UTSA Football: Attendance Record, 1st Game Victory, Now What's Next?

Lake CruiseAnalyst ISeptember 5, 2011

SEATTLE - MARCH 18:  The University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners mascot performs during an intermission in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament against the Stanford University Cardinal at Key Arena on March 18, 2004 in Seattle, Washington. The Cardinal won 71-45. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

How many people can say they witnessed history live at the Alamodome during UTSA’s first-ever football game? Over 56, 000. That number will probably triple once most people realize the Runners have a better than average first-ever team.

In the neighborhood around the Alamodome, I found out that some residents didn’t know there was a college football game going down in the immediate area until they saw the crowds.

Rowdy is a high-quality word to describe some of the exuberant crowd inside the dome after the game. Near the end of UTSA’s 31-3 victory over the Northeastern State University (Okla.) RiverHawks, the public address announcer pleaded with the attendees to stay off the field.

The well-planned plea was most thoroughly heeded…for about 30 heated seconds. Soon after the announcement, a barefoot male Roadrunners fan darted from the far end zone area to the 50-yard line and danced on the painted mascot’s head—facing the NSU sideline.

He did the UT! SA! sign with his hands and arms before he mad dashed back to his seat, or he tried, at least, to get back to his accommodation. The boys in blue calmly let him do his thing before they proceeded to manhandle him through the tunnel and out of sight.

Undeterred after the fourth quarter clock struck 00:00, a horde of fans and students bum rushed the field to surround the team in celebration. The uniformed cops and plain clothes security proceeded to unmercifully arrest at least three more people.

One young man stripped to his shorts at midfield—facing the press box.

Several people around me wanted to know why the boys and girls in blue didn’t allow the students and fans to enjoy the moment. Maybe it was because drinking and dashing onto the field don’t mix.

The SAPD generously allowed most of the crushed beer can heads in the tailgate parking lot before the game to enjoy their fun, but I suspect they were ready to intervene at any moment.

Intervene they did during the postgame party on the field. It was their duty to protect the players, coaches and officials from both teams and the inebriated fans from themselves.

Celebrating, too, can become dangerous. UTSA’s fans need to learn, among other things, how to wisely celebrate.

As Larry Coker himself pointed out, the Runners have only won one game. It was their only game played, of course, but I can understand the coach’s even keel attitude. He’s a college football super veteran and has probably seen just about everything.

Coker likely knows about some team that won their first game and went winless for the rest of the season. This would probably be very disappointing to at least 56,000 fans.

I sure don’t expect the Roadrunners to go winless for the rest of 2011; I’m the writer who about one year ago predicted they could become the next Boise State.

The Boise Broncos beat a traditional powerhouse SEC program (Georgia) last Saturday in Atlanta—the Bulldogs’ backyard. After being avoided by BCS schools for years, the Broncos are now being recognized as one of the best programs in the nation.

They play in the unheralded Mountain West Conference, but came into this season ranked No. 5 in the nation. They could move up to No. 4 after (3) Oregon lost to (4) LSU last week.

Playing in the super talent rich state of Texas, UTSA is already the next University of South Florida. The Bulls’ attendance record was just over 49,000. I’m sure the bad news broke in the Orange Juice State, but USF fans probably didn’t care.

South Florida has moved past its first-ever status established in 1997. The Bulls, coached by Lou Holtz’s son, Skip, upset (16) Notre Dame last Saturday. The Holtzs coached and played, respectively, at NDU.

UTSA isn’t a Catholic University, but San Antonio has a significant Catholic presence. Next up on the agenda, parents and players will be praying for a victory over McMurry University (Texas). The War Hawks will be in town from Abilene to face the Roadrunners this Saturday.

If the Runners can start 2-0, then excitement will be running rampant in an additional part of the Greater San Antonio—the Alamodome’s surrounding district.

Contact Lake Cruise at lakecruise@att.net.