For a week, UTSA talked about the importance of guarding against a letdown after its historic season-opening victory against South Alabama.
The Roadrunners scored only three points in the second half against Division II Texas A&M-Commerce in their home opener Saturday, but they played well enough to beat the Lions 27-16 before a crowd of 30,416 at the Alamodome.
"Well, none of these games are easy," UTSA coach Larry Coker said. "They made us work for it. We kind of felt like that about Commerce, that they'd come in here and play like it was the Super Bowl for them. Guy Morriss is a good football coach and he got his players to play hard and make some big plays.
"I think offensively in the first half, we stepped up and did some good things. Defensively in the second half, we stepped up and did some good things. I think if we look at this, we'll really learn from it and I think you'll see a marked improvement."
UTSA outgained A&M-Commerce 331-209 in total offense and held the Lions to only 16 yards rushing in 22 carries.
The Roadrunners routed Northeastern Oklahoma 31-3 in their first game in history last year, but lost to Division III McMurry 24-21 the next week.
Now 2-0 for the first time in its brief football history, UTSA plays Georgia State next Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
"It does a lot for my confidence level and I hope it does a lot for the team's confidence, too," Coker said, responding to a question about the Roadrunners' 2-0 start. "It's a great start for us. I think the win against South Alabama was a huge win for us."
Soza, Glasco paced Roadrunners' offense
Sean Ianno kicked a 51-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to lift the Roadrunners to a 33-31 victory against the Jaguars. The win was UTSA's first on the road and first against a team in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly Division I-A.
"To come back to a great crowd -- someone told me there were 30,000 in the dome today -- it was really a good crowd for us and they were really into it," Coker said. "We just have to keep building. We're a work in progress and I think a good work in progress."
UTSA, which last year played as an independent in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), is making the transition to the FBS as a member of the Western Athletic Conference this season.
A&M-Commerce (0-2) didn't play like a team that lost to Southeastern Oklahoma 31-6 in its opener last week. The Lions never led but they hung tough until the end.
"It was a good game and I think the people got their money's worth," Morriss said. "I am proud of my guys. We lost our composure there late in the second quarter. For a football player, the size of a stadium like this gets annoying. It is real loud, but it also makes you learn how to focus and tune in to your quarterback."
Junior Eric Soza completed 12 of 22 passes without an interception for 159 yards and one touchdown, and sophomore running back David Glasco II churned out 58 yards and two TDs to lead the Roadrunners' offense.
UTSA finished the game with 172 yards rushing and moved the ball relatively well, but the only points it got in the last two quarters came on a 46-yard field goal by Ianno.
"Give them credit," Soza said. "They stopped us."
Anaya set up UTSA TD with interception
Sophomore linebacker Blake Terry anchored the defense, finishing with 11 tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss. The Roadrunners had five sacks and held A&M-Commerce to 209 yards in total offense.
Terry attributed his big game to the work of the defensive line.
"They created a lot of gaps for me to get in and make tackles," Terry said. "All my credit goes to my D-line. Without their help, I wouldn't be able to make as many tackles. Their hard work is what flushed them out."
Glasco, a Wagner High School graduate, scored on runs of 2 and 1 yards in the second quarter to help the Roadrunners take a 24-3 halftime lead. His 1-yard TD came two plays after defensive tackle Franky Anaya intercepted a pass by Deric Davis at the Lions' 24 and returned it to the 7.
Asked if he was surprised when Davis threw the ball directly at him, Anaya said, "Actually, I was. When I was running, it didn't feel real. It's like I dream about this. It finally happened."
Ianno put UTSA ahead to stay with a 34-yard field goal on the Roadrunners' first possession. UTSA scored again the next time it had the ball, with Soza throwing to Kenny Harrison to cap a 13-play, 71-yard drive that put the Roadrunners ahead 10-0 with 2:48 left in the opening period.
A&M-Commerce cut the deficit to 10-3 on a 21-yard field goal by Jacob O'Neil with 10:44 left in the second quarter, but UTSA built a 21-point cushion with Glasco's TDs on back-to-back possession.
Ianno booted a 46-yard field goal to put the Roadrunners up 27-3 with 9:14 left in the third quarter. The Lions kept it close with two TD passes by Davis, the first a 61-yarder to Garrett Smith with 7:14 left in the third period and the second a 5-yard strike to Tevin Godfrey with 14:56 remaining.
Davis compleged 18 of 31 passes for 175 yards and was intercepted twice. Cornerback Erik Brown had the other pick for UTSA.
"They're really physical," Davis said when asked about the Roadrunners' defense.