SAN ANTONIO – There are no moral victories in college football, but then there are games like Texas A&M’s 23-10 win over UTSA on Saturday in College Station.
The Roadrunners were hardly pushovers for the No. 22 Aggies despite being 29-point underdogs, making them work for the win as a crowd of 102,502 looked on at Kyle Field.
UTSA dropped to 5-6 with its second consecutive loss, but still could become eligible for a bowl with a victory against Charlotte (4-7, 3-4) in its regular-season finale Saturday at the Alamodome. A 38-31 loss to Middle Tennessee on Saturday dropped the 49ers from bowl contention.
A&M, which had lost its last two games and three of its last four, improved to 8-3. The game marked the first football meeting between the two schools since UTSA kicked off its first season in 2011. The Aggies and Roadrunners will square off again in 2019 at Kyle Field.
UTSA is now 0-9 against Power Five teams and 0-5 against Top 25 opponents.
Senior safety Michael Egwuagu said last week that the Roadrunners were looking forward to stepping up to the big stage of a nationally televised game and “showing people what we can do.”
UTSA coach Frank Wilson scoffed when he was asked after a workout last week if thought his players would be intimidated playing before such a large, boisterous crowd.
“Nah, that won’t happen,” Wilson said.
He was right.
While the Roadrunners never led Saturday, they didn’t play like a team that was awed by the Aggies’ history and tradition at Kyle Field. They drove to the A&M 22 early in the fourth quarter before a turnover ended the scoring threat, and fought the Aggies to a scoreless tie in the period.
A&M capped the first possession of the game with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jake Hubenak to Jay graduate Josh Reynolds with 10:30 left in the opening quarter. The score ended an eight-play, 83-yard drive.
The Aggies went up 10-0 on a 24-yard field goal by Daniel LaCamera with 1:22 remaining in the first period. UTSA trimmed the lead to 10-7 when Jared Johnson threw a 10-yard pass to junior wide receiver Josh Stewart, who made a one-handed, highlight-reel reception before going out of bounds on the right side of the end zone, with 10:30 left in the half.
Stewart, who grew up in College Station, finished with six catches for 75 yards.
Johnson went into the game at quarterback late in the first quarter after starter Dalton Sturm was pulled. A graduate transfer who starred at Sam Houston State the past two seasons, Johnson completed 15 of 24 passes for 186 yards. But he was sacked five times by the Aggies, who also dropped Sturm once.
LaCamera kicked field goals of 33 and 37 yards in the second quarter to give A&M a 16-7 halftime lead. His 37-yarder came on the last play of the half. The Aggies went up 23-7 on a 47-yard run by Trayveon Williams with 8:22 remaining in the third period. Williams’ TD capped a four-play, 78-yard drive.
Victor Falcon kicked a 27-yard field goal to cut A&M’s lead to 23-10 with 2:17 left in the quarter.
UTSA junior defensive end Marcus Davenport recorded a career-high 11 tackles. He also had a sack to push his team-leading total to 6.5.
Junior safety Nate Gaines had 10 tackles and linebacker Josiah Tauaefa, a freshman redshirt, added four in only one half. Tauaefa, who had to sit out the first half because he was flagged for targeting in last week’s loss to Louisiana Tech, raised his tackle total for the season to 98. That broke the program’s single-season record of 95, set by Brandon Reeves in 2012.
A&M outgained UTSA 431-252 in total offensive yardage, gaining 183 rushing and 248 passing. Williams led the Aggies’ ground game with 80 yards on 11 carries. Hubenak completed 19 of 32 passes for 248 yards and the TD to Reynolds, but he was sacked twice.
The Roadrunners finished with only 48 yards rushing on 37 attempts, a 1.3 average, and had 204 passing. Senior Jarveon Williams was UTSA’s leading rusher with 52 yards on 21 carries. The Roadrunners finished with 218 yards passing. Sturm completed 3 of 7 passes for 18 yards before getting pulled.
(© 2017 KENS)