Sports

UTSA loses second straight

By UTSA Athletics
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UNT sophomore Rico Bussey runs in the game-winning touchdown against the UTSA secondary making the Roadrunners fall to 3-2 on the season. (Photo/ Colin Mitchell)

Rico Bussey’s 22-yard touchdown catch with 10 seconds left to play lifted North Texas to a 29-26 victory over UTSA in Conference USA action on Saturday night at Apogee Stadium.

Facing third down and one from the Roadrunners’ 22-yard line, Mean Green quarterback Mason Fine hit Bussey on a short crossing pattern, and Bussey tiptoed down the right sideline and into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

UTSA (3-2, 0-2) had one final chance but was flagged for an illegal forward pass on a lateral play as time expired, as North Texas (4-2, 3-0) won for just the second time in five tries in the all-time series.

“We all share in hurt because the preparation, a lot goes into those 60 minutes, a lot of hours as players and coaches alike,” said UTSA head coach Frank Wilson. “We all hurt about it, but what do you do, you move to the next one. We don’t sit around and wallow in sorrow or self-pity. We get ready for the next game, which is Rice.”

Marcus Davenport recorded eight tackles, four for loss, including a career-best 2.5 sacks, while Josiah Tauaefa also posted eight stops and one TFL to lead the UTSA defense.

Offensively, Jalen Rhodes rushed for 71 yards and added a pair of catches for 45 yards, including a 46-yard TD reception with a little more than five minutes remaining that gave the Roadrunners a 26-22 lead.

The UTSA defense got the ball back to the offense with 1:28 to play after forcing a turnover on downs. However, the Mean Green forced a three-and-out and took over after a punt at their own 2-yard line with 1:07 on the clock.

Fine completed a 49-yard desperation heave to Michael Lawrence that put the ball at the UTSA 31. A 9-yard pass to Jaelon Darden helped set up the game-winning TD.

“We have to control the things that we can. We have six on our schedule starting with this one and we control it. We need to try to get this one, check that box, get one in the win column in Conference USA West,” continued Wilson.

Fine passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Mean Green offense. Jalen Guyton hauled in eight passes for 182 yards and a pair of scores.

The Mean Green stormed out to 13-0 lead thanks to a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. Fine scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper to cap a 17-play, 88-yard drive that took 7:25 off the clock on the game’s opening possession. Fine then hit Guyton on a 77-yard TD pass down the right sideline. The extra point was no good after a bad snap.

The Roadrunners responded on their next touch. Following a career-long 51-yard kickoff return by Brett Winnegan, Dalton Sturm found Tyrell Clay all alone on a wheel route down the left sideline for a 41-yard TD pass. Jared Sackett’s extra point made it 13-7 with 4:38 left in the opening stanza.

Trevor Moore drilled a 23-yard field goal near the end of the quarter to give the home team a 16-7 lead through the first 15 minutes of play.

Sackett split the uprights from 42 yards out early in the second quarter to pull UTSA to within six.

The Roadrunners took their first lead of the night with two minutes left until halftime. On third down and six from the North Texas 8-yard line, Sturm scrambled and fumbled after a hard hit just shy of the goal line. Stefan Beard came away with the loose football in the end zone and Sackett’s PAT made it 17-16.

After Nate Gaines picked off his second pass of the season to set up UTSA in Mean Green territory, Sackett split the uprights from 37 yards out to push the lead to 20-16.

North Texas reclaimed the lead on a 32-yard TD pass from Fine to Guyton early in the fourth quarter. Another bad snap led to another missed extra-point attempt, leaving the score at 22-20.

UTSA will look to rebound from back-to-back losses by a combined five points when it hosts Rice (1-5, 1-1) in its annual Homecoming game on Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Alamodome. This will mark the sixth all-time meeting between the Roadrunners and the Owls, making it the most-played series in program history. UTSA has won the last two match-ups against Rice and is 3-3 all-time in Homecoming games.

“They lead our league in the least amount of penalties. They don’t turn the ball over. They’ll look to run the ball if they stay true to their identity. They’re a run-oriented team but they’ll pass and take shots when opportunities present it,” concluded Wilson.

 

 

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Roadrunners tame Southern Jaguars

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Running back Jalen Rhodes scores on an eight-yard run during the first quarter on his way to his total of 169 rushing yards. (Photo/ Kristian Jaime)

Following a win over their first power five conference opponent, UTSA improved to 2-0 after a 51-17 blowout of the Southern University Jaguars.

For the first time in the program’s history they found pay dirt seven times in the first seven possessions of the game. It was that prolific offense that racked up 502 total yards with 335 in the air and 167 coming by way of rushing.

“To start the year 2-0 [means] we’re on the right track. So that was our goal to take care of this game,” said UTSA head coach Frank Wilson. “We challenged our team to be beyond reproach and take the first game, historic as it was, to be put in its proper place. We need to look at the next opponent and prepare for them.”

Senior quarterback Dalton Sturm went 19-22 for the Roadrunners on his way to a 257.9 passer efficiency  rating–a school record for the Goliad, Texas native.

Defensively, UTSA closed the door on many early drives by the Jaguars limiting them to only 149 total yards of offense for the entire game. That, too, was also a school record and extended the streak to four opponents unable to reach the 300-yard mark against UTSA.

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UTSA had a stout defense all game long stalling any drives Southern University tried to mount. (Photo/Kristian Jaime)

Things went from bad to worse for the Southern offense as their stable of quarterbacks suffered six tackles for a loss, five sacks, seven quarterback hurries and three interceptions, as Southern combined to complete 9-of-26 passes for 65 yards.

“I think physicality down in the trenches is where you saw the difference in the ball game,” said Southern University head coach Dawson Odums. “They moved the ball up and down the field and we couldn’t do anything. They’re a very good football team and they play well. We struggled early and it made it tough.”

The rout was on early with UTSA already up 21-0 at the end of first quarter. Southern would not get on the board until the third quarter with an interception return for 61 yards. UTSA held the Jaguars to only 1-13 third down conversions  as the Runners now prepare for the I-35 rivalry game against Texas State at Bobcat Stadium.

To date, the two teams have only faced off once with UTSA edging out the Bobcats 38-31 five years ago in the Alamodome.

Tickets for the Sept. 23 match-up in San Marcos, Texas are available through Texas State Athletics.

 

 

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Runners outlast Baylor in season opener

By UTSA Athletics
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Roadrunner tailback Jalen Rhodes rushed for some of his 103 positive yards during the 17-10 UTSA victory over the Baylor Bears in Waco, Texas. (Photo/ Ronald Martinez)

The UTSA defense held Baylor to its lowest point total in seven years in a 17-10 victory, the first-ever win against a Power 5 Conference team, on Saturday night at McLane Stadium.

Dalton Sturm piled up 253 yards of offense. He also completed 15-of-20 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns and the senior from Goliad added a career-high 98 yards on the ground in leading the Roadrunners to their sixth win in seven all-time season openers.

“We thought there were some things that we would be able to do, one being time of possession. And so I think we had 38 to their 21. So we were able to take care of the ball and keep it on our side,” said UTSA head coach Frank Wilson.

Junior running back Jalen Rhodes posted his second career 100-yard game with 103 on 20 carries, as UTSA tallied 375 yards of total offense and kept possession for 38 minutes and two seconds.

Meanwhile, the UTSA defense held the Bears (0-2) to 274 total yards and 10 points, their fewest points since a 45-10 setback to TCU on Sept. 18, 2010. Carl Austin III posted a team-high six tackles, including 2.5 for loss, while C.J. Levine added five stops and a pass breakup. Marcus Davenport had three tackles, including a sack that made him the program’s career leader with 14.5, while Nate Gaines had a pair of stops and his fifth career interception. As a unit, UTSA registered four sacks and 10 TFLs.

Following a scoreless first quarter, the Bears took advantage of a muffed punt midway through the second quarter to get on the board first. Ross Matiscik’s recovery set up the home team at the UTSA 20-yard line. On the next play, Anu Solomon found Denzel Mims in the corner of the end zone for the game’s first score.

UTSA tied things up just before halftime. On third-and-goal from the seven, Sturm hit Josh Stewart on a crossing pattern and Victor Falcon’s extra point made it 7-7 with 27 seconds left before intermission. That capped a 16-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up 8:06 off the clock.

“We wanted to go out and play to the best of our ability. We’re still not there yet. Certainly it wasn’t a perfect game. We had some flaws to route in all aspects of it but certainly a step in the right direction for our program,” continued Wilson.

It did not take the Roadrunners long to strike in the second half. On the second play of the opening drive, Sturm got loose for a 40-yard dash down the left sideline to the Baylor 29. He then hit Kerry Thomas Jr. in the flat, and the senior wide receiver broke a tackle and took it to the house to give the visitors their first lead of the night. The TD reception was the 14th of his career, a school record.

Falcon extended the UTSA advantage early in the fourth quarter when he split the uprights from 38 yards out to make it 17-7.

Baylor made things interesting late in the fourth when Connor Martin drilled a 20-yard field goal with 2:40 left to cut the deficit to 17-10.

The Bears then forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at their own 39 with just over two minutes remaining. The UTSA defense stepped up the pressure and forced four straight incompletions, giving the ball back to the visitors on downs.

Solomon completed just 10-of-26 for 121 yards and the lone TD, while John Lovett led the Baylor ground attack with 72 yards.

“When we came off the field, to see all of UTSA, administration alike, band alike, it doesn’t matter –everybody had a part in it and it’s just really good to share it with everyone,” concluded Wilson.

The Roadrunners will open their home schedule against Southern next Saturday, Sept 16. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at the Alamodome and the game will be televised locally on KCWX-TV. Tickets are on sale by calling (210) 458-UTSA or visiting http://goutsa.com/sports/2016/1/21/Tickets.aspx.

 

 

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Hickey steps down as AD

By UTSA Athletics
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Lynn Hickey recently announced she would be stepping down as Athletic Director for the University of Texas at San Antonio as the 2017-18 college football season starts with an opener against Baylor University. (Photo/ Courtesy)

University of Texas at San Antonio Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey today announced she is stepping down from her position for personal reasons, effective immediately.

Hickey joined UTSA in 1999, leading the Roadrunners to three conference commissioner’s cups, two league all-sports trophies and team and individual academic and athletics awards in all 17 sports programs at the university. During Hickey’s tenure, UTSA competed in the Southland Conference from 2000 to 2012, during which time it added women’s golf, women’s soccer and football, then moved up to the Western Athletic Conference where it played for a year before joining Conference USA in 2013.

UTSA made history in 2011 when it brought NCAA Division I football to San Antonio. Since that time, the Roadrunners have drawn more than one million fans to their home games. In 2016, the Roadrunners were invited to their first bowl game, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

“Lynn has done a remarkable job of building our athletic programs and elevating their level of performance and stature,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “With this foundation in place, our academic, research and athletic programs are all positioned to take major steps forward in our pursuit to make UTSA a great learning and discovery enterprise. We thank Lynn for her service and will always look to her as one of UTSA’s most loyal fans.”

In addition to being the only female Division I athletics director to oversee both men’s and women’s sports in the state of Texas, Hickey served as president of the Southland from 2002-2004 and as the league’s representative to the NCAA Championship/Competition Cabinet. Hickey also was a member of the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee from 2003-2006, spending the final two years of that term as chair. In 2007, she was named to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, one of the most prestigious appointments in all of collegiate athletics.

“For the past 18 years, I have been a Roadrunner, and for that, I am truly blessed. I had the opportunity to join UTSA in 1999 when it was a young university, and I have seen so much growth and excitement build around athletics, both at the university and in the San Antonio community,” said Hickey. “After a lot of reflection related to my family obligations, and with great pride in all we have accomplished in UTSA Athletics, it is time for a new leader to take the program to its next level.”

UTSA will immediately launch a national search for a new athletic director. During the transition, Sam Gonzales, UTSA Vice President for Student Affairs, will serve as Interim Athletic Director. Gonzales has been with UTSA for more than 40 years and, as Vice President for Student Affairs, has overseen athletics since 2012.

“As I embark on the next chapter of my life, I will continue to be one of UTSA’s most loyal fans. Incredible success awaits our Roadrunners, and I will always carry UTSA in my heart,” concluded Hickey.

For more information on UTSA Athletics, visit the university homepage.

 

 

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Valero Alamo Bowl gives $6M for Alamodome upgrades

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The Valero Alamo Bowl is one of the main economic drivers on the city’s calendar. It is also a nationally televised game featuring top college teams. (Photo/ Kristian Jaime)

San Antonio City Council unanimously approved extending a license agreement with the San Antonio Bowl Association, the host organization of the Valero Alamo Bowl, from February 2019 to February 2030 and accepting $6 million for technology upgrades at the Alamodome.

This new funding brings the total amount for improvements to the Alamodome to $60 million.

The Alamodome, which is currently undergoing a major improvement project as part of a commitment to host the 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball tournament, will utilize the additional funding for an expanded public Wi-Fi system, two additional video screens and sound system upgrades. These enhancements have been identified to significantly improve the fan and attendee experience at the Alamodome.

“We are ecstatic that the San Antonio Bowl Association is investing in the customer experience at the Alamodome to directly affect those attending the Valero Alamo Bowl each year as well as the more than 100 events the facility hosts annually,” said Michael Sawaya, director of the City’s Convention & Sports Facilities Department. “These technological enhancements will also better enable the Alamodome to competitively bid on future marquee national sporting events, including the College Football National Championship.”

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Among the numerous events at the Alamodome is the annual Big League Weekend featuring the Texas Rangers. (Photo/ Kristian Jaime)

The Convention & Sports Facilities Department identified $3 million in the City’s 2017 Mid-Year Budget Adjustment for its Community and Visitors Facilities Fund that, when coupled with $6 million from the Bowl Association, provides $9 million for these additional improvements.

“After last year’s extensions of our ESPN, Big 12 and Pac-12 agreements through the 2025 college football season, our focus became how to best enhance the City’s improvements to the facility to provide the best in-venue experience possible,” said Derrick Fox, president and CEO of the Valero Alamo Bowl. “We are looking forward to unveiling the renovated Alamodome this fall to fans, our participating universities and our patrons as well as parties interested in bringing future neutral site games to San Antonio.”

The San Antonio Bowl Association is the longest-running tenant at the Alamodome. Later this year, the City of San Antonio and the Association will celebrate a decades-long partnership with the 25th Annual Valero Alamo Bowl. The Valero Alamo Bowl has drawn more than 1.4 million spectators since its beginning, and has generated in excess of $484 million in direct economic impact locally.

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Pair of Roadrunners find NFL home

By UTSA Athletics
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Former UTSA running back Jarveon Williams (left) joins the Cincinnati Bengals while former safety Jordan Moore signed with the Atlanta Falcons. (Photos/Courtesy)

Former UTSA running back Jarveon Williams and safety Jordan Moore have officially made it to an NFL roster. Williams will go to the Cincinnati Bengals while Jordan will join the Atlanta Falcons.

Williams was one of 13 undrafted college free agents that have agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Bengals, the National Football League (NFL) franchise announced on recently.

Williams, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 200 pounds, is the second Roadrunner to be announced as a new member of an NFL club this spring and he becomes the eighth player in program history to join the professional ranks.

The local product from Converse Judson High School, saw action in all 13 games (12 starts) as a senior and rushed for a team-leading 900 yards on a squad-best 207 carries (4.3 avg.) while ranking second on the club with eight touchdowns. He produced four 100-yard outings, including a season-best 125 yards on 16 carries against New Mexico in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 17).

He added 122 yards, including a program-record 92-yarder, and two scores on just 15 attempts against Southern Miss (Oct. 8), racked up 109 yards and matched the school’s single-game mark with three rushing TDs, on 21 totes at Middle Tennessee (Nov. 5) and rushed for 104 yards on 21 carries against UTEP (Oct. 22). Williams had 95 yards, including a 46-yarder, and two touchdowns on 18 attempts at Louisiana Tech (Nov. 12) and accumulated 93 yards and a score on 21 totes at Old Dominion (Sept. 24).

He also caught 18 passes for another 212 yards (11.8 avg.) and registered career highs of five receptions for 81 yards, including a 48-yarder, against Arizona State (Sept. 16). Williams also hauled in three passes for 54 yards, including a 33-yarder, in the regular season finale against Charlotte (Nov. 26).

He even tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass against UTEP.

Williams is finished his career as UTSA’s all-time leading rusher with 2,393 yards on the strength of a program-record eight of the program’s 16 all-time 100-yard rushing performances. He also ranks second on the school’s career (19) and single-season (8/2016 & 2015) rushing touchdown charts.

Williams was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection following a junior season that saw him become the Roadrunners’ first 1,000-yard rusher after racking up 1,042 yards.

Former UTSA safety Jordan Moore, on the other hand, was one of 21 undrafted college free agents that have agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons, the National Football League (NFL) franchise announced recently.

Moore, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 225 pounds, is the first Roadrunner to be announced as a new member of an NFL club this spring.

The former NCAA All-American in track & field earned honorable mention All-Conference USA accolades in his first collegiate campaign playing defense last fall. He appeared in all 13 games with 12 starts, registering 49 tackles (22 solos/27 assists), three pass breakups, one interception and a forced fumble. Moore also averaged 20.2 yards on five kickoff returns, including a season-long 32-yarder at Colorado State (Sept. 10).

He posted a season-best eight stops at No. 22 Texas A&M (Nov. 19) and added seven tackles at Colorado State (Sept. 10). Moore also picked off a pass and racked up six stops at Middle Tennessee (Nov. 5).

He is a native of Atlanta.

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UTSA holds Fiesta Spring Game

By UTSA Athletics
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With the season opener slated for September 2 against the Houston Cougars in the Alamodome, the final touches are already being made. (Photo/Courtesy)

The Orange and White battled to a 56-56 tie using a modified scoring system at the Seventh Annual UTSA Football Fiesta Spring Game presented by HealthTexas Medical Group on Saturday at Dub Farris Stadium.

The Orange (offense) piled up 397 total yards, including 307 through the air, and scored eight touchdowns, while the White (defense) had a pair of fumble returns for TDs in the spirited, two-hour scrimmage in front 3,102 fans.

Four UTSA quarterbacks combined for 23-of-48 passing and five touchdowns through the air.

Dalton Sturm threw for a team-high 120 yards and a TD on 11-of-22 passing. Bryce Rivers completed six passes for 97 yards and a score. Jaylon Henderson was 3-for-6 for 57 yards and a TD, while Manny Harris tossed for a pair of touchdowns as part of his three completions and 33 yards.

The ground game churned out 90 yards on 28 carries, led by 48 yards and a pair of scores on 10 totes from Tyrell Clay.

Josh Stewart led the receiving corps with five catches for 54 yards and a TD, as 13 different players recorded a reception. Clay added three for 37 yards, while Seth Damrow had a pair of early catches for 47 yards.

Meanwhile, Carl Austin III, La’Kel Bass and Marcos Curry registered four tackles apiece and DeQuarius Henry and King Newton both returned fumbles for touchdowns for lead the defense.

Henry picked up a fumble and returned it 77 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

Newton made the final play of the game memorable, as he scooped up a fumble after a sack by Jacob Vasquez and rumbled 60 yards for a TD.

The Orange got off to a quick start and eventually built a 16-point halftime advantage.

On the second possession of the game, Victor Falcon split the uprights from 31 yards out to cap a seven-play, 51-yard drive and give the Orange a 6-3 lead.

Two drives later, Sturm hooked up with Stewart on a 28-yard touchdown pass to end a four-play, 50-yard scoring march.

On the next possession for the Orange, Harris broke loose for a 32-yard scamper to help set up a 6-yard TD connection with Greg Campbell Jr. The extra point extended the lead to 22-6, which stood through the end of the first half.

Falcon added two more field goals early in the second half, one from 25 and another from 49 yards out.

Henderson had a 13-yard TD run and an 8-yard scoring connection with Jesse Ebozue early in the fourth quarter.

Clay’s two touchdown runs came from seven and one yard out and Dannon Cavil caught a 15-yard pass from Harris.

Kirk Johnson Jr, hauled in a 9-yard TD pass from Rivers, while Falcon and Daniel Portillo drilled field goals from 33 and 23 yards, respectively, before Newton’s fumble return on the final play of the day.

The Roadrunners will open their seventh season of play on Saturday, Sept. 2, when they host Houston at the Alamodome.

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C-USA unveils 2017 UTSA schedule

By UTSA Athletics
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UTSA returns for another year looking to build on the success of a bowl-game appearance last year. (Photo/ Kristian Jaime)

Conference USA unveiled its 2017 football schedule on Thursday and UTSA will play eight league games, all on Saturdays, this fall.

Following non-conference home games against Houston (Sept. 2) and Southern (Sept. 16) and road dates with Baylor (Sept. 9) and Texas State (Sept. 23), the Roadrunners will enjoy their lone bye of the campaign.

UTSA then will open its fifth season of C-USA play on Oct. 7 at the Alamodome against Southern Miss.

The Roadrunners’ first league road tilt will take place the following week at North Texas (Oct. 14). A home contest against Rice (Oct. 21) and another road date, this time at UTEP (Oct. 28), will close out the month of October.

UTSA then will head to FIU (Nov. 4) to start November, but consecutive home games will follow against UAB (Nov. 11) and Marshall (Nov. 18). That will mark the only time the Roadrunners will play two home tilts in a row during the 2017 season.

UTSA will conclude the regular season slate on the road when it heads to Louisiana Tech on Nov. 25. It will mark the first time in program history that the Roadrunners will not host a game after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The 2017 C-USA alignment will feature seven teams in both the West and East Divisions. Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP and UTSA make up the West, while Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and Western Kentucky comprise the East Division.

Each school will play every team in its division once for six games, while playing two cross-over opponents from the opposite division.

After having stand-alone schedules for the past four seasons due to realignment, the 2017 season marks the return to a multi-year schedule rotation that will be in place for the next several seasons. Due to the move from 13 teams to 14 for 2017, some teams will play division opponents at the same location as 2016, a situation that was unavoidable with the West Division moving from six teams to seven teams.

The 2017 schedule has 13 playing weeks, which provides for one open date for each team. It also complies with C-USA scheduling policies as approved by the Board of Directors. In addition, the schedule provides the following:

· All teams finish their conference schedule with two games of one at home and one away.

· Nearly all teams have two home games and two away games in the first half of the league schedule as well as the second half; and

· All bye weeks take place between Weeks 4 and 9.

A schedule of televised games will be released at a later date and all contests are subject to date changes, as some are expected to move in the coming weeks in order accommodate national television.

C-USA’s 13th annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West Divisions, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2.

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Kawhi Leonard named All-Star starter

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Kawhi Leonard will join a star-studded line-up at the 2017 All-Star Game. (Photo/ Courtesy)

The NBA recently announced San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has been selected to be a starter in the 2017 All-Star Game.

The sixth-year Spur was voted by fans, players and media into the game to be held on Sunday, Feb. 19 in New Orleans.

Now named a starter in back-to-back seasons after making his first All-Star appearance last year, Leonard becomes the fifth Spurs player in franchise history to be selected as an All-Star starter more than once, joining George Gervin, Alvin Robertson, David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Leonard has helped lead the Spurs to a 32-9 record this season and was part of making 2016 San Antonio’s winningest calendar year in franchise history (66-15). The NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons, Leonard is averaging career highs in points (24.8 ppg), assists (3.1 apg), free throw percentage (.907, 253-279) and minutes (33.2 mpg), also posting 5.7 rebounds and 1.85 steals per game while shooting .488 (318-651) from the floor and .417 (80-192) from long distance in 39 appearances.

The 2014 NBA Finals MVP currently ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw percentage, sixth in steals and 10th in scoring. Posting 12 games with 30-or-more points, he has the most 30-point games by a Spur in the first half of the season since David Robinson’s 13 in 1995-96. Leonard is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 20.0 points while shooting over 40.0 percent from three-point range and 90.0 percent from the free throw line.

This season, Leonard made his 300th career start and registered 235 wins in those games, the most of any player in league history through 300 starts. Leonard currently has the highest winning percentage in NBA history (.780, 283-80) out of all players who have played at least 350 games. His current 24.8 points per game is the highest scoring average by a Spurs player since Tim Duncan averaged 25.5 points in his 2001-02 MVP season.

Having scored double figures in each of the last 73 games, Leonard’s active streak is the longest by a Spur since Duncan’s 75 straight in 2005. With 30-or-more points in each of his last four contests, Leonard became the first player in San Antonio franchise history to ever post at least 30 points while shooting at least 60.0 percent in four straight games.

Joining Leonard as Western Conference starters are: Stephen Curry (Golden State), James Harden (Houston), Kevin Durant (Golden State) and Anthony Davis (New Orleans).

The 66th NBA All-Star Game will tip off on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The game will be seen by fans in more than 200 countries and territories and will be heard in more than 40 languages.

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UTSA back to winning ways in blowout

By UTSA Athletics

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After a five-overtime loss to UTEP, the Roadrunners were eager to get a win under their belt.

Jalen Rhodes and Jarveon Williams rushed for 74 yards apiece to help lead UTSA to a 31-17 victory against North Texas in Conference USA action on Saturday night at the Alamodome.

The running backs led a balanced offensive attack by the Roadrunners (4-4, 3-2 C-USA), who registered their third all-time win in four tries against the Mean Green (4-4, 2-2 C-USA).

“I thought our defense was lights out. You look at them shutting the offense, the opponents’ offense out in the first half,” said Roadrunner head coach Frank Wilson. “To come back the second half, they got a quarterback draw that went the distance, and then after that, we kind of buckled down and did the things necessary to prevent them from getting in the end zone.”

Rhodes piled up his 74 yards on just nine carries (8.2 avg) and added a pair of touchdowns to increase his team-leading totals to seven on the ground and eight overall this season, which ranks second on the school’s single-season lists.

Meanwhile, Williams increased his program-leading career rushing-yards total to 1,964.

“From an offensive standpoint, we come into every game with the same aspects, just looking to run the ball and throw the ball when necessary and just take care of business,” said UTSA running back Jalen Rhodes. “We respect our opponents, and every time we line up against somebody, we know what we’re going up against, so to be able to do that and just not give them the ball is a great feeling.”

Quarterback Dalton Sturm completed 10-of-19 passes for 142 yards and two TDs, pushing his season total to 15, which stands second in program history.

The defense forced four turnovers (two fumbles/two interceptions) and was led by the trio of La’Kel Bass, Marcus Davenport and Nate Gaines, who each recorded eight tackles.

UTSA built a 14-0 halftime lead on the strength of big plays and a stiff defense.

On their second possession, the Roadrunners marched 49 yards on 11 plays to break the ice.

Sturm hit Kerry Thomas Jr. on a slant route from seven yards out to put UTSA on the board and give Thomas Jr. sole possession of the school’s single-season TD reception record with six.

“We knew where they were coming, and a couple of guys just unfortunately from a technical or technique standpoint, we fell a little short, and then we were able to calm ourselves and communicate more effectively and pick them up,” continued Wilson.

UTSA pushed its lead out to 14 when Sturm hit Josh Stewart on a 21-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone with 11:27 left in the second quarter. That play was set up by a 25-yard scramble by Sturm and an 18-yard completion to Marquez McNair.

The Roadrunners held North Texas to just 44 yards through the first 25 minutes before a late drive gave the visitors life.

The Mean Green used a 38-yard pass from Mason Fine to Jeffrey Wilson to move inside the UTSA 10-yard line in the final minute. With 11 seconds left and facing third-and-goal from the one, defensive tackle King Newton jarred the ball loose from Wilson and safety Michael Egwuagu scooped and returned it 61 yards to the North Texas 40 as time expired in the half.

“I thought we were good in spurts. Obviously we put them in some terrible situations, but you have to give credit to their offense. They came out and they did a nice job,” said UNT head coach Seth Littrell. “Their backs caused some problems in the run game and I thought their quarterback managed the game well. To me that’s the most important thing for a quarterback. You have to be able to manage it.”

North Texas got on the board on the first play from the scrimmage in the second half when quarterback Mason Fine found an open running lane and sped 80 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit in half.

UTSA was held to a three-and-out on its first drive, but the defense came up big with a fumble recovery by Jonathan Tuiolosega at the North Texas 36-yard line to help set up Victor Falcon’s 33-yard field goal with 10:47 left in the third.

On the Mean Green’s next possession, Chase Dalhquist came up with his first career interception and returned it to midfield to set up UTSA for another score. A 31-yard completion from Sturm to Stewart set up UTSA inside the North Texas 30. Four plays later, Rhodes dashed nine yards up the middle for his first touchdown run of the night to put the home team up 24-7.

“Every game you’re going to hit adversity and you just gotta overcome it. I guess we just couldn’t get in a rhythm early and it just snowballed from there,” said UNT quarterback Mason Fine. “In the second half we started moving [the ball], but we just shot ourselves in the foot with the turnovers and stuff like that. Me, personally, I have to limit the turnovers when I’m in a bad situation.”

After a North Texas field goal made it 24-10, Rhodes found paydirt again on a 19-yard scamper with just under 10 minutes remaining to push the lead to 31-10.

The Mean Green made things interesting when Fine hit Kenny Buyers with a 10-yard touchdown pass to cap an 11-play, 78-yard scoring drive that made it 31-17 with 5:45 left to play.

North Texas then recovered the onside kick near midfield and drove to the UTSA 3-yard line before an offensive pass interference call and a sack by Josiah Tauaefa pushed the visitors back to the 21 for fourth-and-goal. The UTSA defense held, as the pass went incomplete out of the back of the end zone.

Fine finished with 91 yards on 12 carries and threw for 257 and a touchdown on 27-of-38 passing. UTSA held leading rusher Jeffrey Wilson to 43 just yards on 19 carries.

The Roadrunners will open a three-game road stretch at Middle Tennessee (6-2, 3-1 C-USA) on Saturday, Nov. 5. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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Roadrunners hoping for a trifecta

By UTSA Athletics
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UTSA celebrates after running away from Southern Miss three weeks ago to kick of the winning streak in the Alamodome. (Photo/Kristian Jaime)

UTSA (3-3, 2-1 C-USA) will look to extend its winning streak to three games on Saturday night when it hosts UTEP (1-5, 0-3 C-USA) in its Homecoming contest on Saturday at the Alamodome.

“Sean Kugler is a very good football coach. He’ll want to impose who he is on his team, as they try to do from an offensive standpoint,” said UTSA head coach Frank Wilson concerning the series history against the Miners. “He’s a former offensive line guy, player and coach, and they’ll try to run the ball. That’s their forte. They’re going to try and run the ball effectively on us. They like doing it so much they’re bringing an extra tackle in the game and running unbalanced, so they’re bringing an extra linemen in do so.”

The Roadrunners, who are coming off last Saturday’s 14-13 victory at Rice, last won three straight outings when they concluded the 2013 campaign with five consecutive wins followed by a season-opening triumph the next year at Houston.

UTSA twice has posted program-record six-game winning streaks, as the Roadrunners won their season finale during their inaugural 2011 campaign followed by five straight wins to open the next season.

“It’s the same thing and maybe even more validated for the simple reason that we did things that we had not done before. We put together consecutive wins. We went into an environment where we had not had success in the past. And then you look at the myriad of ways in which you’ll be asked to win,” Wilson continued when asked about his team’s mood following the win against Rice.

Saturday will mark the 65th all-time game in school history, the 34th of which that will be played within the friendly confines of the Alamodome.

Josh Stewart hauled in a pair of touchdowns and UTSA held on for a 14-13 win at Rice in Conference USA action on Saturday night at Rice Stadium.

The Roadrunners (3-3, 2-1 C-USA) built a 14-6 halftime lead but had to hold off a furious rally in recording their first-ever win at Rice Stadium.

Stewart, a College Station native, led the offense with a career-high 103 receiving yards to record the Roadrunners’ first 100-yard receiving game since David Morgan II at Arizona in the 2015 season opener.

Additionally, Jalen Rhodes rushed for a team-high 79 yards, while Jarveon Williams gained 40 yards on the ground to become the program’s all-time rushing leader with 1,786 yards.

The offense was backed by a strong defensive effort led by La’Kel Bass’ career-best 12 tackles and another 10 from Josiah Tauaefa, as the Roadrunners held their opponent to its fewest points since a 25-6 win at UTEP on Oct. 3, 2015.

The Owls (0-6, 0-4 C-USA) grabbed an early 6-0 lead when Tyler Stehling drove the home squad 75 yards on 13 plays, capped with a 13-yard touchdown run by the senior signal caller. However, the extra-point try following the score bounced off the upright and the miss would loom large throughout the night.

“Even when [Rice] caught the ball, they were contested to be honest with you. They weren’t just running wide open and nobody’s covering them from busted coverage’s,” said Wilson. “They’ll make catches sometimes they’re acrobatic catches with defenders all over them. We had guys contesting passes. We had guys that tackled well, that gave us a chance to hold them to limited points.”

On UTSA’s second possession of the game, quarterback Dalton Sturm found Stewart open deep over the middle for a 75-yard touchdown. Victor Falcon’s extra point gave the visitors a 7-6 lead.

In the second quarter following a muffed punt that was recovered by JaColbie Butler deep inside Rice territory, Sturm hooked up again with Stewart for a 28-yard scoring connection in the right corner of the end zone. The point after pushed the Roadrunners’ lead to 14-6 with 5:01 left in the first half.

“We are five-for-five there. When we get turnovers, we turn it into points, which is a tremendous contribution from the special teams, as well as the offense, to make them count,” Wilson explained as he praised his teams point production. “As outstanding as our defense has been playing, I’ve challenged them to get us some turnovers, but I’ll take a 13-point game any day. Right now, our special teams are our starwort when it comes to turnovers.”

Rice cut the deficit to 14-12 when Samuel Stewart hauled in a 13-yard touch pass from Stehling midway through the third quarter. The Owls elected to kick the extra point to make it a one-point contest.

UTSA threatened to put the game out of reach late in the fourth.

Sturm, who threw for 194 yards and the two TDs on 15-of-22 passing, hit Larry Stephens with a 5-yard pass on second-down-and-goal that gave the visitors the ball at the Rice 2-yard line. However, the Roadrunners were stopped short of paydirt on third and fourth downs, giving the ball back to the Owls with five minutes remaining.

Rice drove quickly to the UTSA 24, but Haden Tobola’s 42-yard field goal attempt missed wide right with 1:27 left.

The Roadrunners ran the time down to 20 seconds before having to punt. Rice then put together passing plays of 18 and 19 yards down to the UTSA 27, but time expired as the home team was trying to stop the clock.

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Roadrunners fall to Sun Devils, look to ODU

By UTSA Athletics
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UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm checks off a play during the second half of the 32-28 loss to Arizona State. (Photo/Kristian Jaime)

In a contest that was not supposed to be close, the UTSA Roadrunners made it a close call for the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Kalen Ballage scored on a 2-yard run with 3:15 to play and Arizona State rallied from 16 points down in the second half for a 32-28 victory at UTSA on Friday night. The Sun Devils found themselves down early and fighting from behind nearly the entire game a week after putting up 68 points in a win over Texas Tech.

“It’s heartbreaking and [we’re] disappointed. I pointed out to the guys that we’re not quite there yet,” said UTSA head coach Frank Wilson. “We’re making leaps and bounds by the day. Great teams know how to finish. We’re a work in progress. We’re not a great team yet, but certainly we’re heading in the right direction.”

Arizona State scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and Ballage, who tied an NCAA record with eight touchdowns against Texas Tech, capped the rally when he took a direct snap and powered over the goal line. The touchdown was set up by a defensive pass interference penalty on third down one play earlier. Zane Gonzalez kicked four field goals, including two from 54 yards, for Arizona State. Manny Wilkins passed for 264 yards and two touchdowns for the Sun Devils.

Wilkins threw a 27-yard score to N’Keal Harry with three seconds left in the first half and his 45-yard pass to Frederick Gammage in the fourth quarter cut the UTSA lead to 28-25. Dalton Sturm passed for 229 yards and three touchdowns for the Roadrunners. He also ran for a career-high 82 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

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Despite a first half of hard-nosed UTSA defense, Arizona State found way to move the ball to keep garnering first downs. (Photo/Kristian Jaime)

“Proud of the effort that we had. But I felt like everybody else in the locker room, it hurts,” said UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm. “Coming into a game like this, a lot of people are calling us underdogs, but we expected to win. So it wasn’t a surprise to us. We’ve just got to find a way to finish in the fourth quarter.”

UTSA (1-2) will look to get back on the winning track on Saturday when it opens Conference USA play at Old Dominion (1-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (CT) at Ballard Stadium in Norfolk, Virginia.

The Roadrunners have won two of their previous three C-USA openers since joining the league prior to the 2013 campaign with both victories coming at UTEP (2013, ’15). In fact, UTSA will be opening the league slate on the road for the fourth consecutive season.

“They’re 1-2 to this point but seem to be much improved from last year. We were able to watch their game against Arizona State Friday night and they were winning 28-12 in the fourth quarter,” said Eric Bohannon, Old Dominion University Assistant Athletic Director for Communications. “They ended up losing 32-28, but that was against an Arizona State team that scored 65 points against Texas Tech the weekend before. UTSA plays hard, they’re well coached and they look solid in all three phases.”

The Roadrunners are coming off last Friday’s 32-28 loss against Arizona State, which was their second consecutive setback after opening the year with a 26-13 triumph against Alabama State.

Friday will mark the 62nd all-time game in school annals, the 30th of which that will be played away from the friendly confines of the Alamodome.

UTSA returns 41 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including 14 starters (seven offense/five defense/two kickers).

“Quarterback Dalton Sturm is a year older and has more experience. Right now he is accounting for 75 percent of their offense,” continued Bohannon. “If not for the sacks, he is averaging 60 yards a game when he runs the ball. He has made a lot of progress from last season, and in general they play with a lot more energy this season.”

Old Dominion has dropped its last two outings after opening the 2016 campaign with a 54-21 home victory against Hampton. The Monarchs have since lost a pair of road tilts at Appalachian State (31-7) and North Carolina State (49-22). ODU, which is led by head coach Bobby Wilder, returned 42 letterwinners and 19 starters from last year’s squad that won five games. Wilder owns a 58-29 (.667) overall mark in seven-plus seasons leading the Monarchs.

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UTSA sets its focus on Arizona State

By UTSA Athletics
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Despite the their best efforts to move the ball against a stout Colorado State defense, UTSA fell to the rams 23-14 in their first away game of the season. (Photo/Courtesy)

UTSA (1-1) will look to get back on the winning track on Friday night when it hosts Arizona State (2-0) in an 8:30 p.m. nationally televised contest at the Alamodome.

The Roadrunners are coming off last Saturday’s 23-14 loss at Colorado State, which denied them the second 2-0 start in program history (the 2012 squad started the season 2-0).

Friday will mark the 61st all-time game in school annals, the 32nd of which that will be played within the friendly confines of the Alamodome, and it also will be the UTSA’s eighth contest against a team representing a Power Five conference.

The Roadrunners previously have played three games each against both Arizona (2013-15) and Oklahoma State (2013-15), as well as another tilt against Kansas State (2015).

UTSA returns 41 letter winners from last year’s squad, including 14 starters (seven offense/five defense/two kickers).

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First year head coach Frank Wilson, takes the reigns of a program on the cusp of bowl contention in past two seasons. (Photo/Courtesy)

Arizona State is coming off Saturday’s 68-55 home victory against Texas Tech that saw junior RB Kalen Ballage tie a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) record with eight total touchdowns (7 rushing/1 receiving). Fifth-year head coach Todd Graham leads the Sun Devils, who opened the campaign two weeks ago with a 44-13 win against Northern Arizona in Tempe.

Arizona State has posted a 36-19 (.655) record during the Graham era and he owns an overall career mark of 85-48 (.639) in 10-plus seasons on the sidelines. The Sun Devils returned 71 letter winners, including 10 starters, from last year’s squad that posted an overall mark of 6-7 (4-5 Pac-12 South).

Friday will mark the first meeting in a two-game series that was announced back in April 2010. The Roadrunners will travel to Tempe to play the Sun Devils on Sept. 1, 2018.

The Runners’ last outing against Colorado State in Fort Collins ended in a nine-point, 23-14 loss.

Colorado State rushed for 220 yards, including 193 in the first half, while holding UTSA to minus-one yard on the ground en route to a 23-14 victory last Saturday in Fort Collins. Dalyn Dawkins led the Rams’ rushing attack with 68 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while Izzy Matthews added 49 and a score.

The Roadrunners threw for 236 yards using two quarterbacks. Junior Dalton Sturm completed 15-of-23 passes for 176 yards and a pair of TDs, while senior Jared Johnson added 60 yards on 5-of-7 passing. Sophomore RB Jalen Rhodes hauled in a career-high five catches for 54 yards, while junior WR Kerry Thomas Jr. added four for 41, including his second score in as many weeks.

Kick-off against Arizona State is slated for 8:30 PM on Friday, September 16.

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U.S. Swimming makes training stop in S.A.

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Five-time Olympian Michael Phelps prepares for three individual events at the Rio summer games along with the rest of the U.S. Swim Team. (Photo/Kristian Jaime)

The road to Rio has been busy for the U.S. Olympic Swim Team who prepared for competition in San Antonio.

The 47 swimmers and coaches, who will represent Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are in the Alamo City through July 21 at the Northside Swim Center to train and prepare for competition.

Among those in San Antonio included men’s head coach Bob Bowman, women’s head coach David Marsh and swimmers Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Nathan Adrian, Katie Ledecky and Olympic star Michael Phelps to name a few.

Phelps explained that his focus did not shift towards his competitors, but staying in the best physical shape with the help of Bowman. He believes that attending the training camp in San Antonio has helped him to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

“I am ready for anything that comes in my way, I think that that is a big part of my success that I have. I am prepared for anything and I am as calm as I was in 2008 when my goggles filled up with water,” said Phelps.

USA Swimming Coaching Staff (Photo, Kristian Jaime Photography)
Men’s head swimming coach for Team USA Bob Bowman (right) times laps as swimmers trained at the Northside Swim Center. (Photo/Kristian Jaime)

He dominated the Olympic Trials in Omaha earlier this month in 200m Butterfly, 200m Individual Medley and 100m Butterfly competing with Lochte and Tom Shields. Phelps started out with the 200m butterfly and defeated Tom Shields with an impressive time of 1:54.84.

He then pursued his winning streak against Lochte in the 200m Individual Medley, coming in at 1:55.91 while Lochte was 31/100s behind in the final with his time of 1:56.22. He then finished with the 100m Butterfly with a time of 51.00, the second best performance of the year in the world over this distance.

Shields came in at 51.20, coming down by 20/100s, after having swam in lane seven to record the sixth best time in the semifinals. With those impressive results, Phelps has been training long hours in San Antonio and can only expect to add to his record 22 medal.

Phelps confirmed that this will be his last Olympics to compete in and would like to spend more time with his family. Following the Rio games, swimming will be an afterthought for Phelps since the birth of his two-month-old son Boomer and upcoming wedding to fiancée Nicole Johnson.

“Becoming a parent is definitely a change; I have never gone into an Olympics like this before,” Phelps continued. “Right now, he is sick and I can’t stop worrying about and wondering if he is sleeping, eating, and getting better. This is an extra little piece that is a part of everyday in my life that I am thankful for, which is why Rio is my last lap.”

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Duncan calls it a career at 40

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Often regarded as the best power forward to to ever play the game, Spurs All-Star and five-time NBA Champion retired after all 19 season with the organization. (Photo/Courtesy)

It was a day many dreaded, but knew would eventually come. The iconic power forward of the San Antonio Spurs officially retired after 19 season.

The five-time NBA Champion and 15-time All-Star made his decision official Monday following a season where the Spurs were bounced by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the 2016 playoffs.

“It’s always been about how I feel, how my kids feel about me still playing and if I can stay healthy. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky to still survive,” said Duncan at the 2015 All-Star Game Media Day.

During a career when the “The Big Fundamental” quickly became the face of a quiet, but prolific organization, Duncan won at least 50 games the last 17 seasons, the longest streak in league history. He helped the Spurs to a franchise-best 67-15 record and also became one of two players in NBA history to record at least 26,000 points, 15,000 rebounds and 3,000 blocks in his career.

Many speculated if and when the 40 year-old would return for another season, with the rumor mill spurred on by his move to pick up his $5 million player option earlier this month. Even more expected the 1997 top draft pick back in silver and black with news that veteran guard Manu Ginobili was returning for what could be his last season.

“I did think about calling it a career after we had won the title, but I thought I could still give it one more year and still help the team,” continued Duncan following the 2014 victory over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

In a quintessentially Duncan-like move, the power forward announced his retirement without a formal press conference or a much-touted farewell tour. Head coach Gregg Popovich is scheduled to address the media tomorrow concerning Duncan’s decision and the future of the Spurs.

Upon entering the league, he quickly found himself under the wing of another Spurs legend in David Robinson. From the start, the quiet, attentive nature of the rookie seemed to fit well with Coach Pop’s rigid and meticulous style. Upon Robinson’s retirement, it did not take long for the Wake Forest star to lead San Antonio with the same understated work ethic of his mentor.

What followed was one of the most successful and prolific eras in all of professional sports. The addition of a spry and imaginative Argentinian in Manu Ginobili and a young and naturally explosive French import in Tony Parker begot an NBA record for most wins by a trio in both the regular season (575) and postseason (126).

“Not only did I have David, But I had Avery Johnson and Sean Elliot. I didn’t have to be a leader right a way so I could just sit back and listen and watch for while. I just wanted to acclimate into the league and help [the Spurs] win games,” Duncan explained in an interview with Spurs great turned ESPN analyst Bruce Bowen.

Duncan’s time under Coach Popovich was equally impressive garnering the most wins by a player-coach duo in NBA history (1,001). The Spurs icon ended his career in San Antonio as one of just three players in NBA history, joining John Stockton and Kobe Bryant, to spend 19 seasons with a single franchise.

If winning defines greatness, then the Spurs with Duncan set a mark enviable in any professional sports setting. The .710 winning percentage amassed by Spurs in 19 years is the best stretch in NBA history and was the best in all of the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.

With Duncan’s retirement made official, the clock now starts on his eventual induction into the NBA Hall of Fame. The only question now is if he will be the unanimous first-ballot inductee he as always been on and off the court.

“It’s been a journey of growth and it’s not about the destination, but journey,” concluded Duncan.

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Okotcha signs with Tennessee Titans

By UTSA Athletics
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UTSA cornerback Bennett Okotcha (far right)  will join three other former Roadrunners in the NFL this upcoming season. (Photo/Courtesy)

Bennett Okotcha has signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Tennessee Titans, the organization officially announced on Monday.

Okotcha agreed to terms after receiving a tryout invitation for this past weekend’s rookie mini-camp.

The 6-foot, 195-pound cornerback was a second-team All-Conference USA selection for the Roadrunners a year ago. He appeared in all 12 games (11 starts) and recorded 47 tackles (39 solos/8 assists), tied a program single-season record with four interceptions and added a team-leading 14 pass breakups. Okotcha picked off two passes at Southern Miss (Oct. 17) and also registered interceptions at Charlotte (Nov. 14) and against Rice (Nov. 21).

The Coppell native broke up a career-best three passes against Louisiana Tech (Oct. 10) and also had a season-high six stops in the opener at Arizona (Sept. 3) and again in the finale against Middle Tennessee (Nov. 28).

Okotcha played three seasons at UTSA after beginning his career at Oklahoma. He started 31 of 34 games played for the Roadrunners and racked up 99 tackles (71 solos/28 assists) in addition to posting the program’s second-highest career totals with six interceptions and 30 pass breakups during his time in the Alamo City. He also earned honorable mention all-league accolades as a sophomore in 2013.

He is the fourth UTSA player to land on a National Football League roster this spring.

David Morgan II became the program’s first-ever draftee on April 30 when he was selected in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings. Meanwhile, Jason Neill (Dallas Cowboys) and Brian Price (Green Bay Packers) officially were announced as undrafted free agent signees back on May 6.

Last year, the Roadrunners saw Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade sign free agent pacts with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, following the draft. Mabry initially earned a spot on the Saints’ final 53-man roster following training camp but was waived and resigned to the practice squad, where he spent the 2015 season.

Meanwhile, former track & field All-American Teddy Williams became UTSA’s first athlete to be signed by an NFL team back in July 2010 when he agreed to a free agent pact with the Dallas Cowboys during training camp.

Williams, who just completed his sixth year in the league, played in Super Bowl 50 with the Carolina Panthers this past season and he also has had stints with the Indianapolis Colts (2012), Arizona Cardinals (2013), Chicago Bears (2014) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2014) during his professional career.

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Canelo Álvarez retains Middleweight Championship titles

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Canelo Alvarez took down Amir Khan in the sixth round with a viscous hook to retain his Middleweight crown. (Photo/ Hogan Photos)

All eyes were on the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas recently as WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion was to be decided.

Canelo Álvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) successfully defended his titles in a brilliant performance with a vicious knockout of former two-time world champion Amir “King” Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) in the sixth of 12 scheduled rounds.

In the beginning, Khan’s speed proved to be tricky for Canelo, as he unleashed his famous ‘punches in bunches’ in rounds one and two

 In round three, Canelo and Khan both showed movement around the ring coupled with exchanges including a mid-ring flurry of punches from both fighters. But it was in round six that Canelo demonstrated for the crowd his famous power, landing a right hook and knocking Khan straight onto his back on the canvas, ending the fight by knockout.
 “He is a fast fighter, and I knew things would be complicated in beginning, but I knew they would come to my favor as the fight went on,” said Canelo Álvarez. “People have known me only for my power. I have many more qualities in the ring, and I showed that. I think people saw more of me tonight. Someone that comes in to box gives you more trouble and someone that comes right in is a little easier to fight.”
 “I want to thank everyone for coming,” said Amir “King” Khan. “I think it’s time for Canelo to step up to GGG, just like I stepped up to fight him. I tried as much as I could and trained very hard for this fight. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the result I wanted. Although I feel strong at this weight, I am naturally a lighter fighter and plan to go back down to welterweight. But, I like to challenge myself and that is why I took this fight. I want to be the best, and to be the best I have to fight the best.”
 “That was the most devastating knockout I have seen from Canelo,” said Oscar De La Hoya, chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “I believe it was more devastating than the Kirkland knockout.”
 “We took the risk with no concessions,” said Virgil Hunter, trainer to Amir Khan. “Amir has set the tone. He took the risk and did it.”
 For the evening’s co-main event televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View, the hard-hitting former IBF Middleweight World Champion David Lemieux (35-3, 32 KOs) dominated against Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (23-3, 15 KOs) with a technical knockout in the fourth of 10 scheduled rounds to claim the vacant NABO Middleweight Title.
 In the fourth round, Lemieux knocked Tapia down hard to the canvas, giving the fighter his first career knockdown. Tapia jumped up quickly, but his corner waved off the fight, leaving him pleading with them not to stop it.
 “I have a lot of respect for Tapia,” said David Lemieux. “I trained very hard for this fight. This is just the beginning.”
 “I was mad,” said Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia. “I know I was losing every round. I felt slow and tired, and he was quick.I felt like I was trying to save energy. Congratulations to David (on the knockdown). I wasn’t even hurt – it was more of a flash knockdown. I’m kind of mad at Freddie a little bit.”
 Also featured on the Pay-Per-View telecast, former WBA Interim Super Lightweight World Champion Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (22-6, 7 KOs) combated against the undefeated, rising contender Frankie “The Pitbull” Gomez (21-0, 13 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight brawl. Gomez began the exchange with the first jab of the fight, however; Herrera kept cornering the “Pitbull.” The second round was filled with left jabs and speedy combinations on behalf of Gomez, with Herrera responding with power combinations.
 Gomez landed a body shot, leaving Herrera out of breath. In a heated interchange of blows, Herrera received a cut under the eye. Things got heated in the ring and in the eighth round, “El Maestro” signaled the “come at me” look towards Gomez. The all-out brawl was a tough one for both fighters, but the judges agreed that Gomez deserved the victory by unanimous decision in the end.
 “It feels good to get this victory,” said Frankie Gomez. “I trained really hard and it paid off. I’m ready to take on my next challenge and take on the best at 140. I want to thank my fans, and I’m glad I was able to put on a good show for them.”
 “It wasn’t my night,” said Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera. “I never give up and my fans know that. I hope to be back in Las Vegas soon because I’ll go anywhere for a fight.”
 Opening the HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast, Brooklyn bomber Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) gave Brazilian Patrick Teixeira (26-1, 22 KOs) his first career loss to win the vacant WBC De Las Americas Middleweight Title. Both fighters began the fight with high intensity, exchanging blows during the first round.
 At the beginning of the second round, Stevens landed shocking hits to Teixeira, knocking the wind out of him. In a right jab to the face sending Teixeira to the mat with one minute and four seconds left on the clock, “The Cerebral Assassin” got the knockout, causing the crowd to go wild.
 “The name of the game is to knock people out and that’s what I did tonight,” said Curtis Stevens. “I feel great to get back into the game after my one and a half year break. I really want Lemieux, but I will take whatever I can get. My head is right, and I’m ready to take on whoever.”
 
 “Throughout the fight, I didn’t know if I was winning or losing,” said Patrick Teixeira. “This fight was not how I expected it to go.”
 Fireworks were sparked in the super bantamweight bout between undefeated fighter Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KOs) who gave Rocco Santomauro (13-1, 1 KO) his first career loss. Both fighters entered the ring with high energy and intensity, desiring to maintain their undefeated status. By the second round, De La Hoya sent him to the mat with a massive body punch and after Santomauro got back up, was attacked by De La Hoya through a series of combination punches trying to finish Santomauro off, however, was cut off by the bell.
 The fight turned into an all-out brawl, as both hungry fighters entered into heated exchanges of punches throughout the bout. De La Hoya was able to get Rocco various times in the head, hurting Santomauro with a cut over his eye by the end of the sixth round, and was on the offensive with consecutive blows to the head. Santomuaro’s corner decided to call the fight in the seventh round at 1:59, landing De La Hoya the massive TKO win, pleasing the crowd with the show.
 
 “From the very beginning Shane Mosley has been talking about this being De La Hoya vs. Mosely III, and that inspired me to train really hard for this fight and focus on my speed and strength,” said De La Hoya of his knockout. “This victory is satisfying to me because it shows all the hard work I put into my training camp. I wasn’t expecting the knockout but it was very satisfying, and I believe the crowd enjoyed it. After that knockout, I knew he couldn’t take anymore.”
 “I fought horrible tonight,” said Rocco Santomauro. “I was very unfocused. I didn’t agree with corner’s decision to stop the fight. I feel physically well because I am a fighter and I’m going to keep on fighting. But, you know, all I can do is move forward. I have to keep going for my little girl.”
 The fourth showdown of the night brought in fan-favorite, Ireland’s up-and- coming undefeated middleweight Jason “El Animal” Quigley (11-0, 9 KOs) combating Texas’s “King” James De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KOs). Boxing fans were clearly in for a treat, as both fighters entered with something to prove inside the ring. Quigley was ready, landing the first shot to kick-start his dominance in the ring.
 De La Rosa was tough in the mat, withstanding Quigley’s tough jabs to the body and face. Round two saw “El Animal” utilizing his left arm, quick with his shots. De La Rosa landed various combinations, however, the bombs landed by Quigley startled De La Rosa. Towards the middle of the fight, both fighters moved their feet, using solid footwork and the entire ring as their stage. De La Rosa entered the fifth round throwing his shots to Quigley, but Quigley rapidly responded by taking control and disorienting James with his hits.
 Round seven saw De La Rosa taking control of the fight, running after Quigley. By the end of the fight, both fighters grew tired, holding each other through various points of the fight. Nevertheless, Quigley took control of the last round and was handed a unanimous decision victory by the judges to maintain his undefeated status.
 “I feel unbelievable!” said Jason Quigley. “This is the stage I wanted to headline. I hope to be back soon. I am willing, and of course, I’d love to fight Canelo someday.”
 “I feel pretty good about the fight,” said James De La Rosa. “To be honest I’m not a judge so I can’t make that call. I came here to fight and fight hard. The decision, that’s on the judges.”
 Undefeated Lamont Roach, Jr. (11-0, 3 KOs) successfully took on Mexico’s Jose Arturo Esquivel (9-5, 2 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout. Both fighters entered the ring cautiously, feeling out each other. Lamont then stunned the Mexican fighter with a series of shots to the face and body, and quickly began to take control, overwhelming him.
 The seventh round saw the two exchanging, both fighters landing shots to the body. However; Esquivel was left victim to the pressure that Roach generously supplied. The final round saw the likes of both fighters putting on a show, but the clear winner of the bout was Roach, Jr. who led with his notable ring tactics and was awarded the unanimous decision victory by the judges.
 “I think I had good fight tonight,” said Lamont Roach, Jr. “I came out strong on the big stage. It seemed like Jose Arturo came to survive, but he wasn’t really engaging too much. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to win this one. If I can’t knock him out might as well pitch a shut out.”
 The excitement continued into the second welterweight fight of the night, which featured Boston’s undefeated Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (15-0, 11 KOs) taking on the likes of Marco Antonio Lopez (24-9, 15 KOs). Both fighters brought their “A” game, with Ellis hungry and on the prowl in the ring. Lopez was able to land a few shots to the face and body, but was soon overtaken by Speedy’s flurry of punches. The third round saw Ellis use his left jab a lot more while deflecting Lopez’s offensive with uppercuts.
 Ellis dominated the rest of the fight, using good movement and effectively landing his combination blows. In the last round, Ellis brought the fireworks, with the referee having to reset the fighters. The fighters turned up the heat in the last seconds of the fight, both unleashing their fury. With a unanimous decision of 80-72 awarded by all three judges, Rashidi Ellis was able to maintain his undefeated status.
 “It feels great to walk out of the ring undefeated,” said Rashidi Ellis. “I was a little rusty going in because I haven’t fought in a year and a half. It feels amazing to open up the T-Mobile Arena on the undercard of Canelo-Khan. I see more fights in Las Vegas in my future.”
 Opening up the card as the first fight ever at the T-Mobile Arena, a slick and speedy David Mijares (1-0) made his pro-debut against Omar Reyes (1-3) in a four-round super lightweight bout and dominated from the first round, landing effective body shots. Things heated up quickly with Reyes pumping up the defense and responding with a series of jabs.
 By the last round, Mijares was clearly looking for the knockout, confident with his punches. The judges all agreed that Mijares dominated the fight, awarding him the unanimous decision victory to begin his professional career.
 “The win still hasn’t settled in,” said David Mijares. “I’m just out here trying to do my work and that’s all I was focused on.”

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Neill officially reports to Dallas Cowboys rookie mini-camp

By UTSA Athletics
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UTSA defensive end, Jason Neill (left), officially checked in with the Dallas Cowboys rookie camp. (Photo/Courtesy)

Jason Neill officially reported to Dallas Cowboys rookie mini-camp on Thursday evening.

Although the former UTSA standout has yet to be announced as part of the Cowboys’ undrafted free agent signing class, that could happen as early as Friday.

Neill, who was a second-team All-Conference USA selection last fall, started all 12 games at defensive end during his final year as a Roadrunner and he led UTSA’s linemen with 56 tackles (36 solos/20 assists) while setting program single-season records with 11 TFLs and 8.5 sacks.

The Flower Mound native registered two sacks in three of his last five outings and racked up a total of seven during that span. Neill set career highs with nine tackles, four TFLs and two sacks at North Texas (Oct. 31) and added nine stops and a pair of sacks against Rice (Nov. 21) three weeks later. He also had two sacks at Charlotte (Nov. 14).

Neill finished his career with UTSA career records of 23.5 TFLs and 14 sacks.

He is the second Roadrunner to land on a National Football League roster this spring. David Morgan II became the program’s first-ever draftee last weekend when he was selected in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings.

Last year, UTSA saw Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade sign free agent contracts with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, following the draft. Mabry initially earned a spot on the Saints’ final 53-man roster following training camp but was waived and resigned to the practice squad, where he spent the 2015 season.

Meanwhile, former track & field All-American Teddy Williams became UTSA’s first athlete to be signed by an NFL team back in July 2010 when he inked a free agent pact with the Dallas Cowboys during training camp.

Williams, who just completed his sixth year in the league, played in Super Bowl 50 with the Carolina Panthers this past season and he also has had stints with the Indianpolis Colts (2012), Arizona Cardinals (2013), Chicago Bears (2014) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2014) during his professional career.

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Minnesota Vikings take first UTSA draft pick in NFL

By UTSA Athletics

The Minnesota Vikings helped David Morgan II make UTSA history yet again on Saturday when they selected the tight end with the 13th pick in the sixth round at National Football League Draft.

The Vikings traded up to make Morgan II the Roadrunners’ first-ever NFL Draft pick.

Morgan II became UTSA’s first-ever All-American this past season when he was named to USA Today‘s second unit. Also a second-team All-Conference USA selection last fall, he recorded 45 receptions for 566 yards (12.6 avg.) and a program single-season record five touchdowns while grading out as one of the top blocking tight ends in the country.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder native also was named to the mid-season John Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end) watch list.

The Marble Falls native set a then-school mark with nine catches in the season opener at then-No. 22 Arizona (Sept. 3) and matched that total five games later against Louisiana Tech (Oct. 10).

His 109 yards against the Wildcats was UTSA’s first 100-yard receiving performance in three seasons and his two touchdown grabs against the Bulldogs matched the program’s single-game record. Morgan II earned honorable mention John Mackey Tight End of the Week accolades following both of those outings.

Last year, the Roadrunners saw Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade sign free agent contracts with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, following the draft. Mabry initially earned a spot the Saints’ final 53-man roster following training camp, but was waived and resigned to the practice squad, where he spent the 2015 season.

Meanwhile, former track & field All-American Teddy Williams became UTSA’s first athlete to be signed by an NFL team back in July 2010 when he inked a free agent pact with the Dallas Cowboys during training camp.

Williams, who just completed his sixth year in the league, played in Super Bowl 50 with the Carolina Panthers this past season and he also has had stints with the Indianapolis Colts (2012), Arizona Cardinals (2013), Chicago Bears (2014) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2014) during his professional career.

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San Antonio FC midfielder named to the USL ‘Team of the Week’

USL - San Antonio FC at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
San Antonio FC midfielder Rafael Castillo (right) controls the ball against Switchbacks FC midfielder Taeseong Kim (35) in the first half at Switchbacks Stadium. (Photo/Courtesy)

San Antonio FC (SAFC) midfielder Rafa Castillo has been named to the USL Team of the Week for his performance against Tulsa Roughnecks FC on April 30, the USL announced this afternoon.

Castillo played 90 minutes and scored the winning goal in the club’s 3-1 victory over the Roughnecks.

After Tulsa had managed to erase their one goal deficit in the second half, Castillo recovered the lead for SAFC in the 68th minute when he rocketed a shot from outside the box past the diving keeper. Castillo recorded four shots and two on target to go along with his first goal of the season.

“It’s one more blessing that God has given me, being named to the USL team of the week,” said Castillo.  “It’s an honor to be named one of these 11 players and carry the San Antonio FC name with me. It is my responsibility and motivation to continue to work hard for my team. I thank the collective work of the team and the help of my teammates.”

Castillo joined SAFC in February of this year after spending the previous two seasons with the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL. In his time with the Scorpions, Castillo scored 17 goals in 46 appearances. Aside from a short stint in Egypt, Castillo played the rest of his career in his native Colombia, while also collecting nine caps at the full international level.

The full USL Team of the Week:

GK – John McCarthy, Bethlehem Steel FC

D – Alex Lee, Richmond Kickers

D – Conor Shanosky, Louisville City FC

D – Marco Farfan, Portland Timbers 2

M – Pavle Popara, Orange County Blues FC

M – Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence

M – Ben McKendry, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2

M – Rafael Castillo, San Antonio FC

M – Kenardo Forbes, Rochester Rhinos

F – Jack McBean, LA Galaxy II

F – Romeo Parkes, Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Bench: Clement Diop (LA), Bilal Duckett (CLT), Alphonso Davies (VAN), Justin Portillo (CHS), Sam Garza (AZ), Jordan Rideout (OKC), Michael Cox (ORL)

San Antonio FC will host in-state rivals RGV FC Toros on Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Field. The match marks the first regular season meeting between the two clubs, who are both in their inaugural seasons.

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