SAN ANTONIO – Nothing has ever been set in stone in 2020.
Last Sunday, UTSA accepted the invitation to face SMU in their second bowl appearance in program history. Not even 48 hours later, SMU putted out of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl over COVID-19 concerns.
That bad news turned into something better for head coach Jeff Traylor and the Roadrunners.
UTSA had already accepted a bid to play in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl the day after Christmas. Sunday afternoon, the Roadrunners finally found out who they would face.
The Roadrunners will faced the No. 19 CFP ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on December 26 live on KSAT 12 beginning at 2:30 p.m. The matchup will take place in Dallas at SMU’s home turf, Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
The Ragin’s Cajuns finished the season 9-1 with their lone loss coming to Coastal Carolina in mid-October by three points.
“Obviously, they are nationally ranked, they beat Iowa State, barely lost to Coastal Carolina, beat UAB,” said head coach Jeff Traylor Sunday evening. “They have a great record against a very good schedule. I think we’re already a 13-14 point underdog. We’re just glad to be playing, just to have an opponent in a great bowl game, against a top ranked team, it’s very exciting.”
As of Sunday evening, 22 teams have opted out of playing in a bowl game this winter due to COVID-19 concerns, which has affected the annual college bowl games with 16 of them being canceled.
“We’ve been really committed to this from the very beginning,” explained Traylor. “I’ve really challenged our players on that. We feel a sense of obligation to finish this thing out. We worked hard to get here. With the hashtag ‘LetUsPlay’ and all the schools that wanted to play and now, to just opt out and not want to play, is very confusing to our kids. We’re going to do everything we can within our power to play, like we’ve done with every game.”
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 17 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email firstname.lastname@example.org