Reaction to UTSA’s 52-49 OT Loss to UTEP
Historic Game: It will be remembered by UTSA faithful as a gut-wrenching loss. One that got away. UTSA would lead by 14 points twice in the game, including out of halftime when the ‘Runners built a 28-14 lead early in the third quarter. But UTEP would rally to tie the game by the end of the quarter. What followed was an instant classic. Defensive stops, missed field goals, intense/dramatic plays down after down. When the dust settled, UTEP would do just enough to beat UTSA in five overtimes, which goes down in the history books as the longest game in Conference USA history. The game also tied the fifth longest game in FBS history.
Conservative Play Calling: One week after UTSA went aggressive late in the game vs Rice, it's fair to ask the question if the Roadrunners’ offense went too conservative late in the game and in the overtimes. UTEP stacked the box and dared UTSA to throw. There were times UTSA simply decided to stick to the run. There were some missed opportunities in the passing game, but the aggressiveness we’ve seen this season (and even earlier in the game) did not rear its head at the end of the game.
Brady Jones Drop: It might have been the play of the game for UTSA. With under a minute to play in regulation, UTSA was furiously trying to get the ball into field goal range. With the ball at UTSA’s own 44 yard line, QB Dalton Sturm found WR Brady Jones for a long gain. But Jones dropped it. It looked like Jones, who was wide open on the play, may have scored a game-winning touchdown. At the very least, UTSA would have been in field goal range. To Jones’ credit, he did atone for drop with an incredible touchdown reception in overtime. He also have a very nice catch on a two point conversion as well.
Official Rivalry: UTEP came into UTSA’s house, in a game the Roadrunners needed to have, and played their best game of the season. It wasn’t a perfect performance, by either team. But it was the type of game you play when you face a rival. As I wrote a few weeks ago, you can throw records out the window when it comes to games vs UTEP. If anyone had any questions before the game if UTSA and UTEP were in fact rivals, I think that’s been answered. Late hits, player ejections, and an overall chippyness ultimately resulted in a close/hard-bought battle that UTEP would pull out.
On The Outside Looking In: The loss drops UTSA’s record to 3-4 overall. With a suddenly hot North Texas Mean Green coming into the Alamodome next week, UTSA’s quest for postseason play now looks like an uphill drive. Certainly, the season isn’t over by any means. There are still five games remaining and anything could happen. But a narrow loss to a division foe in a game that UTSA was in certainly hurts.