Saturday night's Western Athletic Conference opener against New Mexico State was billed as the first big test of the season for the UTSA football team.
Junior quarterback Eric Soza made sure the Roadrunners aced it, piling up 324 yards in total offense, throwing three touchdown passes and running for another score as UTSA rolled to a 35-14 victory at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M.
UTSA, making the transition to the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision in its second season, improved to 5-0 and won its sixth consecutive game dating to last year.
NM State dropped to 1-4 after losing its fourth game in a row.
The Roadrunners, who went 4-6 as an independent in the Football Championship Subdivision last year, were picked to finish last in the WAC.
With a crowd of 14,341 looking on, Soza completed 19 of 32 passes without an interception for 269 yards, and rushed for 55 yards on eight carries.
He had scoring strikes of, in order, 48 yards to Evans Okotcha, 82 yards to Kenny Bias and 15 yards to Cole Hicks. Hicks' TD reception came two plays after an interception by safety Nic Johnston gave UTSA the ball at the 15 with 5:27 left in the third quarter.
The pass to Hicks gave UTSA a 28-7 lead with 4:39 left in the third quarter, and capped a 28-0 run by the Roadrunners after NM State took a 7-0 lead with 4:43 to go in the opening quarter.
Soza's TD pass to Okotcha and extra-point kick by Kristian Stern, who was subbing for injured Sean Ianno, tied the game with 2:19 left in the first period.
Tight end Jeremiah Moeller recovered a fumble by Austin Franklin at the Aggies' 33 to set up Okotcha's TD reception. Moved back to the 48 by a personal-foul penalty, Soza hit Okotcha for the score on first down.
NM State finished with four turnovers, two interceptions and two fumbles, raising the Roadrunners' take-away total this season to 16. UTSA has scored 11 times (nine TDs, two field goals) off those 16 turnovers.
Soza put UTSA on top to stay with a 33-yard scoring run at 8:57 of the second quarter.
Soza's 82-yard completion to Bias with 6:33 remaining in the second period put the Roadrunners on top 21-7 at halftime.
Trailing 28-7 heading into the fourth quarter, the Aggies closed to gap to 28-14 on Andrew Manley's 41-yard pass to Franklin with 11:33 left.
UTSA put the game out of reach when Okotcha ran for an 8-yard TD with 4 minutes remaining.
Manley, who also threw an 8-yard TD pass to Trevor Walls, completed 21 of 40 passes for 276 yards, but was sacked five times and intercepted twice.
Junior Erik Brown had the other pick for the Roadrunners. Johnston also had two tackles for losses and forced a fumble.
Safety Steven Kurfehs, ends Will Ritter, Jarron Harris and Lekenwic Haynes, and tackles Franky Anaya and Richard Burge were credited with full or partial sacks.
UTSA outgained the Aggies 398-350 in total offensive yardage, finishing with 129 yards rushing and 269 yards passing. The Roadrunners held NM State to 74 yards rushing on 33 attempts.
After an open date this week, UTSA plays at Rice on Oct. 13 and resumes WAC play against San Jose State Oct. 20 at the Alamodome.