By Jerry Briggs
UTSA receiver Kerry Thomas Jr. shrugged off a question Tuesday on whether the Roadrunners might feel some added pressure as the first bowl team in school history.
"I think outside looking in, others may say it's pressure," Thomas said. "But I think, as a team, we're out here trying to have fun. We're just trying to get another win. It's just another game. That's how I look at it. Just another game to showcase what UTSA football is all about."
UTSA (6-6) is preparing to take on New Mexico (8-4) at the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. The game is set for Dec. 17 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. central time on ESPN.
Receiver Josh Stewart, Thomas' older brother, said he's looking forward to visiting a place he's never been.
"I hear it's pretty cold," Stewart said. "I might have to bring a couple of snuggies and a couple of coats. Kind of excited to see how it looks out there."
On the second day of preparation, the Roadrunners went through a two-hour morning practice on campus.
The workout started earlier than usual, at 7 a.m., so coaches could take the rest of the day to recruit. In fact, several local high school coaches visited the practice.
"It's always good to partner with those guys and share with them and do some professional development," coach Frank Wilson said. "So, a great day for our program."
Wilson said he's pushing his players now because most have never been through a bowl-preparation experience.
"You do have to teach 'em how to do it and you have to push 'em to the point of being focused on the task at hand, in the midst of the holidays approaching and final exams coming up, and all the other stuff that happens," he said.
Notes: Freshman linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was named later Tuesday to the All-Conference USA first team. He is the first UTSA player to make first team all-conference in the school's four-year history in the league. Triston Wade is the only other UTSA player to earn a first-team, all-conference designation. Wade made the Western Athletic Conference first unit in 2012.
Defensive end Marcus Davenport and safety Michael Egwuagu were named to the C-USA second team.
Tauaefa leads the team in tackles with 104. Davenport leads defensive linemen with 62 tackles and leads the team with 10 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Egwuagu is third on the team with 76 tackles.
Honorable mention choices were long snapper Matt Bayliss, offensive tackle Jevonte Domond, safety Jordan Moore and Stewart.