UTSA’s bye week review will delve into what has been a mediocre season. It will also look ahead to the future and the outcome of the current season. UTSA is seven games deep into their schedule and trending in the wrong direction. They have earned a poor three-win and four-loss record. With five games left to prove their worth, UTSA will be fighting an uphill battle with tough opponents in their near future. The fate of the season is in their hands and have been given the opportunity to prove critics wrong.
UTSA’s Bye Week Review
UTSA’s lackluster season was not a surprise to many. They are a team coming off an atrocious 3-9 record in their previous season. This record landed them towards the bottom of the Conference USA table. With their current record of three wins and four losses, the Roadrunners can only afford two more defeats. Any more than this, the team will have yet another losing season under Frank Wilson. However, without making excuses, the Roadrunners essentially lost their star quarterback three games into the season.
Frank Harris is continuously being mentioned as part of the issue, and reasonably so. This redshirt sophomore quarterback was a solution to many of the Roadrunner’s offensive issues. A threat through both the air and on the ground, Harris was poised for a solid year. In his first collegiate start, Harris passed for 206 yards and three touchdowns. This in combination with his team-leading 123 rushing yards, led the Roadrunners to an opening victory against the University of the Incarnate Word. Harris followed this up with a blowout loss to Baylor in which he passed for only 93 yards and ran for only three. Against Army was when concern was seen. Harris had a decent game at best. He passed for 187 yards and rushed for only one yard. However, this would not be the headline of the game. Harris left this game for one play with an arm injury.
Against North Texas, Harris would go down with a season-ending shoulder injury. It appeared that the injury in the Army game and North Texas game were related. All eyes point to Harris returning before he was fully ready. The team was visibly devastated by this injury. Team morale took a substantial dip as they were forced to look for answers. This injury has been the headline of the entire season and begs the question of what could have been?
Frank Wilson seems consumed by his impending doom as the head coach at UTSA. Each week he tries some new tactic to catch opponents off-guard but to no avail. Wilson is clearly unsure whether he wants to have a run or pass-heavy offense. Wilson could take advantage of both a solid pass and a rushing game with Harris as the quarterback. However, now that Lowell Narcisse is the lead man under center, Wilson is scrambling to find a good game plan. It appears as if Frank Wilson wants to continue to call the same plays as if Frank Harris were the quarterback. The fact of the matter is that Lowell Narcisse is no Frank Harris. The two are both obvious running threats. However, Narcisse’s inability to accurately pass the ball is the team’s Achilles heel.
Wilson must recognize that he must create a run-first team in order to be effective for the remainder of the season. Narcisse is averaging almost 83 rushing yards per game in his four starts. Compare this to his 119 passing yards per game and it becomes clear that Narcisse should stick to running the ball. The only time this year that Narcisse has been successful in the passing game was against a winless Rice team. In this game, he passed the ball 29 times for 212 yards leading the Roadrunners to their third victory. Other than this game, Narcisse has been most effective at running the ball.
The Unsung Hero
Also, Wilson continuously underutilizes rising freshman Sincere McCormick. This is puzzling because McCormick has proved how valuable he is in the rushing game. This season McCormick has 97 rushes to go along with 567 rushing yards. He is averaging 5.8 yards per rush. Aside from the game against Alabama-Birmingham, McCormick has been nothing short of a reliable and solid back that should be getting the touches he deserves. There have been four games in which McCormick has been given less than 15 rushing attempts. If time in and time out a player is producing, they why not give him the ball? The kid deserves a shot, so give him the opportunity to make plays for the team.
In the last five weeks of the season, UTSA will have games against Texas A&M, Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi, Florida Atlantic, and Louisiana Tech. UTSA is projected to lose all five of their remaining games. Their best chance of coming up with a victory is against Old Dominion on November 9th. The Roadrunners have less than a 20 percent chance of winning their four of their remaining five matchups. Their least favorable matchup comes against Texas A&M on November 2nd, in which they are given less than a two percent chance to come out with a win.
In order to find any amount of success in the coming future, Frank Wilson must adapt his play style to his new team. He must realize that Lowell Narcisse is at his best when he runs. He needs to recognize the talent that he has in the young Sincere McCormick. While the chances of completely reviving this season are slim-to-none, Frank Wilson needs to make a last-ditch effort to get to .500. While being a .500 team may not save Wilson’s job, it will at least give him a slight argument as to why he should be kept for another season.