Larry Coker finds himself in another big game as his Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners host the 13th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys at the Alamodome.
The former BCS national championship winning coach improved to 73-25 for his career when UTSA overcame a double-digit first-half deficit to take down New Mexico, 21-13, on the road at University Stadium. The Roadrunners played exceptionally well on the defensive side of the ball to rally back. They are now 9-4 since becoming a full-member of the FBS. The Cowboys will be the highest ranked opponent the Roadrunners have ever faced.
Oklahoma State has had one of the top offensive attacks in the nation over the past few seasons. However, coach Mike Gundy's team improved to 1-0 on the season due to the defensive unit's effort in the 21-3 victory over Mississippi State. The victory continued OSU's recent domination of the SEC, as the Cowboys have won nine of their last 10 outings against the nation's toughest conference (including Texas A&M and Missouri).
This will be the first meeting in history between these schools. The Cowboys are 25-3 against their last 28 unranked opponents. Oklahoma State is one of only three schools from automatic-qualifying BCS conferences to win at least nine games in each of the last four seasons -- the other two being Alabama and Oregon.
The Cowboys may been a little more settled on offense for their second outing after Gundy settled the quarterback controversy by naming J.W. Walsh the starter. Walsh came off the bench against the Bulldogs after Clint Clelf struggled and did well enough to earn the starting job.
"I think he just brought a spark to our team. I have to make that decision because that's what they pay us to do," said Gundy. "I just felt like there was a lift to the team once he came in the game. The first time or two we weren't as successful as we wanted. We had opportunities."
Walsh threw for 135 yards and racked up 125 more and a touchdown on the ground after taking over on the third series. Jeremy Smith rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries for OSU, which piled up 432 yards on offense after struggling for most of the first half. Smith was one of four Cowboys to finish the game with four receptions.
OSU's defense stepped up on key plays as MSU went 2-for-16 on third down conversions. The Bulldogs were held to just 333 total yards of offense and the Cowboys recorded three sacks and two interceptions. Senior safety Shamiel Gary registered 10 solo tackles in the contest. 2012 Second-Team All-Big 12 selection Shaun Lewis also made his mark with seven stops, three tackles for loss and a sack.
Gary and Lewis will try to stop UTSA's momentum. Eric Soza's 11-yard touchdown pass to David Glasco II completed a 99-yard, fourth-quarter drive that put the Roadrunners ahead by eight and rose their total of unanswered points to 21. Soza was 21-of-34 passing on the night and also led UTSA with 48 rushing yards. Glasco II had just 40 total yards but finished with two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. Soza's late-game touchdown pass came after he was forced out of the pocket.
"I saw him and I said, 'Don't do it. Don't do it,' Glasco said. "I know Soza. He has a little bit of Brett Favre in him and then 'boop,' sure enough, he did it and it was a great play."
Kam Jones led UTSA with five receptions and 65 yards. He also produced 39 yards on the ground. Evans Okotcha was held to just 20 yards receiving and 17 rushing and failed to improve upon his program leading total of 16 end zone trips.
The team amassed 394 yards of total offense to New Mexico's 277. The Lobos were also ineffective on third down (2-of-13). The Roadrunners were unable to force any turnovers and registered just a pair of sacks in the contest.
Triston Wade recorded a team-high of seven total stops. Jens Jeters and Steven Kurfehs made four solo tackles apiece. Jurfehs showed he can be a playmaker last season by amassing 71 total tackles, 5.5 for loss, a team-high 4.5 sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown.
New Mexico's offense was nowhere near the same caliber as the Cowboys' high- powered attack. UTSA struggled against its better competition last season. In 2012, they held their first four opponents to an average of 247.8 yards per contest, but allowed 445.8 yards per game over the course of their final eight games. USTA gave up 301 rushing yards in a single game to Rice, but the majority of its troubles on the defensive side of the ball stemmed from a poor pass defense. It gave up more than 320 passing yards in each of the final five games of the season.