Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats vs. Texas-San Antonio: A “Did you know?” session

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The Arizona Wildcats face a Texas-San Antonio program tomorrow that is only in its second year at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level and third overall in existence.

Former Sabino standout Jeff Popovich will return to Tucson as a Texas-San Antonio assistant

Former Sabino standout Jeff Popovich will return to Tucson as a Texas-San Antonio assistant

Despite their infancy status, the Roadrunners are, well, running out of the gate. They have a 13-11 overall record under coach Larry Coker, who coached Miami (Fla.) to a national title in 2001. They were 8-4 overall and 3-3 in their only year in the now-defunct WAC last season. They play in Conference USA now.

UTSA has won five of their last seven road games, including a 21-13 decision at New Mexico in the season-opener this year.

Arizona will attempt to go 3-0 to start the season for only the eighth time in the last 25 years.

You should know all about the Wildcats — powerful running game, improved defense, in search of a passing game. Here is a “Did You Know” about UTSA and the game tomorrow night at 7:30 at Arizona Stadium. …

… First-year UTSA cornerbacks coach Jeff Popovich will make a homecoming this weekend. Popovich grew up in Tucson and attended Sabino High School, where he was a quarterback and defensive back on the football team and a record-setting track & field athlete. Popovich later played at Miami when Coker coached there.

… The game starts at 9:30 p.m., San Antonio time, a late time to reach the 37th-largest television market in the nation (small by big-city standards). Former UA coach Mike Stoops scheduled this game a few years ago to make the Wildcats more visible in the rich football-talent state of Texas. But it may be a futile attempt. The game will also be televised by the Pac-12 Networks, which is likely not a channel of choice in Texas. …

… The Wildcats should have a lot more visibility — at least in the San Antonio area — next year when they travel to face the Roadrunners. In 2011, UTSA sold 11,639 season tickets en route to establishing an NCAA startup program record for average home attendance (35,521). Playing their first season as a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) independent, the Roadrunners drew nearly 10,000 more fans per home game than FCS leader Appalachian State (26,211). UTSA sold 13,646 season tickets a year ago en route to leading the (WAC) with an average home crowd of 29,226. The Roadrunners drew 40,977 fans to last Saturday’s season opener against No. 13 Oklahoma State. …

… In the video above, Coker says he believes UA junior running back Ka’Deem Carey “will be a top five pick in the first round of the NFL draft”.

… UTSA QB Eric Soza, a junior, plays better against good competition. He passed for 308 yards against Oklahoma State last week. Soza threw for a career-high 314 yards last season against a ranked Louisiana Tech team coached by Sonny Dykes, now at Cal and a former UA offensive coordinator.

… The Roadrunners are the anti-Wildcats in terms of offensive production. They can pass but have trouble running the ball. Kenny Bias (five receptions, 113 yards, two TDs) and Kam Jones (nine receptions, 104 yards) can provide a big play. Bias, a sophomore, averages 22.5 yards-per-reception average. UTSA has only 292 yards rushing with Soza (73 yards) the top ball carrier. …

… UTSA has allowed five touchdowns to Oklahoma State in the Cowboys’ five trips into the red zone (within the UTSA 20-yard line) last week, but the Roadrunners did not allow New Mexico into the red zone at all the week before. …

… The Roadrunners once again have one of the smallest senior classes in the nation. One season after having a national-low six seniors, the Roadrunners boast just 11 on this year’s roster (nine on scholarship) and that is tied for the fifth-lowest total in the country. …

… The vast majority of UTSA’s talent is home grown. Coker and his coaching staff have 93 Texas-bred players (86.9 percent) on the 107-man roster. The Roadrunners’ other 14 players come from California (5), Florida (3), Oklahoma (2), Arkansas (1), Indiana (1), Louisiana (1) and Maryland (1).

… None of the Roadrunners’ players from California were recruited by Pac-12 schools. All of them are from junior colleges. …

… Arizona freshman tight end Josh Kern, a converted quarterback, will be on opposite sides of the field from his hometown team. Kern played at Clark High School in San Antonio. …

TWO PREVIOUS WILBUR VS. OPPONENTS DRAWINGS BY MIKE HANAOKA, PROFESSIONAL ARTIST FROM HAWAII & LIVING IN LAS VEGAS:

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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, and TucsonCitizen.com.

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