This is going to get physical. UTSA travels to Birmingham to take on CUSA West frontrunner UAB Saturday night. Let’s take a look at a few interesting points/factors heading to the tilt.
Coming out of a bye week UTSA lists Cordale Grundy and JoJo Weeks as “or” starters on the depth chart. Grundy gave way to Weeks before the Southern Miss game. Weeks performed like a true freshman in his first game starting against the Golden Eagles. Weeks completed 12 of 27 attempts for 117 yards with a score.
With the new redshirt rule, auditioning a quarterback or any player for that matter isn’t a huge risk. That being said, Grundy might give the Roadrunners a better opportunity to make something happen on the road against a tough opponent. He gives UTSA a more dangerous rushing weapon, and he’s cool under pressure. Either way, the Roadrunner quarterback will need help to lead this team to a win.
The Roadrunner offensive issues run much deeper than the trigger man. That point is evidenced by the six sacks UTSA gave up against USM. This week the Blazers pose an even bigger issue up front. UAB leads the league in tackles for loss with 66 and first in sacks with 31.
That’s kryptonite on paper for a UTSA offense line that struggles to protect (allowing the second most sacks in CUSA) and struggles to block generally (dead freaking last in rushing offense in CUSA).
UAB plays bully ball up front on defense, and they have the slobber knockers. Nose tackle Anthony Rush 6-5, 350 is a monster space eater who makes the middle of the line a no go. Jamell Garcia-Williams checks in at 6-8, 255 pounds and plays the jack or rush backer. The Blazer’s size and ferocity up front allows their linebackers to run free and hit people.
The challenge for UTSA is to do something they haven’t done all year, block somebody.
If UTSA is going to pull off the upset, we might suggest they beat UAB to the punch and muck this game up. Play field position-centric on offense and rely on their defense to force stops and create a turnover or two. The reality is UTSA’s defense is built to do what UAB’s defense is built to do and maybe better. They’ll try to make UAB one dimensional by suffocating the run.
UTSA’s offense needs to eat clock, get first downs, and grind. Basically what UAB’s offense is built to do.
The kiss of death comes if UTSA turns the ball over or exposes their defense to too many plays due to ineffectiveness, or heaven forbid, gets down early and has to pass to survive. The margin for error is thin, but there is a path to a win.