Center Juan Perez-Isidoro and his UT San Antonio teammates won’t be afraid of the big stage Saturday when they take on No. 23 Texas A&M in College Station.
The Roadrunners have played six games against Power 5 conference opponents since 2014. UTSA led for three quarters against Arizona State in September before giving up 17 fourth-quarter points to lose 32-28.
“That loss was a tough one, but we gained a lot of experience,” said Perez-Isidoro, who graduated from Birdville. “It’s important for us not to get stuck in the past. We moved on from that loss the next day.”
Perez-Isidoro, a redshirt junior, has worked his way into becoming a leader on the UTSA offensive line. He played in 10 games in 2014, started six games and missed six games with a collarbone injury last year, and reclaimed his starting position at center this season.
After starting 1-3, the Roadrunners (5-5, 4-3 Conference USA) have won four out of their last six, putting them on the verge of becoming bowl eligible. They host Charlotte on Nov. 26 in the regular-season finale.
“It’s definitely important to us, one of our biggest goals to go to a bowl,” Perez-Isidoro said. “Every game is important to us, as we fight to get there.”
As the team’s center, Perez-Isidoro is responsible for multiple reads before the ball is snapped.
“I’m looking to ID the linebackers and figure out what double teams need to take place,” he said. “If it looks like there will be outside pressure, I have to make a watch call to alert the rest of the line. I also have to get us ready for switch calls, so it’s a lot to go through.”
UTSA is putting up 30.8 points a game. The Roadrunners’ offense is balanced, averaging 204.1 passing yards and 170.4 rushing yards a game, but Perez-Isidoro loves getting out and blocking on rushing plays.
“As an offensive lineman, we take pride in running the ball,” Perez-Isidoro said. “That’s our bread and butter.”
This weekend, UTSA’s offense will be going up against a Texas A&M defense that has been gashed on the ground recently. The Aggies are No. 82 in the country, giving up 192.9 rushing yards a game.
“I’m excited to play against them,” Perez-Isidoro said. “All of our guys know it’s important, simply because it’s the next game. We’ve seen good defenses before, and we know some of their guys are more explosive with good technique, but we know what we have to do.”