UTSA Loses Defensive Battle

The UTSA Roadrunners are poised to run the Conference USA table. Check out UTSA Outduels Southern Mississippi for more coverage.

FAU handed UTSA a punishing loss to the tune of 24-3. UTSA was held in check for the entire game.  They kept getting in their own way and were unable to convert. Check out our take as UTSA Loses Defensive Battle for more on the loss.

UTSA Loses Defensive Battle

This was a tough game to watch. The reigning league champions outclassed UTSA. It was difficult for Sincere McCormick to run the ball because of the passing inefficiencies. McCormick is on the radar for every team now because of the season he has been having. He just recently won the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Player of the Week for his game against LA Tech. He was also named the Conference USA offensive player of the week. It is crucial for the passing game to pick up the slack and produce now that teams are really focusing their attention on McCormick.

Recap

UTSA struggled to find their footing in the first quarter of Saturday’s game. FAU converted a 24-yard field goal into three points five minutes into the game. UTSA failed to respond with a score of their first drive of the game. FAU would take advantage of this and put up seven after a 27-yard touchdown pass from Nick Tronti to Aaron Young. The two teams remained offensively stagnant for the next nine minutes. At this point, UTSA would finally get on the board with three points following a 49-yard field goal by Hunter Duplessis with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter. However, FAU put together an 80-yard drive that was capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Tronti. FAU would have a 17-3 lead and the momentum heading into the locker room.

The third quarter was just as uneventful as the first quarter. Neither team found the endzone and both did not get close enough to even attempt a field goal. There were five punts in this quarter: three by FAU and two by UTSA. The fourth quarter was not much better. UTSA was once again held scoreless in this quarter. FAU was able to effectively end the game following a James Charles two-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining in the game. UTSA now has a 4-4 overall record with a 2-2 conference record following this loss.

Offensive Inefficiencies

FAU held UTSA’s offense completely in check. Frank Harris completed 12 of his 26 passes for only 109 yards and no touchdowns. Harris was the teams leading rusher with 66 yards rushing on 14 carries. However, a 46% completion percentage will not get it done for the offense. Jordan Weeks would eventually replace Harris with seven minutes remaining in the game. Weeks, who had not been available for the past two weeks, did not do much better. Weeks completed two of his eight passes for only 17 yards in his short appearance.

McCormick could not get it going either. He rushed 16 times for 54 yards and averaged 3.4 yards per rush. He was the team’s second-leading rusher behind Harris. Jeff Traylor elected to change up the game plan that worked for them against LA Tech. McCormick rushed a staggering 37 times for 165 yards and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs. It is hard to understand why Traylor would not give the ball to McCormick more often considering his stellar play this season.

Offensive Line Issues

If we’re pointing fingers at who to blame for this loss, the offensive line has to take some of the criticism. UTSA offensive line gave up seven sacks in this game compared to the two that FAU gave up. Harris was sacked four times in three quarters. Whereas Weeks was sacked three times in two minutes and 32 seconds worth of playtime. The quarterbacks were getting absolutely suffocated by the blitz-heavy Owls. Neither Harris nor Weeks even had the chance to survey the field before throwing the ball. FAU was frequently in the backfield in a matter of two seconds breaking up any rhythm that could have been established. McCormick could not buy a running lane and was diving through crowds of Owls jerseys. The offensive line must play better if UTSA expects to improve in the future.

A Look Ahead

UTSA will be on the road for the second straight week. They will travel to Houston to take on the Rice Owls. The Owls are projected to beat the Roadrunners in this Conference USA affair. However, Rice gave up 40 points in a double-overtime loss to Middle Tennessee last week so this should be a winnable game for the UTSA Roadrunners.


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