On Saturday, the Roadrunners returned to the Alamodome to take on the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers in a hyped matchup. Unfortunately, the conference leaders flexed their muscle on the Roadrunners to the tune of a 33-14. This loss dropped UTSA’s season record to two wins and four losses. While the Roadrunners were the clear underdogs in this matchup, they seemed to be prepared for the tough task. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize on opportunities. As a result, UTSA fell short to UAB.
UTSA Fell Short to UAB
While many people believed that this would be an uphill battle, the ‘Runners appeared to hold their own against a talented Blazers team. Based on their success against formidable foes, the chance for victory seemed bleak. The Roadrunners lost by 49 points to the Baylor Bears. They also lost by 42 points to North Texas. However, a victory against El Paso was crucial not only for the season but for confidence. Unfortunately, this was not enough for the powerhouse of Conference USA.
Lowell Narcisse continues to be the number one quarterback option for the Roadrunners. This came as a result of the injury to Frank Harris. Sadly, the severity of Harris’ injury is unknown and his return is up in the air. For now, UTSA fans must get used to Narcisse.
Narcisse, the transfer from LSU, shows promise as the backup. He is clearly a dual-threat quarterback as he is averaging 100 yards rushing in his three starts. He has a total of 302 yards rushing in the last three matchups, which leads the Roadrunners in this category. No one will question his running ability. However, there is much concern over his passing ability. Narcisse continuously struggles with inaccuracy. In his three starts, he is 30/69 on passing attempts. This is a low 43 percent passing percentage. Since his first start against North Texas, his passing numbers have gone down as a result of his accuracy. In this game, he passed the ball 36 times and only completed 16 of those attempts. In his last two games, he threw the ball 33 times and completed it 14 times.
This trend will continue as long as Narcisse is at the helm. He will have to continue to rely on his legs in order to produce for the team. The Roadrunner’s best chance of turning their season around is to limit Narcisse’s passing attempts and let the rushing attack off the leash.
Rushing Attack Inconsistent
Speaking of the rushing attack, the inconsistent use of Sincere McCormick is puzzling. The freshman is coming off of a game in which he had 22 carries for 189 yards and a touchdown. McCormick was not projected to be the starter at the beginning of the season. However, he has quickly gained the starting job after solid outings. It has been shown that when you give this man the football he can produce. Against UAB, Frank Wilson limited McCormick to only 16 rushing attempts and he gained only 34 yards but added a rushing score. In six games, McCormick has five rushing scores. While McCormick was inefficient in his 16 attempts, his explosiveness should not be under-utilized. Maybe the coaching staff sees something differently, but fans believe McCormick should be getting more touches.
If he gets more touches, this opens up the passing game and could make life easier for Narcisse. Making opposing defenses focus on multiple threats could open up the offense and produce more points. This has been an issue for the Roadrunners all season. In all of their four losses the team only averages 11 points. However, in their two wins, they are averaging 30.5 points. This staggering statistic proves that utilizing both passing and rushing attacks is only benefit the team. If only Wilson would play this way every Saturday.
The Need for Greed
UTSA forced UAB to fumble the ball four times in this matchup, however, the defense only recovered one. Taking advantage of and winning the turnover battle is the most important aspect of a football game. For a team that struggles on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, being greedy is what will win them games. The Roadrunners need good field position to get points. This means the defense must do their part and get on loose balls. Creating points off of turnovers will not only boost confidence for the offense, but also the defense. Knowing their handiwork is followed by a touchdown is a morale boost to the defense.
The Kicking Game
One of the most forgettable aspects of football is special teams. Last year, the Roadrunners had a great kicker in Jared Sackett but he transferred to Arkansas. UTSA is relying on Hunter Duplessis this season. However, the Roadrunners rarely ever give him a chance to get into field goal range. Duplessis has made three of his five attempted field goals this season. This statistic is not horrible and if the offense can get into range, this should give the kicker a chance.
The Roadrunners will host the Rice Owls in their homecoming game next week in the Alamodome. This should be an easy victory for UTSA who will face an Owl team that has zero wins this season. Again, this should be an opportunity for the Roadrunners to make strides for a .500 season.