UTSA vs. McMurry: War Hawks, Roadrunners and Adrenaline Rushes

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UTSA vs. McMurry: War Hawks, Roadrunners and Adrenaline Rushes
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Can the UTSA Roadrunners carry their adrenaline-laced momentum into this Saturday’s game against the McMurry University (Texas) War Hawks? Or, will the effects of excitement followed by celebration send the Runners careening into a fatigue-induced flop?

Last week, UTSA came out of the tunnel to the left of their sideline with as much fire in their bellies as any team I’ve ever seen. It carried onto the field as jersey No. 1, redshirt freshman wide receiver and a team captain, Kam Jones, almost took the opening kickoff to the house.

The frenzied fans and students in the house erupted into their loudest crescendo up to that point. The noise crest was soon surpassed by the cheering after Eric Soza’s first score.

When Soza and Jones combined on an acrobatic (on Jones’ part) touchdown catch in the end zone near their team’s sideline in the first quarter to make the score 14-0, the noise went to another level. Another level came after the third touchdown in the first three offensive possessions of UTSA football history.

I expect Jones, once a dynamic touchdown-making left-handed high school quarterback in Edna, to score on at least one kickoff return before the season is over. It could happen this weekend against McMurry. When he does, if it’s in the Alamodome, it could cause the earth around the building to quake from the noise crest.

Coming from Abilene, Texas, the War Hawks have never played before a crowd the size of what was in the Alamodome last week. It seemed to affect Northeastern State last week. If MU is wondering what all the noise about UTSA is about, they’ll get to see it up close on Saturday.

Don’t oversleep on McMurry. They lost, 82-6, to Stephen F. Austin last week, but they have a good coach who is proven in big-time college football. I’ve seen teams start off with a horrible loss in the first week of the season, only to turn it around and win the next game.

If they beat UTSA, It’ll be an upset. The Hawks play in the American Southwest Conference (Division III). 

For football, the ASC includes Mary Hardin-Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, Louisiana College, Mississippi College, Sul Ross State, Texas Lutheran and East Texas Baptist. UTSA will join the WAC (FBS) in 2012.

I’ve said the Runners will be better than most experts expected. They showed me what I thought to be true; they may not have a roster full of 5-star recruits, but they have 5-star coaches.

Larry Coker has coached some of the best college football players ever: Thurman Thomas, Barry Sanders and Ed Reed—to name a few.

His defensive coordinator is no slouch. I was impressed by the way UTSA held their edges, slid off their blockers and tackled with bone-crushing force against Northeastern State. Few first-ever football teams have had this kind of coaching and these types of athletes.

The community support the team is getting has been outstanding.

I’m not sure what kind of support McMurry gets, but their coach, Hal Mumme, is no slouch. He’s in his third season coaching the War Hawks. Before signing with McMurry, he was the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats from 1997 to 2000.

He led them to the Outback Bowl (1999) and the Music City Bowl (2000). Mumme has also coached at New Mexico State. In his 20 years of coaching college football, his record is 118-113.

The Hawks are 16-63 since the 2001 season. They were 0-10 in 2008. But, they are 10-10 under Mumme and picked to finish No. 2 in the ACS.

According to the team’s web site, their offense last season—nicknamed Air Raid—ranked No. 2 in the nation in passing. Coach Mumme has 59 returning players, including nine starters on each side of the ball.

Quarterback Jake Mullin and wide receiver R.J. Long are projected to be among the best in the country.

I have my own projection about the outcome of this game and you’re probably experiencing an adrenaline rush in anticipation of what it is.

 

Prediction:

I believe the Roadrunners will continue their momentum and defeat McMurry University, 41-10. Check with me next week to see how right, or wrong, I was and to read my thoughts.

 

Notes:

-Abilene is 245 miles (U.S. I-87 N) from San Antonio—about four-and-a-half hours by motor vehicle.

-The highest attendance ever for an ASC game was 10,200. So, UTSA will probably break yet another record. The Alamodome holds 65,000 people.

 

Facts:

-The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is the two-time defending Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl champions. They’ve won three out of the last four Division III football national championships.

-Mount Union (Ohio) is the most dominant football power in D3 history, having won 10 national championships since 1993.

 

Contact Lake Cruise: lakecruise@att.net.

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