History. Modest 1969 origins have spawned relentless growth, to where UTSA — driven largely but not entirely by R2 Doctoral Research — today occupies 758 San Antonio acres spread among four campuses. Its 35,000 students place it third within the UT system, for whom nine separate colleges offer a menu of 191 degree programs. The institutional elegantly worded Latin language motto reads Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis, which may be expressed in English as A Cultivated Mind is the Guardian Genius of Civility. Varsity football Division I home games are, for at least the time being, played in the 64,000-seat Alamodome. Student newspaper and other opinion makers argue for a replacement venue; one of its other alleged shortcomings is that it lies a 25-minute drive from UTSA’s main downtown campus, which is itself a contributor to poor student body attendance. But for now, the Roadrunners will carry the School’s 2021 gridiron hopes into the Alamodome. The remainder of this article will follow them.
Prior Seasons. This university was in no rush to join the ranks of inner-collegiate football. Its inaugural Season did not arrive until 2012, and over that decade the Blue and Orange have posted only four winning campaigns. An All-American has yet to be named; nothing approaching major Bowl status has delivered an invitation, and only two UTSA players have been drafted into the NFL. First-year Head Coach Jeff Taylor did succeed in guiding the ‘Runners to a second-place finish in Conference USA’s West Division in 2020, so as he and Staff prepare for this year’s September 4th Opener — a Saturday night affair at the home of Big 10 member The University of Illinois — Roadrunner football enthusiasts are entitled to wonder if substantial improvements lie in wait.
Current Season Prospects. There are possibilities. A team whose 2020 season per game average point total jumped from 20.3 to 28.2 welcomes the return on offense of ten of its starters. Prominent among them is Running Back Sincere McCormick, now a 3rd-year veteran and pre-Season All-American. He logged a school record and national second best 1,467 yards from scrimmage, 5.9 per carry, and 11 TDs last year. He will follow lead blocks of five returning interior linemen and Tight End force Leroy Watson. Returning Wide Receivers Zakhari Franklin (49 catches, 694 yards, 7 to the end zone) and Joshua Cephas (58-547-5) will surely contribute to a balanced attack. Entering summer drills Frank Harris and his 64% completion rate appeared to hold the edge at starting QB. The competition there is keen, with Lowell Narcisse coming off his 2020 injury-plagued setback — hoping to regain the 2019 form, which marked him as a genuine dual threat. Taylor may well begin with each man taking a share of reaches under center.
On the other side of the ball, last year’s average per game points allowed dropped from 33.9 to 25.7. All eleven starters return from that unit, led by Strong Safety Rashad Wisdom. A First Team All-Conference selection, Wisdom brings, as coaches like to put it, a “nose for the ball” onto the field — evidenced by his 2020 team-leading 95 tackles and four interceptions.
UTSA heads into its 2021 schedule a serious and legitimate Conference-USA contender.