UTSA - Arizona TV viewer guide
Game day: September 14, 7:30 p.m. PT
Stadium: Arizona Stadium – Tucson, Ariz.
UTSA - Arizona TV information: Pac-12 Networks
Story lines: This game marks the end of Arizona’s 2013 non-conference slate, one that appears significantly easier on paper than the 2012 version that featured bowl-bound Toledo and a ranked Oklahoma State squad. The Wildcats got through last year’s non-league slate without a blemish, and the expectation is to repeat that feat in 2013. The Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio are the last team standing in the way of Arizona potentially completing non-conference perfection, and they also figure to be the toughest of the Wildcats’ three non-Pac foes. The youngest program in the FBS, the Roadrunners surprised many by winning eight games in their first year at college football’s top level despite having a very young roster. Granted, just four of those victories came against FBS opponents, but that’s still a pretty big accomplishment for a team in its second year of existence.
There should be some continuity among the riverwalkin' bunch, because the Roadrunners return all but four starters on offense and defense combined. Most important of the comin’-back-to-town gang is oh-so-efficient quarterback Eric Soza, who threw 20 touchdown passes against just three interceptions and was sacked just 1.1 percent of the time he dropped back to pass. The defense was suspect at best against FBS schools last year, but junior college recruits in the secondary should provide a talent boost in defensive coordinator Neal Neathery’s 4-2-5 defense. It has been a quick climb up the pecking order for UTSA, which started as an FCS independent in 2011, jumped up to the WAC in 2012 and is now a member of Conference USA. The best thing UTSA did for its football program was hire Larry Coker, the former Miami (Fla.) head coach who led the Hurricanes to a national championship in 2001 and won his first 24 games in the 305.
[Related: 2013 Arizona football schedule]
However, the schedule stiffens up significantly for the Roadrunners in 2013. They play nothing but FBS opponents, host Oklahoma State in their home opener and make their first trip to Pac-12 territory with this game against Rich Rodriguez’s club. As the Wildcats look to end their 2013 non-conference slate on a positive note, RichRod has answered several questions on the offensive side of the ball.
There’s the ever-changing quarterback situation (right now, it appears as if B.J. Denker is the leading candidate to start, but don't put it past Rodriguez to use more than one QB in the opening weeks), and then there’s the question of wide receiver depth. This was a position that was a strength for Arizona going into the spring session, but with Austin Hill tearing his ACL and likely being done for 2013, the ‘Cats are now without their two leading pass catchers from a season ago with Dan Buckner now a former Wildcat.
That’s not to say there isn’t talent lining up wide (there certainly is – Terrence Miller is looked to as a leader and Tyler Slavin proved his worth in the spring game, for starters), but someone will have to fill the void left by Hill in the receiving corps. One thing that Arizona's offense has going for it is running back Ka’Deem Carey, and boy is he good. Last season’s leading rusher in the nation is back for his junior season and can also help out in the passing game (he made 36 catches in 2012). With a shaky offseason behind him, can the humbled and hungry Carey get to 2,000 yards this time around?
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