UTSA's defense this season may be its strong point, but on paper that isn't saying too much.
Angular Marcus Davenport will man one of the defensive end positions. One of the few returnees with some experience, Davenport showed some pass rushing potential last season.
The other defensive end, Jason Neill, started four games and appeared in four. He finished the campaign with 29 tackles (17 solos/12 assists), including 6.5 for loss and a team-leading 3.5 sacks. In last season's meeting, Neill came up with two of those tackles for loss.
Senior Brian Price started one game last season, but the 6'3, 305-pound lineman may actually be UTSA"s best run stopper. In addition, senior Kennedy Ubabuike will get the start and has limited experience. He only played in six games last season, none of which were starts.
Middle linebacker Drew Douglas is one of the unquestioned leaders of the defense. Already accumulating 22 career starts, Douglas figures to be the team’s leading tackler.
The other linebacker is Marcos Curry and he is largely unproven. He appeared in 10 games, starting one, and finished the season with 16 tackles.
SS Mauricio Sanchez and CB Bennett Okatcha bring size and playing making ability with their 40 career starts. Both were stalwarts on last season’s team and much more will be expected this season.
Strong safety Michael Egwuagu excels against the run and figures to be one of the team’s leading tacklers.
Cornerback Aneus Henricks and free safety Nate Gaines are unknowns with little buzz around them. Kenricks will be making his first college appearance on Thursday and could be in for a long night.
Players to Watch
DE, #93 Marcus Davenport: There are returnees with bigger numbers, but one gets the feeling that he might be the best pro prospect on the team.
MLB, #32 Drew Douglas: The most accomplished returning player, Douglas figures to be UTSA’s leading tackler.
SS, #25 Mauricio Sanchez: He has shown a propensity for making plays in the box. UTSA figures to ask him to make more plays against the pass as well.
Keys to the Game
Get ahead early: UTSA is really bad and if this team hangs around it a terrible sign for Arizona.
Get the Backups work: The legend of Jared Baker has grown every season, but nobody has really seen him play. 15-18 carries in this game sound about right.
Get a consistent performance from Anu: It’s no secret that Solomon finished the year on a low note, and he needs to come out and perform to his capabilities.