flores / Kens5.com


Posted on October 30, 2012 at 6:37 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 30 at 8:07 AM

First the good news, UTSA football fans.

Nationally ranked Louisiana Tech beat lowly New Mexico State by only 14 points, 28-14, last Saturday.

Now the bad news, UTSA fans: The Roadrunners, who have lost their last three games after a 5-0 start, play Louisiana Tech next, and they probably are catching the Bulldogs at a bad time.

After all, what are the chances of Louisiana Tech, which fought Texas A&M down to the wire before losing 59-57 on Oct. 13 and routed Idaho 70-28 a week later, being off its game two weeks in a row?

"This is an awfully good team," UTSA coach Larry Coker said Monday at his weekly session with the media. "They're very explosive on offense. They score a lot of points. Louisiana Tech presents a lot of challenges. They've got a lot of weapons.

"They've beaten some very good teams. The Aggies (New Mexico State) really played with them. Really, they kind of forced them to do some things Louisiana Tech really didn't want to do, and maybe Louisiana Tech wasn't at the top of their game. Sometimes that happens, but New Mexico State did a real good job. They were well prepared."

UTSA, 5-3 overall, and 1-2 in the Western Athletic Conference, plays Louisiana Tech (7-1, 2-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday in Ruston, La.

Roadrunners on three-game skid

The game will be the Roadrunners' first against a ranked Football Bowl Subdivision team since they kicked off their inaugural season last year. The Bulldogs are No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and No. 25 in the USA Today coaches poll.

Louisiana Tech, which shares the WAC lead with Utah State, is the defending league champion.

UTSA has been outscored 134-55 during its three-game skid. The Roadrunners' last victory was against New Mexico State, 35-14, in their WAC opener Sept. 29.

After an open week, UTSA fell to Rice (34-14) in Houston before losing back-to-back home games to San Jose State (52-24) and Utah State (48-17).

The Roadrunners have played their last two games without starting quarterback Eric Soza, sidelined with a hip fracture he sustained in the first half against Rice. A junior, Soza had started every game in UTSA's brief history.

Coker said he's optimistic Soza will be cleared to play Saturday.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Polite has started the last two games at quarterback for the Roadrunners, and has completed 41 of 68 passes for 550 yards and three touchdowns. He has been intercepted three times.

Louisiana Tech averaging 575.1 yards, 52.6 points

Utah State scored the game's first points two plays after blocking a punt by Kristian Stern on UTSA's initial possession, but led only 7-3 after one quarter. The Aggies scored on all three of their possessions in the second period to go ahead 27-3 at halftime, and had a 48-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

"I know we will get it done, but losing is tough and it will wear on you," Coker said. "We are doing some good things, but we just have to make sure not to give up the big plays on defense. We also need to run the football. Ryan Polite had a pretty decent game, but we need to help him out with the running game."

UTSA finished with only 51 yards rushing on 28 carries for a 1.8 average against Utah State.

Polite, who passed for a school-record 302 yards in the loss to San Jose State, completed 21 of 36 attempts, with two interceptions, for 248 yards and one TD against Utah State.

The Roadrunners' defense faces the daunting task of trying to slow down a Louisiana Tech offense that is averaging 575.1 yards and 52.6 points. The Bulldogs are ranked second nationally in total offense and scoring.

Senior quarterback Colby Cameron has been outstanding through eight games, completing 225 of 319 passes (70.5 percent and no interceptions) for 2,598 yards and 21 TDs.

Cameron's primary receiver has been senior Quinton Patton, who has 65 catches for 848 yards and 10 TDs. Freshman Kenneth Dixon is Louisiana Tech's top rusher with 836 yards and 17 TDs.