UTSA QB Daniel Sturm poses a dual threat to the Herd
HUNTINGTON — In looking at UTSA’s offensive football statistics, nothing really jumps out as a strength.
However, watching the Roadrunners on film, there is one player that stands out above the rest.
UTSA senior quarterback Dalton Sturm is someone Marshall University’s defense will have to keep its eyes on when the teams meet at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Alamodome at San Antonio, Texas.
“They play to their strength,” Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said. “Their quarterback is a play maker guy. He finds ways to make plays. He can really beat you with his running, for sure.”
Sturm is a savvy senior veteran that has put the Roadrunners in position to win each game.
MARSHALL (7-3, 4-2 C-USA) AT UTSA (5-4, 2-4 UTSA)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
TV: Comcast Huntington (Ch. 133), Armstrong Cable (Ch. 94), Time Warner/Spectrum (Ch. 305) and Stadium College Football Facebook (www.facebook.com/StadiumCollegeFootball/)
RADIO: WDGG 93.7-FM
UTSA comes in with a 5-4 record (204 Conference USA), but those four losses were by a combined 17 points with a pair of games coming down to the final seconds.
Last week, UTSA trailed UAB, 21-6, entering the fourth quarter, but Sturm engineered a pair of touchdown drives before the comeback ran out of time in a 24-19 loss to the Blazers.
One of those touchdowns was Sturm’s 22-yard run when he broke six tackles after looking as though he was pinned along the sideline. Sturm found a way to make defenders miss and broke through two arm tackles before sprinting to the end zone.
“He made a spectacular play with the run he had,” Heater said. “He’s a gutty, tough kind of guy.”
Sturm has rushed 97 times for 499 yards with two scores. T hat tota l is made more impressive, considering that total also factors in quarterback sack yardage and the Roadrunners have given up 21 sacks on the season. Sturm is averaging 10 carries a game for the Roadrunners.
In looking at film, Sturm looks a lot like a more athletic version of Miami (Ohio) quarterback Gus Ragland.
Like Ragland, Sturm is a player who doesn’t make mistakes in the passing game and is solid at reading a defense and knowing when to tuck the football and pick up positive yards. Through the air, Sturm has been very efficient, throwing for 203 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
His ability to live to the next down and find ways to move the football has allowed UTSA to own a three-minute advantage in time of possession.
It all has to do with his senior moxie, Heater said.
“He’s a three-year starter, a competitive guy, a senior guy,” Heater said. “Those guys always bother you because they come to work to beat you.
He’s got the ball in his hands every snap, so he’s capable of running and making plays, so he’s a problem.”
When the ball is in Sturm’s hands, the UTSA offense is methodical, using up clock and slowing the game down, which limits the opposition’s opportunities. Marshall (7-3, 4-2 C-USA) is accustomed to running nearly 80 plays a game, but UTSA is allowing opponents to run just 59 plays per game through offensive ball control and defensive play-making.
The onus will be on Marshall’s defense to do what has been a strength this year, which is get off the field on third down and turn the ball back over to its offense.
That’s easier said than done against Sturm, who has led UTSA to a 42 percent conversion rate on third downs this season.
VIEWING OPTIONS FOR MARSHALL-UTSA
HUNTINGTON — There are two ways (and two entirely separate broadcasts) for Marshall football fans in the Tri- State to view Saturday’s 7 p.m. game at UTSA.
KMYS-TV in San Antonio, Texas, is carrying the game locally. That broadcast will also be available to the following cable TV customers: Comcast in Huntington (Ch. 133), Armstrong Cable (Ch. 94), Big Sandy Broadband (Ch. 199), Foothills Broadband (Ch. 219), Suddenlink in Charleston (Ch. 125) and Time Warner/Spectrum in Portsmouth, Ashland and Ironton (Ch. 305).
The Marshall game is the one available in those markets and will pre-empt the Florida Atlantic-FIU game regardless of what on-screen channel guides reflect, a Marshall release said.
The game will also be on Stadium’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StadiumCollegeFootball/.