Offense struggling for UTSA recently
HUNTINGTON — UTSA’s football team has had a myriad of issues on offense. What the Roadrunners haven’t had is much scoring.
UTSA (3-7, 2-4 Conference USA) travels to Huntington to take on Marshall (6-3, 4-2) in a 2:30 p.m. Saturday contest and the Roadrunners come into Joan C. Edwards Stadium having scored just two offensive touchdowns in their last four games.
The offensive line has struggled with protection, the quarterbacks have struggled to make plays and, because of those two things, opponents have loaded up against the run and taken away the Roadrunners’ ability to move the football on the ground as well.
Add in turnover issues and it equates to an offense that is last in C-USA in several categories: scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense, passing offense and first downs.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said looking on film it’s easy to see the pieces within UTSA’s offense for it to be dangerous, and his team has to approach it as such.
“You turn on that tape and, I know you guys think I say this every week, but they have some of the best receivers in our league,” Holliday said. “Just watch them. They are athletic. They have running backs, an offensive line that is solid. The quarterback play has been a little inconsistent, but they have talent at that position.”
UTSA’s offense doesn’t have an easy task this week, either, going against a Marshall defense that allowed just 407 total yards in its last two contests, including a 185-yard effort against Charlotte last week.
Marshall’s senior-laden defense is clicking well at this point, which Holliday pointed out.
“When your seniors are playing their best football, that helps a lot, too, and these guys are at this point,” he said.
UTSA head coach Frank Wilson said despite the struggles, his mindset remains strong.
“It’s easy to sit here and tell you all the negatives, all right,” Wilson said. “Some people would say it’s hard, but for me, it’s easy to find the positive, as well.
Wilson pointed to his team’s strong quarters that kept them in a contest before turnovers and poor execution led to a lopsided loss to FIU last weekend.
“You get 21 unanswered points where two of those touchdowns come by way of turnovers — one in a pick-six and the other that sets up a touchdown and that gets them down in there,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he watched Marshall’s film of the Florida Atlantic game — a 31-7 win for the Thundering Herd on Oct. 20 — and the difference was Marshall being able to force turnovers.
“You turn it over five times and good things won’t happen,” Wilson said.
With bowl eligibility now out of the question, Wilson’s focus is on the future for his offense in its last two games.
That doesn’t necessarily mean moving at the speed of a Roadrunner, per se. Instead, it’s simply about moving forward and building the foundation for 2019.
Wilson didn’t hesitate when asked of the goals for the final weeks of the season.
“To improve,” Wilson said. “To put ourselves in position to win, to show improvement and continue to get better, and to be in position to try to win these games.”