UTSA (5-5, 4-3 C-USA) vs. Texas A&M (7-3)
Kickoff: 11 a.m., Saturday, Kyle Field, College Station
Series record: First meeting
Notable: A&M has lost its last two games and three of its last four.
SAN ANTONIO – The season has come down to some simple math for the UTSA football team.
The Roadrunners need one victory in their last two games to become eligible for a bowl game. With 28-point favorite Texas A&M next on the schedule, it’s not going out on a limb to say UTSA will head into next week’s regular-season finale against Charlotte still needing that elusive sixth win.
With the Aggies stuck in a two-game skid, they will be in no mood to go easy on the Roadrunners when the teams meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at Kyle Field. It will be the first meeting on the football field between the two schools. They’ll square off again in 2019 at Kyle Field.
“They’re excited,” UTSA coach Frank Wilson said when asked how his players are approaching playing in such a tough environment.
Wilson chuckled when he was asked if he’s concerned the Roadrunners could be intimidated by the boisterous crowd at Kyle Field.
“Nah, that won’t happen,” he said. “A lot of times those things are echoed from the top down. You give people their due respect for every opponent. We acknowledge and we’re excited about this venue. It being what it is and having the opportunity to be on this stage to play such a quality program, such a quality team, is something that we’re very excited about. Looking forward to it.”
Wilson went 5-0 against A&M, and 2-0 at Kyle Field, as an assistant coach at LSU before landing his first college head-coaching job at UTSA in mid-January. He succeeded Larry Coker, who went 26-32 in the Roadrunners’ first five seasons.
“[Kyle Field] is as fine a stadium, gameday atmosphere that you can find in all of football, college or National Football League," Wilson said. "The support, the pageantry, the tradition is second to none.”
UTSA had a chance to take control of the West Division in Conference USA last week when it clashed with first-place Louisiana Tech, but the Roadrunners were no match for the Bulldogs in a 63-35 loss.
A few hours later, Mississippi kicked a 39-yard field goal with 37 seconds left to stun No. 10 Texas A&M 29-28 at Kyle Field. The Aggies’ defeat followed a 35-28 loss to Mississippi State the previous week in Starkville, Miss.
UTSA wide receiver Josh Stewart grew up in College Station and could hear the roar of the Kyle Field crowd from his family’s front yard.
“I can believe that,” Wilson said. “It can get loud.”
The wide point spread has taken the pressure off the Roadrunners accordin to senior safety Michael Egwuagu.
“I think everybody is excited,” Egwuagu said. “I think it’s a great opportunity. It’s one of those things where you can just play, you can just pin your ears back and go just because you literally don’t have anything to lose. Everybody picks you to lose. Nobody’s picking you to win. That’s great. That’s how we want it anyway.
“We see this as an opportunity to show people what we can do. We’ll line up and make plays. They’re a good team, but we’re a good team as well.”
Egwuagu added that the challenge of playing in such a loud venue could be tougher on the UTSA offense because the noise makes communicating verbally virtually impossible.
“What jumps out at me about their offense is they have a nice receiving corps,” Egwuagu noted. “They get one-on-one matchups in everything. It’s exciting. I want to play against so-called top-tier players in the nation. What better opportunity?"
UTSA is 0-8 against Power Five teams, but it gave Arizona State a scare in a 32-28 loss Sept. 16 at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners led 28-12 with 8:20 left in the third quarter before ASU stormed back to score the game’s last 20 points.
Next up for UTSA: vs. Charlotte, Nov. 26, Alamodome, 6 p.m.
(© 2016 KENS)