Top Ten Moments in UTSA Football 2011

10. UTSA Jerseys Soft-Reveal

For whatever reason, UTSA opted not to officially reveal their jerseys as they were rumored to do one week before kickoff. We may never know why the cards fell this way, but perhaps it was for the best. One night Steven Kurfehs posted a couple of pictures of himself wearing his jersey and, well, Facebook BLEW UP. I hate using the word “viral” but it’s pretty applicable in this occasion. The jerseys were sharp and minimalist (although I’m hearing that’s changing a bit next year, possible more to come on that soon). Nearly everyone loved them. Students and fans got uber-hyped for the season, and it was all grassroots. Damn, I used another word I hate.

9. Erik Brown/Ashaad Mabry Transfers

Bob Owen/SAEN

Just a few weeks before the season started (and a week after, in Brown’s case), UTSA received an unexpected influx of talent that provided a nice boost to the on-field production of the fledgling Roadrunners. Mabry is a 6’3, 300 lb. defensive tackle that transferred from Boone Picken’s WonderWorld at Oklahoma State to a football program that, at that point, had never even played a real football game. Mabry once worked out in world-class multi-million dollar facilities in Stillwater, but now throws weight around in a steamy, underground, outdated gym that is actually a converted P.E. classroom. Mabry was a big time recruit at MacArthur HS, drawing offers from several big-name programs. And now here he is at humble UTSA. Mabry chose to transfer back to his hometown in order to be close to his ill mother. While Ashaad only started in four games, his presence was felt throughout the entire season. The victim of numerous double-teams, Mabry finished the season with 20 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, one sack, and four quarterback hurries. As a true freshman. 19 years old.

Brian Baer/SAEN

To put it simply, Erik Brown was a shot in the arm for this program. After struggling to see the field at Fresno State, Brown flew back down to San Antonio, where he led Converse Judson to a state championship in his junior year of high school before moving to Arizona. A quick, instinctual cornerback, Brown brought a sense of stability to what was likely the Roadrunners’ weakest position. Brown’s infusion couldn’t have come at a better time. Jeremy Hall and Crosby Adams were both routinely toasted by McMurry receivers in Game Two. After just a week and a half of practice, Brown saw considerate playing time at Southern Utah and then quickly evolved into a starter and consistent performer. Brown also usurped punt return duties. Thanks to UTSA’s FCS status, Brown was able to save a year of eligibility and play as a redshirt sophomore.
8. UTSA Mariachi Band

via Urban Spotlight San Antonio

It’s no secret that UTSA is desperate to instill some type of unique tradition. In a culturally rich city like San Antonio, it’s not going to take too much time. In Game Two the Spirit of San Antonio marched out with a special group of mariachi players dubbed “Los Paisanos”. The crowd absolutely loved it. Mariachi is as puro as it gets and it’s crucial that we embrace our city’s tradition as we begin to establish our identity as a program and fan base. I wouldn’t mind seeing the mariachi become a staple of SOSA in the future.

7. UTSA Signs its Second Recruiting Class

via Kens5

Coker and his coaching staff made a huge splash on the recruiting trail in 2011, signing 28 outstanding, accomplished athletes to scholarships. While UTSA failed to attract the size and experience they were looking for on the offensive line, they were able to land some real steals at skilled positions. Personally, the coaching staff proved to me that they were extremely talented skill evaluators. Just take a look at all of the contributors this year that were unranked by online recruiting services: Franky Anaya, Kenny Harrison, David Morgan, Jason Neill, Brandon Reeves, Payton Rion, Alondre Thorn, Triston Wade, Josh Walker. Those are all guys that either started or saw serious playing time against Division I talent. All but two of them are true freshmen. That’s not just being good at evaluating talent– that’s a minor miracle.

6. UTSA vs. SHSU

Jack Wilson

Some people might think it’s weird that I have a loss as one of my top moments of the season, but if you were there you would understand. It was UTSA’s first away game within reasonable driving distance and the Roadrunner faithful represented very well. I would say at minimum ¼ of the crowd were UTSA fans but it sounded like ¾. If you’re living in a cave, Sam Houston is playing played in the FCS national championship game and they’re still undefeated in ’11 finished their season with just one loss. UTSA almost spoiled their miracle season, but two fumbles and three interceptions from Soza gave the Bearkats too many opportunities to wrap it up, leading to a bitter 22-7 road loss. The Roadrunner defense was stifling against SHSU’s three-headed run game, holding the Bearkats way below offensive averages. After the hard-fought loss, the team came over to the visitor section to join the band and fan base in the alma mater. In that moment, surrounded by new friends with shared passion, college football at UTSA was very real. A family was starting to form. This was everything we had hoped for. There was also copious amounts of smack talked on both ends leading up to the game, which was fun.

5. First Pep Rally

via yours truly

With anticipation and anxiety running high, thousands of Roadrunner fans invaded the River Walk on Friday evening before the inaugural kick off for the program’s first ever pep rally. High fives were exchanged, gallons of beer and top-shelf margs were consumed, but most importantly, UTSA staked its territorial claim on the city of San Antonio. Mobs of Blue and Orange filled downtown San Antonio in all directions. The River Walk pep rally was an awesome flair of San Antonio—as President Romo put it: “Isn’t this the coolest pep rally on Earth?”

4. Georgia State vs. UTSA

They had to have their backs against the wall to do it, but UTSA finally beat a Division I team. Both defenses took turns whacking at the opposition in a low-scoring affair. Nic Johnston, Erik Brown, Mark Waters, and Chris Johnson all stepped up with big plays to put kicker Sean Ianno in position to send the game into overtime and then later seal the 17-14 victory.
3. “Birth of a Program” on Fox Sports Southwest

After diligent work and perhaps some pestering from the UTSA administration, Fox Sports Southwest agreed to carry a six episode television series following the birth of the university’s football program. The broadcast brought the Roadrunners into the living rooms of 10,000,000 Texans and Oklahomans, providing crucial exposure. You have no idea how many “UTSA is starting a football team?” tweets I read while the show was on. While the production value varied by episode, it was cool to get a personal look at the team and whet our appetites for actual games.

2. Ticket Sales Pandemonium

On 9/3/11 a whopping, staggering, deafening 56,783 people showed up to make their place in history as UTSA started their football program against Larry Coker’s alma mater Northeastern State. While the official record-breaking announcement of the attendance was jaw-dropping, the buildup throughout the weeks leading up to the game was intense and exhilarating. Thanks to Ticketmaster’s interactive seating chart, we were able to approximate ticket sales in real time, watching as seats flew off the shelves by the dozens every time one hit F5. Season ticket sales finished at around 12,000. Average attendance set a new NCAA record for start-up programs with 35,521. Who said San Antonio wasn’t going to support UTSA football again?

1. Game One

via k0nwu in our Flickr Group

Could you have drawn it up better? The atmosphere was elite, the turnout was record-breaking, the Roadrunners looked ready to go undefeated, and the beer was a-flowin’. Everything was so flawless, from the first tunnel entrance to the echoes of “U-T-S-A” through the concourse as the masses of Roadrunner fans gloated in pride after the victory. For some, it had been a 40+ year wait for football. For others, it was just a curious walk across the street to see the new hot thing in town. For all, it was a moment not soon to be forgotten. As Mark Dyer of IMG put it, “You would have thought UTSA was playing the Texas Longhorns for the national title rather than a Division II team”

Before you bash me about how terrible my rankings are, be sure to leave your top ten in the comments section!

About jared

A UTSA alumnus that has been cast away to Austin, Jared enjoys live music and a craft beer. He thinks four verts is the best play in football but loves a QB sneak on fourth and inches. Twitter