UTSA to face No. 24 San Diego State in bid of securing first bowl win
December 21, 2021
The University of Texas at San Antonio is set to face No. 24 San Diego when the two top non-power conference teams in the nation lock horns Tuesday night in the Frisco Bowl at Frisco, Texas.
Despite operating outside the national spotlight, the two programs have been enjoying big campaigns. UTSA is currently 12-1 while San Diego is 11-2. The Conference USA team UTSA is in its 10th season as an FBS program. They are currently looking for the program's maiden bowl victory. They are also currently eyeing a 13th victory.
Meanwhile, the Mountain West San Diego State is in its bid to win 12 games for the first time in the school’s Division I history. The school previously won 11 games in 1969, 2015 and 2016.
The Aztecs, however, barely held a candle to Utah as they were defeated 46-13 in their Mountain West title game on December 4. The humiliation came as shocking news as San Diego State allowed 16 or fewer points on seven occasions this season.
“We are 11-2, and many football teams would like to be 11-2, but we would rather be 12-1, but that is where we are right now,” Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said. “We can also set the school record for wins. We have an opportunity to still play for that.”
UTSA has been further weakened as Roadrunners star running back Sincere McCormick announced that he would skip Tuesday’s game as he had decided to enter the NFL draft.
After setting school records for rushing yards at 1,479 and rushing touchdowns at 15, McCormick received multiple All-American honors, including the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year honors. This season, the player also recorded eight 100-yard rushing efforts.
“To the city of San Antonio, UTSA and Meep Meep nation, I am so grateful for the support you have shown not just me, but the entire football program over the last three years,” McCormick said in part during his announcement.
McCormick's departure from the team is but a blow to UTSA's offense that averaged 37.9 points per game and scored 44 or more points on six occasions. The team, however, held their heads high as with under second-year coach Jeff Traylor they managed to run a brilliant campaign. Their only major loss was the 45-23 road defeat by North Texas on November 27.
“It’s always fun to win," Traylor said. "We don’t like to talk about it very much, but we’ve experienced that other thing this year and we don’t want to do that again. That is what is most important, for our kids to leave on a good note. In the history of the program, we’ve never won a bowl game.
“Why not us? Some team is going to be the first to win a bowl game in the history of this school. Why not us?”
San Diego's plan
San Diego State players said they "are going to have fun" in Texas, but also "staying focused trying to get that 12th win,” said defensive lineman Jonah Tavai.
San Diego State is equipped with star linebacker in Cameron Thomas who had 20.5 tackles for loss. However, their current talk of the town is Matt Araiza who won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter. His current 51.4 average is above Texas A&M’s Braden Mann at 50.98 in 2018.
Araiza is a unanimous first-team All-American. He has placed 36 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. He also has recorded six punts of at least 70 yards, including boots of 86 and 81 yards.
“I think that one rolled about 20 yards,” Araiza said. “Someone downed it at their 3.”