UTSA will begin their first ever season as a full Football Bowl Subdivision member as they head to Houston to open the Cougar's new stadium, TDECU Stadium, on Friday night.
It is the first time the Roadrunners will not be playing on a Saturday, as a result of the match being rescheduled for television, with the game showing on ESPN U.
The Roadrunners are coming in one shy of a program record with five straight wins closing out the 2013 season and will come in with a nation leading 37 seniors for the 2014 season.
That run could well come to an end on Friday with Houston determined to break the seal on their new stadium in the best way possible. It would also be in line with history, with Cougars winning their only previous meeting with an impressive fourth quarter performance with a 59-28 win.
UTSA head coach, Larry Coker, reflected on Houston's ability in his weekly media round table "First off, the quarterback is good, and they have size and excellent speed. Houston has always had good speed in that program. They have a positive mindset. They have the confidence that they are going to be good and that is a lot of it... We are playing big time competition and the Houston Cougars are big time competition for us."
Houston's domination of the 2013 game augers as a sign of not only ending UTSA's winning streak but also would seem to likely end their streak of season openers, having never lost an opening match in school history.
The game brings something of a rivalry in to the encounter, with 14 of the Roadrunners, along with a significant percentage of the student body, hailing from Houston. In addition there will be three former members of UTSA on the coaching staff with former offensive coordinator, Travis Bush, former recievers coach, Tony Jeffery and, most notably, inaugural quarterback, Eric Soza, all serving coaching roles for the Cougars.
Despite all of UTSA’s experience, losing Soza has come as a big hit with Tucker Carter, the leader on the depth chart in the position, the only player with any experience, with just five appearances off the bench in the 2013 season, the third lowest for a starting quarterback in the FBS.
Carter is the only member of UTSA's quarterback team that has had any game time as Austin Robinson and Blake Bogenschutz both come in as freshmen.
Despite that, Coker was confident, "We are a better football team now and we have more talent. We are going to have to play better on Friday, but we are a more talented team, we are stronger, we are bigger and we have more experience and all those types of things, so I certainly feel better about this team going into the first game."
UTSA have been tipped to come third in their Conference-USA division and could go a long way to that by winning against Houston on Friday but it will certainly be against the odds.