#88 UTSA Football 2017 Preview

UTSA Roadrunners
Overall Rank: #88
#5 Conference USA
The expectations were pretty low for UTSA last season. They were coming off a 3-9 campaign and saying goodbye to Coach Larry Coker, the man who literally built the program. Coach Frank Wilson did not care about the expectations and quickly proved that he was more than just a recruiter. Coach Wilson led the Roadrunners to a six win season and a trip to the New Mexico Bowl. Now the expectations are growing even higher.
2016 Record: 6-7, 5-3
2016 Bowl: New Mexico Bowl vs. New Mexico (L 20-23)
Coach: Frank Wilson (6-7 at UTSA, 6-7 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Frank Scelfo
Defensive Coordinator: Pete Golding
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jalen Rhodes, RB, 827 yards
Passing: Dalton Sturm, QB, 2,170 yards
Receiving: Josh Stewart, WR, 682 yards
Tackles: Josiah Tauaefa, LB, 115
Sacks: Marcus Davenport, DE, 6.5
Interceptions: 4 tied with 1
Other Key Returnees: WR Kerry Thomas, WR Brady Jones, LB La’Kel Bass, S Nate Gaines
Key Losses: RB Jarveon Williams, WR JaBryce Taylor, OL Jevonte Domond, S Michael Egwuagu, S Jordan Moore
The UTSA offense certainly needs to improve if the Roadrunners are going to compete for a trip to the conference championship game. Quarterback Dalton Sturm threw for 2,170 yards and 20 touchdowns and generally improved under the new regime. Now a senior, Sturm should be able to be more efficient. It helps that most of his receiving corps is back to assist. Josh Stewart and Kerry Thomas were the big play receivers for UTSA. Stewart caught 36 passes for 682 yards and five scores, while Thomas added 35 receptions for 555 yards and eight touchdowns. With Brady Jones and Marquez McNair also quality options, the Roadrunners should have a much more productive passing attack in 2017. Jalen Rhodes will take over the running back duties from the departed Jarveon Williams. Rhodes was the more effective back last year despite getting fewer carries. With an experienced offensive line, Rhodes and the rest of the offense has a lot of potential.
Overall UTSA boasted a strong defense in 2016 and much of the talent is back. Marcus Davenport leads a line that can cause some havoc in the backfield and linebackers Josiah Tauaefa and La’Kel Bass were the team’s top two tacklers a year ago. The loss of starting safeties Michael Egwuagu and Jordan Moore is a concern though. The Roadrunners were susceptible to giving up big plays through the air and losing those two could make the situation even worse. 
The Bottom Line:
Coach Wilson has yet to reap the rewards of his recruiting talent, but it will start to pay off now. Across just about every position, there are young options that should be able to at least compete for playing time and provide quality depth. The CUSA slate gets off to an interesting start against Southern Miss in San Antonio. If UTSA wins that game, they should be right in the mix for a CUSA West title. The other main division foe will likely be Louisiana Tech, where the Roadrunners travel for the regular season finale on November 25th.
Projected Bowl: New Mexico Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 161.8 (83rd in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 213.6 (82, 9)
Total Offense: 375.5 (97, 8)
Scoring Offense: 29.2 (65, 6)
Rushing Defense: 162.5 (54, 6)
Pass Defense: 229.5 (70, 5)
Total Defense: 392.0 (55, 4)
Scoring Defense: 27.9 (63, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.23 (42, 4)
Sacks: 2.08 (65, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 3.31 (121, 12)