He had a remarkable run of mediocrity, going 5-6 three times in ten years and finishing 3rd in the six team SLC more than any other. To be fair, during the majority of his tenure, UTA was giving out 68 scholarships while the rest of the SLC was at 80 and the NCAA allowed 95. So the fact that he was middle of the pack may have showed he did more with less.
However, with the final two years he did operate with full scholarships and the Mavs went 3-8 in 1982, and 5-6 (2-4 in the SLC) in 1983. That final year was with a lot of talent and high expectations. His contract was not renewed.
Chuck Curtis took over the head job in 1984 and in his first year, won seven games, only the third winning season since moving to Division I in 1971. Gone was UTA's second all-time leading rusher Scotty Caldwell. Phil Blue was supposed to be the returning quarterback, but he elected to try his hand as a student coach. That allowed David Bates to become the starter for 1985. He was a BYU transfer, as was his wide receiver Keith Arbon and the two would hook up often.
On the defensive end, future NFL starter Tim McKyer anchored the secondary and help lead a defense that would give up the fewest points in a season since the 1979 squad that went 9-2.
Scott Roper was the new kicker. He would set a few school records in his one year as a Maverick. Ironically enough, he would continue to set records for a Southland Conference school in 1986, as well as a few conference ones, just not with UTA.
Typical of Division I Maverick teams, the 1985 squad lost the season opener. They even managed to hit a new low, losing to DII Angelo State at home in front of the largest crowd Maverick Stadium would hold that year, 7,205. That loss may have killed the program, as enthusiasm diminished for the remainder.
On the road for week two, the Mavs again struggled, with a game full of miscues in a 38-23 upset loss to Sam Houston.
Coming off a bye week, UTA would once again travel to a Gulf Star Conference school, this one being the Bobcats of Southwest Texas State.
UTA gets first win on last second FG
By James Davis
Staff Writer of the News
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Scott Roper kicked a 36-yard field goal as time ran out Saturday night as the Texas-Arlington Movin' Mavs edged Southwest Texas State, 19-16, for its first victory of the season.
"I didn't know how long that last one was," Roper said. "It feels great."
UTA coach Chuck Curtis said: "I think this win is an indication of our hard work and it was good to see our 2-minute effort."
Costly turnovers and a very subdued Maverick offense were forgotten as Roper, the former UTA junior varsity kicker, made amends for two earlier misses with the game-winning kick.
The Mavericks moved the ball in nine plays from their own 40-yard line, aided by two pass interference calls. Curtis decided to go for the field goal on second-and-1, with nine seconds left.
The Maverick defense shutout the Bobcats in the second half after allowing the Bobcat to build a 16-6 lead at the half.
UTA's first break came with 7:33 left in the third quarter, when a high fourth-down snap gave UTA the ball at the Bobcat 35. Quarterback David Bates, playing for injured starter Phil Blue, engineered the scoring drive in seven plays.
On second-and-goal at the 7-yard line, Bates rolled left, then broke clear to the right sidelines for the touchdown.
Roper missed on a 44-yard field goal to start the final period, but came back to tie the score at 16-16 on a 44-yarder.
The Maverick defense held on two more series before UTA began the final drive.
Turnovers were abundant in the early going, as the Bobcats committed five. Blue, putting on the pads for the first time after several weeks as a student-coach, fumbled one snap on the Mavs opening series, then made a bad pitch to tailback Jeff Wilson. SWTSU recovered at the UTA 18.
Three plays later, Bobcat Jessie Williams kicked a 38-yard field goal.
UTA..................6 0 7 6--19
SW Texas St.....13 3 0 0--16
SWTS - Jessie Williams 38 FG
SWTS - Safety, Ben Johnson blocked punt out of end zone
UTA - Tony Brown 1 pass from David Bates (run failed)
SWTS - Rene Maldonado 1 run (Roy Jackson run)
UTA - Bates 7 run (Roper kick)
UTA - Roper 43 FG
UTA - Roper 36 FG
First downs.....................14 13
Passing yards.................124 95
Return yards.....................6 16
Time of Possession....31:57 28:03
Rushing - UTA: Jarvis McKyer 13-36, Tony Brown 10-33, Jeff Wilson 9-21, David Bates 4-21, Phil Blue 3-4. SWTS: Eric Cobble 11-46, Roy Jackson 8-31, Pat Franklin 9-31, Rene Maldonado 12-6, A.J. Jackson 2-5, Courtney Lane 1-14, Jerry File 1-(-20).
Passing - UTA: David Bates 14-24-0-116, Phil Blue 1-3-0-8. SWTS: Rene Maldonado 5-15-2-95, David Longhofer 0-1-0-0, Eric Cobble 0-1-0-0.
Receiving - UTA: Keith Arbon 5-34, James White 5-65, Tony Brown 3-16, Jarvis McKyer 2-102-10. SWTS: Eric Cobble 2-15, Toney Wooley 1-49, Eric Tennessee 1-12, Roy Jackson 1-5, Courtney Lane 1-14.