Frank Wilson held court at CUSA Media days in July of 2017. One story pushed by the beat writers assembled was whether or not he was long for the head job in San Antonio. After all, he had led UTSA to its first bowl appearance in the program’s short history.
UTSA had the defense, the QB, and a fresh haul of talented recruits to do some damage in the league’s west division. Everything looked good until Southern Miss came to the Alamodome and eviscerated the stout defense coached by a future Nick Saban hire. This was followed by another poor defensive performance against North Texas that included a 7-play, 98-yard game losing drive.
The defense, however bad in those two losses, was the bright spot in this season, leading the league in scoring defense at 17 per game. Pete Golding was held in high enough esteem to get a job with Saban, and the numbers point to a good defense that had little support from the other side.
The other side, of course, had record-setting QB Dalton Sturm at the helm, and he was the lone bright spot in an offense that sputtered and looked inept. Offensive Coordinator Frank Scelfo was eventually fired for his part in the disaster, as his pro-style offense was predictable and unable to execute when it counted.
In a league that saw the number one and two scoring offenses go to the championship game (FAU at 40.6 and NT at 35.5) UTSA finished 10th in the league at 23.5. The Runners finished above ODU, Rice, Charlotte, and UTEP.
To win in this league, you have to score.
After losing the heartbreaker in Denton, UTSA barely outlasted Rice, mostly on the strength of future NFLer Marcus Davenport. They then beat UTEP and struggled to score against FIU, and UAB and Marshall in San Antonio. The win over the Herd included zero TDs from the offense in a 9-7 win that won bowl eligibility. Finally, losing on the road to Louisiana Tech 20-6, UTSA limped to the end.
And it was the end. For all the talk about Frank Wilson’s job prospects in July, by December he stood in front of the local media visibly disappointed as he explained that his team was not going to a bowl. Instead, he would lose a good portion of his staff* as he builds his 2018 staff and roster.
The future for the Roadrunners is uncertain, but they will have talent. The last two seasons have seen UTSA finish 3rd and 4th (so far) in the league’s recruiting rankings. Whoever is on the staff for Frank Wilson will have a full cupboard to play with.
* Everyone gone is listed here.