SAN ANTONIO — Steven Kurfehs and Jens Jeters racked up nine tackles apiece to help the Blue (defense) rally past the White (offense), 56-46, in Sunday's UTSA Football Fiesta Spring Game presented by Health Texas at Dub Farris Stadium.
Kurfehs also recorded one of two fourth-quarter interceptions and a tackle for loss, while Jeters shared a sack. Andre Brown and Brian King also picked off passes and first-team All-Western Athletic Conference safety Triston Wade added three tackles, a fumble recovery and one pass breakup.
Using an adjusted scoring system that also awards turnovers (five points) and defensive stops (three), the Blue scored 31 points in the final two stanzas to rally from a 33-25 halftime deficit.
Eric Soza and Zach Conque combined to throw for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 26-of-48 passing to lead the White.
Conque completed 14-of-25 for 232 yards and a pair of scores in addition to running for a 4-yard jaunt to paydirt. Meanwhile, Soza was 12-of-23 for 77 yards.
Brandon Armstrong hauled in a team-high five catches for 49 yards, while Kam Jones pitched in 61 total yards of offense, 38 on the ground on three carries and 22 more through the air on three catches.
The Roadrunners offense gave the estimated crowd of 2,500 something to cheer about on its second possession of the afternoon.
After a 5-yard sideline pass from Conque to Kenny Bias and a 3-yard rush by CheRod Simpson, Conque found Bias wide open over the deep middle for a 60-yard touchdown pass.
Brown picked off a Conque pass at the 36-yard line late in the first quarter to help set up the next touchdown.
Soza completed three short passes to help set up second-and-5 from just outside the red zone. Jones then took a reverse around the right end and tiptoed down the sideline for a 21-yard score to give the offense a 19-11 lead.
Conque later found Armstrong open on a wheel route down the left sideline for 35 yards and then the signal caller capped the nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard option keeper around the right end.
Cody Berry forced a fumble that was recovered by Wade at the 23-yard line to help set up the next scoring play.
Despite an 8-yard sack by Jeters and Jarron Harris, Kristian Stern drilled a 44-yard field goal with 29 seconds left before halftime to help stake the White to a 33-25 halftime edge.
Conque connected with Josiah Monroe on a 51-yard TD pass on the second drive after intermission to push the lead out to 41-28 with 8:49 left in the quarter.
The defense controlled the rest of the half by forcing five punts, a turnover on downs and interceptions on the final two drives.
Kurfehs stepped in front of a Soza pass late in the contest and returned it 31 yards. King then picked off a Jace Edwards throw and brought it back 52 yards to cap the comeback and the scrimmage.
The Roadrunners, who officially will join Conference USA on July 1, open the 2013 season at New Mexico on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Head Coach Larry Coker
On the competitiveness of today's game …
"We’re a lot better on defense and we especially need to be in the secondary. Our corners are playing a lot better and with more confidence. We need to have more depth, but I’m excited about where we’re going."
On not giving the running backs many carries …
"We wanted to throw the ball today and we’re trying to stay as healthy as we can."
On the play of the secondary …
"I’m really impressed with the way our secondary is coming along. I really like what I saw out there today. The wide receivers were really the strength of our team, but our defensive backs stepped up this spring and showed a lot of improvement."
Eric Soza, Sr., QB
On today's game …
"There was some good and there was some bad. The defense played well and we had our moments on offense. We can always improve and that’s what we plan on doing between now and the season opener at New Mexico."
On the offense's improvement this spring …
"We try to get the ball to our playmakers. I think we did a good job today, but there’s always room for improvement."
On difference between this year and last year’s spring game …
"We’re a Division I football team now. The speed is faster, the mentality is a lot different and it has to be. This is our fourth year as a team, so it has to change, especially with the move to Conference USA."
Kam Jones, Jr., WR
On getting more touches today …
"Coach said he wanted to get me more touches as the spring went on. Today, the offense opened up and I got about five or six."
On the play of the secondary …
"The secondary proved a lot this spring. They’re much more physical and, this year, they may be the strongest part of our defense."