In the end, the clock struck midnight on Cinderella — but not before she threw a helluva scare into the wicked Power Five stepmother.
Taking a scant four-point lead out of the locker room and into the third quarter, Arizona pushed that lead to 10 points very early in the fourth quarter and hung on for a hard-fought 26-23 win over scrappy UT-San Antonio. The Roadrunners had been seeking their first win over a Power Five school in the program’s brief history; they’ll have to settle instead for their closest loss to such a team, besting the 56-35 loss to Oklahoma State in September of 2013.
What could’ve been, though.
A three-yard touchdown run by Dan Glasco II with roughly 7:30 minutes left pulled UTSA to within three at 26-23. That could’ve actually been the tying score as a 25-yard field goal attempt a few minutes earlier sailed (just barely) wide right.
UTSA had a pair of final chances to at least tie the game, beginning with a forced three-and-out with just over five minutes remaining. On the ensuing possession, however, the Roadrunners were also forced to punt after just three plays. After forcing yet another three-and-out and taking over at their own 15-yard line, UTSA’s last-gasp drive died out four plays later on a very ill-advised and inexplicable shovel pass off the right hand of quarterback Tucker Carter.
“Well, obviously a very disappointing loss for us. Really proud of our team. They fought hard,” head coach Larry Coker said, one day after the third anniversary of the football program’s first-ever win. “They were down in the middle of the mat, got off the mat, fought back, got ahead, had some chances, and really proud of the way we played. I think the thing we’ll learn a lot from this game. I think we improved a lot in some areas. As I told our team, I see glimpses of what can be.
“I think we got some special things going here, and I see that, and I want them to see it. But now we can’t take a step backwards, we’ve got to keep on moving forward. Schedule doesn’t get any easier. We’re going to Stillwater next week, and I saw them play the No. 1 team in the country to the hilt.”
Offensively, the Wildcats were led by Nick Wilson. The four-star true freshman, making his first career start in place of an injured Terris Jones-Grigsby, rushed for 174 yards on 30 carries, including a two-yard touchdown run late in the first half that gave the Wildcats their halftime lead. Jared Tevis‘ fourth-quarter interception sealed the game for the Wildcats, while he also led the team with 16 tackles.
The win pushes UA to 2-0 on the young season, with a home date against Nevada next Saturday. UTSA, now 1-1, will look to exact revenge on the OSU Cowboys in Stillwater the same weekend.