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A different version of UTSA Football is emerging.
It is something we haven’t seen before, and have no clue how it looks, feels, or sounds.
The preseason hype train derailed in September, and to even the most loyal fans the 2023 campaign looked bleak. The magic of the past two seasons surrounding college football’s darling UTSA Roadrunners is now nothing more than a distant memory.
This leaves a UTSA team with something to prove to not only its fanbase, alumni, and the city of San Antonio, but also the entire college football nation who have all but forgotten about the UTSA Roadrunners.
A desperate team is a dangerous team. A team who remains desperate even after the wins pile up can be unstoppable. Lucky for the 210, that is exactly where this version of UTSA Football is headed.
For the first time in years, the Roadrunners are flying, or running, if you will, under the radar. And that is exactly where this team needs to be.
Forget the 4-3 record, because those three blemishes no longer matter. What does matter are the next five weeks of UTSA Football, which is arguably the most important five week stretch of ballgames in the history of the UTSA Football program.
UTSA controls its own destiny in terms of positioning themselves to be playing during the first week of December, and the Roadrunners have a good chance of doing just that. The caveat being that they must maintain this desperate, something to prove approach while at the same time remaining humble.
And based off the amount of humble pie served up to the Birds in September, that doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Recent observations from on-field play also provide reason for belief that the next five weeks can produce an uptick in the win column as well. In fact, some may even say that UTSA is hitting its stride, especially after stuffing FAU on Saturday 36-10.
I, for one, would agree with that statement, and go even further to say that UTSA will peak at just the right time this season. Said peak, is going to come the day after Thanksgiving on national television in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Some folks may say that is bold, or unrealistic even.
Is it bold? Sure.
Unrealistic? No way.
UTSA Football has unknowingly put itself right where it needs to be. Everything that has happened, from injuries and interceptions to rival wins and disappointing losses went exactly as it was supposed to. As tough as that is to swallow, everything is as it should be.
Remaining opponents ECU, UNT, Rice, USF and the Tulane Green Wave all present different, unique challenges and storylines. East Carolina visits the Alamodome for the first time ever, Rice beat Houston in a year where Houston beat UTSA, USF took the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide down to the wire and UNT is, well, UNT. To polish it all off, defending conference champion Tulane hosts the Birds on the day after Thanksgiving.
Any of those games are losable, but at the same time all are winnable. For this season, it has become clear that the message is going to be it is not how you start, but how you finish. And how that finish plays out can shape the trajectory of the still incredibly young UTSA Football program for generations to come.
In a world of instant gratification, rolling with the punches and sitting with the growing pains are foreign concepts to most. Sure, winning fixes everything and that is no different in this situation that UTSA Football finds itself in. That is always the case to some degree.
The difference here, the significance of this moment in time, is the how of it all. When this season is looked back on, the storyline is going to be how the Roadrunners won as opposed to what was won.
How they overcome being left for dead.
How they recaptured the interest, support, and love of the 210.
How they responded to the worst September under Jeff Traylor.
How Frank Harris was sent out as a champion.
How they believed when nobody else did.
This is the story waiting to be written, UTSA just has to pick up the pen.
Who knows, it might turn out to be the best chapter yet.
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