Keys to the Game: UTSA at Texas State

Behold the Twitter Snark Bowl resumes as UTSA travels north on 35 to San Marcos and the Bobcats. A game that should turn into an annual bloodletting might just be a slugfest Saturday night as an improving Texas State squad squares off with a talented UTSA team. 

A few keys:

For UTSA

Blitz until you're tired, then keep blitzing

Texas State's offensive line is made of cheesecloth and duct tape. Except for center Aaron Brewer, the 'Cat offensive front struggles to...you know...block. They're improving, but they are a weak point, no doubt. This is where UTSA talented front six can wreak havoc. UTSA should be able to harass Damian Williams and limit the Bobcat passing game. 

No Presents

In games where one team is arguably better than their opponent, the great equalizer is usually turnovers. For UTSA, ball security is at a premium. The more possessions Texas State gets, the greater the chance Williams makes a great play or two. 

Eye Discipline

Texas State offensive coordinator Zach Kuhr knows his line is a weakness, so he will use misdirection and jet sweep action to create a moments pause and allow his line to get proper angles on the Roadrunner front. It's not unlike Frank Scelfo's use of motion. Texas State will try to create a run game on the edges with receivers and then, as linebackers clear out to get to the edge, hit the Roadrunners between the tackles. They can then build off that with play action, and if UTSA's safeties aren't attentive, the Bobcats will go over the top. 

For Texas State

Don't let Dalton Sturm get started

Dalton Sturm has been phenomenal in two games for the Roadrunners, Texas State's very improved defense will need to pull out Randall McCray's tricks and blitzes to get him off kilter a bit. If history serves, once Sturm gets into a rhythm he's hard to break, however, if Texas State can keep him off balance he plays pedestrian, quickly. The trouble is, no one's been able to slow Sturm down this season. Now here's the trick, Texas State's front seven can achieve the pedestrian Dalton Sturm. They are quick, aggressive, and play in the backfield. 

Do that magic thing, Damian Williams

Damian Williams is a magician in the pocket, extending plays, throwing from different arm slots, and bailing his offense out. Williams needs to not only take care of the football but also do his magical escape job and get the ball downfield. 

Play Smart

Remember that eye discipline thing we discussed earlier UTSA's defense, double down on that for Texas State. Frank Scelfo's offense will have you chasing ghosts. Watch the Southern film, and yes that was an FCS team but if that's a hangup watch the Southern Miss game from 2016, and you'll see receivers like Kerry Thomas Jr., Joshua Stewart, and Jalen Rhodes running like the first player to the breakfast buffet. Texas State's safeties and linebackers have to play with their eyes and their brains. 

Notes and Numbers

  • UTSA and Texas State played once in their history, in 2012, UTSA won at the Alamodome 38-31.
  • Dalton Sturm completes 81% of his passes after two games. A 25 percentage point improvement over 2016. 
  • Sturm has also up his yards per attempt by 3 yards.
  • As if that weren't enough, Sturm averages 8.3 yards a rush. 
  • UTSA is sixth in total defense among FBS teams.
  • Texas State allows just 2.42 yards per rush, eight best in the FBS.
  • Through three games, Texas State is tied for eleventh in the FBS in sacks, already accumulating one more sack than in all of 2016. 

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