No Quit in StillwaterLast week I said that sometimes when you lose, you still win. After playing very well in the first two games of the season vs Houston and Arizona, UTSA struggled mightily vs a now top 25 Oklahoma State team. Sometimes when you lose, it's simply because the other team is better. The Cowboys were good. And fast. That may be the best defense UTSA will face in 2014. It reminded be a lot of the game Arizona game in 2013, the Runner's simply could not get anything going to pose a serious threat. As fast as UTSA has grown as a program, games like Saturday in Stillwater show much more up the mountain there is to climb. That said, about mid-way through the 3rd quarter, UTSA rallied. The 'Runners scored 10 straight points to keep the game in doubt well into the 4th quarter. With a bye week coming up, no one would have faulted the team if they would have given up. But they did not. It was something to watch the team continue to fight on Saturday. Games like that typically build character and could help the team overcome adversity later in the season.
The Sky Isn't FallingHeaded into the first bye week this season, UTSA is 1-2 after losing their last two games. Following the bye week, UTSA travels to Boca Raton to open Conference USA play vs Florida Atlantic. Despite the recent struggles, all of UTSA's goals are still intact: compete for a CUSA Championship and earn a bowl berth. The three non-conference games to start the season were tough, to say the least. Now, UTSA has to put those games behind them and prepare for the real season, conference play.
InjuriesIt looks like the bye week couldn't come at a better time. As a team, UTSA is banged up. Starting QB Tucker Carter, starting Safety Nic Johnston, DT Richard Burge, and CB Crosby Adams all missed time Saturday because of injury. As I reported on Saturday, there are a few other players banged up as well. Only time will tell who will be able to return vs FAU. But one thing is certain, the timing of this first bye week is better than in previous seasons.
No QB ControversyLet me be the first to say that there should not be any quarterback controversy coming out of the Oklahoma State game. It was made very clear to me that Tucker Carter was not benched due to ineffectiveness but due to a shoulder injury that he had been nursing all week. In relief duty, true freshman Blake Bogenschutz played well at times in a very hostile setting. While I'd expect Bogenschutz to see more action through the course of the season, to me Carter is still gives UTSA the best chance for success. Carter has done a good enough job so far this season in that he has made minimal critical errors (the Arizona interception being the lone exception). Bogenschutz did have his moments, although I believe that some of that came as Oklahoma State let up a little. Overall, I think both QBs played evenally. Here's the comparison: Carter 7 for 15 for 51 yards; Bogenschutz 8 for 14 for 82 yards, 1 rushing TD, 1 INT. As I stated earlier, I believe that the Oklahoma State defense will probably be the best unit UTSA faces all season. As such, I think it's fair to say that both QBs will play will be better later in the season.
No A-RobIt was somewhat a surprise that second string QB Austin Robinson didn't see any action in the second half of the game. In my postgame interview with Bogenschutz, he said that Offensive Coordinator Kevin Brown said that both he and Robinson would play in the second half. Having spent a lot of time talking with Brown over the last few years, I think Robinson not seeing any action was more a function of the flow of the game than how UTSA feels about Robinson. Bogenschutz led UTSA to touchdown on his second drive. Meanwhile, the Arizona offense sputtered. After putting up 10 straight points, the Roadrunners were still in the game at that point. If there was even the smallest of chances that UTSA could win that game (which there was) Brown was going to stick with the best option he had. Inserting Robinson into the game in the fourth quarter wasn't probably the best option at that point. I think there's a growing belief among fans that Austin Robinson is a one dimensional QB. We've only seen him take two snaps in real game situations. I think the jury is still out on Robinson and that we'll definitely see more of him in action later in the season.
David Morgan IITE David Morgan II is officially back. After spending the better part of two full years being continually injured, Morgan has emerged as UTSA's top receiving threat so far in this young season. David has caught 10 passes for 143 yards with 1 touchdown. A native of Marble Falls, Morgan has led UTSA in receiving the last two games. Much more than putting up stats, Morgan's catches have been timely. Like he was in the inaugural 2011 season, Morgan has emerged as a security blanket-type of an option for the offense.
Closing ThoughtsRarely will I push non-sports opinions here but everyone spent the better part of last week talking about Ray Rice and the NFL so I feel it's appropriate to address it here. In my opinion, Ray Rice and the NFL isn't the problem. The problem is that we don't take domestic abuse serious as a society. 1 in 4 women go through some type of domestic abuse. On average, it takes 7 incidents before a woman leaves for good. No one can really judge an individual or a specific relationship because there's no way of knowing everything that goes on. But there's no reason for the violence. These are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our cousins, the people we care about the most. The thing that is the most frustrating is that this is not anything new: Chris Brown, Mel Gibson, Mike Tyson, Charlie Sheen, Floyd Mayweather, OJ Simpson, Jason Kidd, Warren Sapp, Chad Johnson, Sean Penn, Eminen, Bill Cosby, the list really goes on and on. These are people that are often glorified when they shouldn't. No one should have to deal with domestic violence. Stop the violence.
It will be my goal to publish JJ's Journal every Monday for the remainder of the football season. If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the Forum.