The UTSA Roadrunners were able to come out with a victory in their home opener this past Saturday. The Roadrunners defeated the Stephen F. Austin State Lumberjacks to the score of 24-10. UTSA was able to pull away late in the game to secure a two-win and zero loss record. Find out more in UTSA Wins Second Straight Game.
UTSA Wins Second Straight Game
The Roadrunners are fresh off a thrilling OT-victory against the Texas State Bobcats last week. They carried this momentum into today’s game against SFA. Although the game did look ugly at times, Jeff Traylor and company had just enough to secure a second victory.
UTSA was a 16-point favorite heading into this matchup in the Alamodome and they proved exactly why they were heavily favored. The combination of a stingy defense, as well as a lethal one-two punch in the backfield, was enough to topple the Lumberjacks.
The first quarter of Saturday’s game was uneventful. The only score came from a Hunter Duplessis 28-yard field goal with just over 11 minutes remaining in the quarter. However, UTSA picked up the tempo in the second quarter. Frank Harris had a three-yard rushing touchdown as well as a four-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cephus. The Roadrunners were poised to hold a 17-point lead heading into the locker room. Instead, Trae Self was able to hook up with Xavier Gibson on a 10-yard touchdown pass to lock in seven points with just two seconds remaining in the half.
The UTSA offense came out flat in the third quarter, but because of their relentless defense, they were able to hold SFA in check. UTSA opened the half with two turnovers on consecutive drives. One in the form of a Harris interception and the other by way of a fumble by Leroy Watson. Thankfully, SFA only scored three points as a result of the two turnovers. The Roadrunners held a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter with the momentum starting to shift SFA’s way. However, Harris was able to ease any nerves after scoring a 23-yard rushing touchdown to put the game out of reach.
On paper, one might not think the Roadrunners did anything special to stop the Lumberjack offense. However, if you read between the lines, the stats tell a different story. The Roadrunners only forced one turnover in the game in the form of a fumble recovery but was able to win the defensive battle in form of team tackling. This type of statistic is not shown on the stat line. You would see six or seven blue jerseys around a Lumberjack ball-carrier on every play. UTSA was relentless and ensured that the runner was brought down on every play.
The Roadrunner defense was able to force three sacks, two of which came from defensive lineman Jaylon Haynes. In addition, they were also successful in meeting runners in the backfield as they finished the night with 10 tackles-for-loss. UTSA did exactly what they needed to do on the defensive side to take down their FCS opponent.
Harris and Sincere McCormick continue to prove why they earned the starting role in their positions. The quarterback completed 23 of his 36 passes for 269 yards and one touchdown pass. He also continues to flash his speed and elusiveness as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark in rushing for the game. Harris added on two rushing touchdowns to go with his 104 rushing yards. The signal-caller has a combined five rushing touchdowns in the last two games. McCormick was able to hold down the running game as well. Although he was held in check for the majority of the game, McCormick was still able to finish with 98 rushing yards on only 19 carries. He averaged just over five yards per rush which kept the opposing defense off balance.
The Air Attack
Harris has found his favorite target in Joshua Cephus. UTSA struggled heavily in the passing department last year. However, the connection between Harris and Cephus is real. The tall, 6’3 sophomore is giving Harris the reliable option that he has needed all season. Cephus currently has 14 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns this Fall. Expect this duo to continue to give opposing defenses issues for the remainder of the season.
A look Ahead
UTSA was originally scheduled to play Memphis on Friday the 25th. However, a rise in COVID-19 cases amongst the Memphis Tigers team has canceled this matchup. Instead, the Roadrunners will be playing Middle Tennessee in a Conference USA matchup. The game will be at 7:00 PM CT on September 25th in the Alamodome. The Blue Raiders are currently winless as UTSA looks to win three games to start the season.