SAN ANTONIO – The University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners will play the University of New Mexico Lobos in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in the program's first-ever bowl game appearance.
The announcement was made on selection Sunday. By appearing in the Albuquerque-based bowl game its sixth season, UTSA ties the NCAA record for the fastest program to reach a bowl game.
"It's not the defining moment or the end," Frank Wilson said, who is in his first year as Roadrunner head coach. "It's the start of something very special."
It's the start of a serious football tradition. Seniors who entered the program in its infancy are now able to see it mature into a bowl-worthy team.
"It's a pretty cool thing to look back you know five years ago, whenever I came in that first summer, and we're practicing at you know a high school field and knowing all those things that the guys before me went through," said senior tight end Trevor Stevens.
For those veterans, like running back Jarveon Williams, the team's first bowl game will also be the cap to their college football careers.
“I've taken it in," Williams said. "It's been a long time coming. I've been here for four years, and I've loved every year, and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
The excitement of getting a bowl invitation still lingers in the air on the UTSA campus, but the team is also getting ready for business
— Ify Michael Egwuagu (@Ifyxxiynwd) December 4, 2016
— UTSA Football (@UTSAFTBL) December 4, 2016
"We want to enjoy it, yes. And we want to enjoy it because it's the first bowl game and it's going to be new," said safety Michael Egwuagu. "But nothing changes. It's another football game."
The bowl invitation another step towards the program proving itself.
"It opens up the door for us to continue to build the program and to get the respect and the visibility that we want to have for these kids," said UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey.
That's a thought for the future, though. Right now, the goal is to get a win.
Asked for a message for his players, Wilson's answer was simple - finish.
"Finish what we've started," he said. "We didn't come this far to turn around."
Move the chains. It's the name of the game.
The game will be shown Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN. Tickets are now on sale.