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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 14, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arizona Stadium (56,037) -- Tucson, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: UTSA 0-1, Arizona 1-0. Away Record: UTSA 1-0, Arizona 1-0. Neutral Record: UTSA 0-0, Arizona 0-0. Conference Record: UTSA 0-0, Arizona 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Arizona Wildcats will play in their final non-conference game of the campaign when they host the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners at Arizona Stadium.
UTSA, which is in just its second year as a FBS program, is playing its second straight team from a BCS conference. The Roadrunners were defeated by Oklahoma State last week at home. UTSA showed some offensive force but it wasn't enough against the now 12th-ranked Cowboys, who ran away with the 56-35 decision. With the loss, UTSA has split its first two games, a year removed from an 8-4 finish.
As for Arizona, the Wildcats have sprinted out of the gates, riding huge offensive efforts to a 2-0 start, with wins over Northern Arizona (35-0) and UNLV (58-13). Arizona has opened each of its first two seasons under head coach Rich Rodriguez at 2-0. Perhaps the best news for the Wildcats was that All-American running back Ka'Deem Carey was able to get back on the field after being suspended for the first game of the year.
With such a short history as an FBS program, UTSA hasn't had a ton of time to begin any long-standing series. That is the case with the Wildcats, who the Roadrunners will be facing for the first time.
Though it scored 28 of its 35 points in the fourth quarter once Oklahoma State let up and played backups, UTSA still had a solid showing on the offensive side of the ball against the Cowboys.
Quarterback Eric Soza stepped up in a big way by throwing for 308 yards against the nationally ranked Cowboys. Soza threw for a career-high 314 yards last season against a ranked Louisiana Tech squad and seems to elevate his play in big games. However, Soza was also guilty of two interceptions in the contest which offset the three touchdown passes he threw.
Kenny Bias (five receptions, 113 yards, two TDs) and Kam Jones (nine receptions, 104 yards) are the favored targets as they are the only two pass- catchers to have totaled more than 100 yards in the first couple games. Bias is a real deep-threat with a 22.5 yards-per-reception average. Even though Bias and Jones get the bulk of passes, Soza has shown an ability to spread the wealth, as 10 players already have at least three catches. The Roadrunners have failed to create much of a running game early on. As a team, UTSA has just 292 yards rushing with Soza (73 yards) the top ball carrier.
The season as been a mixed bag defensively for UTSA, which held New Mexico to just 13 points in the opener but was then lit up for 56 points and 605 yards against Oklahoma State. The Roadrunners have also given up touchdowns on every red zone trip opponents have had.
Triston Wade anchors the unit with a team-high 15 tackles. Wade is one of four players with at least 10 stops this season.
With Carey sidelined Arizona still had no trouble taking care of NAU in week one. However, with Carey back on the field this past weekend, the Wildcats looked even more dangerous offensively.
Though he did not get a carry in the first quarter, Carey took the first handoff he received and went 58 yards for a touchdown. It was quite a statement for a back that led the nation in rushing last season. Carey finished with 171 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts to power the Arizona offense, which had 397 yards rushing overall. The Wildcats have rushed for 703 yards as a team, which ranks fourth in the country, while ranking near the bottom of the national rankings in terms of passing the ball. However, the lack of production can be partially blamed on a lack of need to get yards through the air.
B.J. Denker didn't have a ton of success throwing the ball, with just 81 yards on 8-of-21 passing, but he seems to have taken to the running responsibilities Rodriguez demands of his quarterbacks. Denker has rushed for 134 yards and a team-high three touchdowns but still has work to do as a passer if the Wildcats hope to improve offensively.
On the defensive side of things, though it is early and the competition has not kicked into gear like it will during league play, Arizona has been showing improvement in its second season under Rodriguez. Defense was a big weakness a year ago, but through two games the Wildcats are surrendering just 276 yards per game, keeping teams to just a 8-of-24 success rate on third down.
Tra'Mayne Bondurant looks like he may be one of the breakout stars in the Pac-12 this season. Bondurant has 11 tackles and a sack this season but more importantly he has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Bondurant already has three interceptions, one of which he returned 52 yards for a touchdown against UNLV. Other standouts on defense include tackles-leader Scooby Wright and Sione Tuihalamaka, who leads the team with 3.0 tackles for loss.
Against Northern Arizona, the Wildcats were strong on offense. With Carey back in the mix, the Wildcats were unstoppable against UNLV. Expect more of the same against a UTSA team that just doesn't have the personnel yet to keep up with the relentless Wildcats.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 51, Texas San-Antonio 20
09/11 10:41:21 ET
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