No. 21 Texas will look to build on a close-but-no-cigar loss to top-ranked Alabama when it hosts gritty Texas-San Antonio on Saturday in the first-ever game between the programs.
If UTSA was looking for a perfect scenario to help it pull off an upset against Texas in Austin, the cards may have fallen into place for the Roadrunners.
The Longhorns (1-1) ascended into the Associated Press Top 25 after a 20-19 loss at home to the Crimson Tide on Saturday. Texas took a huge step forward against Alabama but came up short after producing just one touchdown in five trips to the red zone and surrendering a long scoring drive in the final minute that produced the deciding field goal.
“We’ve got to be careful of the rat poison telling us how good we are,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday. “Our players played really hard (against Alabama). They played tough — not only they were physically tough, but they were tough-minded in fighting through some adversity.”
Texas was forced to play three quarters of that loss without starting quarterback Quinn Ewers, who suffered a shoulder sprain. Ewers, along with backup quarterback Hudson Card (ankle), preseason All-America running back Bijan Robinson (shoulder), and cornerback D’Shawn Jamison (ankle) all were called “day-to-day” by Sarkisian on Monday.
“The beauty of it for all for these guys — it’s nothing structural, it’s not surgery driven, it’s not broken, it’s not ligament damage,” Sarkisian said. “So the point being, we’ve just got to monitor them day-to-day and we’ll see who we can get back and when we can get them back.”
Ewers is likely to miss anywhere from two-to-six weeks with his injury, which occurred after he completed 9 of 12 passes for 134 yards. Card’s ankle injury is also considered significant, despite the fact he hobbled through the second half against Alabama.
“No one likes losing their starting quarterback in the first quarter,” Sarkisian said. “Nobody likes having your backup get injured in the second quarter and then having him try to fight through. But that’s football.”
It’s possible that the Longhorns will start the UTSA game with third-stringer Charles Wright at quarterback and use plenty of the Wildcat formation with running back (and former quarterback) Roschon Johnson behind center.
UTSA (1-1), the reigning Conference USA champion, heads up I-35 for a much-anticipated battle with their big brothers on the heels of a 41-38 overtime win against Army over the weekend. Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris passed for 359 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to De’Corian Clark in overtime.
The Roadrunners rallied from a 14-point deficit to win at West Point and have played extra football in both their games this year, losing to then-No. 24 Houston 37-35 at home in triple overtime on Sept. 3.
UTSA coach Jeff Traylor was asked Monday about his team being near two-touchdown underdogs to Texas.
“That’s it?” Traylor said. “We know we are going into a matchup with players that are gifted, but we feel like we have good players, too. We want to represent our brand, and as long as we do that, we will be fine.”
Traylor said the expectation from his fan base is for his team to compete with and even beat the Longhorns.
“When you win 12 games like we did last year, our fans think we should win every week,” he said. “The upgrade of the talent of Texas is noticeable on film. They just look bigger, thicker, faster and you can tell they are older. Defensively, Texas is much more physical. “
–Field Level Media