UTSA traveled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to take on the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles where the Roadrunners won a 23-20 battle. UTSA earned its sixth victory and brings the total record to 6-4. This is the most wins that a UTSA football team has had since 2017. Clearly, Jeff Traylor has done a lot of good for the players and staff inside the locker room. Check out UTSA Outduels Southern Mississippi to see how the game was won.
UTSA Outduels Southern Mississippi
The UTSA Roadrunners were looking to feed off of the dominant win over UTEP last week and bring the same energy against Southern Miss. The Roadrunners were given all that they could handle, but they managed to pull off the victory. UTSA is currently surging towards the top of the Conference USA-West standings. The Roadrunners are currently in first and are looking to reach a Conference USA Championship.
The first quarter of Saturday’s game was very characteristic of UTSA. The offense was off to a slow start and was unable to put points on the board. Thankfully, UTSA’s defense was just as stout as Southern Mississippi’s. The Roadrunner defense only allowed one field goal through the first 15 minutes. UTSA was finally able to get on the scoreboard with three minutes gone in the second quarter. Jamal Ligon sacked Southern Miss quarterback Tate Whatley in the endzone for a safety. Later, Frank Harris hooked up with Zakhari Franklin for a six-yard touchdown pass. This gave UTSA the 9-3 lead. However, Southern Miss then mounted a 75-yard touchdown drive with two minutes remaining in the half that ultimately gave the Golden Eagles a 10-9 lead heading into the break.
UTSA opened up the second half in a big way. Running back Sincere McCormick took a 69-yard run to the house with just under two minutes gone in the third quarter. This score gave UTSA an early second-half lead of 16-10. McCormick didn’t stop there. About six minutes later, McCormick found the endzone once again after a one-yard rush. This increased UTSA’s lead to 13 points. Southern Mississippi was able to put three more points on the board with just over 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Golden Eagles put seven more on the board after Whatley connected with Frank Gore Jr. for a 51-yard touchdown. Gore Jr., the son of NFL Legend Frank Gore, helped bring the Golden Eagles within three points in the fourth quarter. However, UTSA was able to hold them off for the remainder of the game and solidified a 23-20 victory.
McCormick Remains Stellar
McCormick was unavailable for last Saturday’s game against UTEP. He was present for the birth of his daughter. The Roadrunners looked like a well-oiled machine without him. However, they needed every bit of his star power against Southern Mississippi on Saturday. McCormick rushed 32 times for 172 yards and two total touchdowns. Although McCormick had missed one game, he is still the second-ranked in rushing yards in the nation. He now has 1,094 rushing yards on the season following the victory against Southern Mississippi. McCormick is averaging 121.5 rushing yards/game in his nine appearances this season.
The Roadrunners have a 0-3 record when McCormick has less than 19 carries in a game. However, UTSA is 5-1 when he receives 19 or more carries. What this tells us is that McCormick should be getting at least 20 carries/game moving forward. The numbers do not lie and neither does his production value.
Harris Takes a Step Back
Harris was nearly perfect against UTEP. He contributed five total touchdowns. He had a 96.4 QBR (Quarterback Rating) and was one of the reasons that UTSA looked so dominant. One would expect this to continue into this weekend. Unfortunately, it did not. Harris looked like a shell of his former self. He completed 12 of his 19 attempts for 71 yards, one touchdown pass, and one interception. Although Southern Miss is a much better team than the UTEP team he faced last week, UTSA fans expected him to have another solid outing against the 2-6 Golden Eagles. UTSA will need Harris to continue to improve if they want to have a shot at a conference title.
A Look Ahead
UTSA will be back home in the Alamodome for a matchup against the North Texas Mean Green. UTSA is being given a 70 percent chance to win this game. North Texas is a middle of the pack team and will be a good matchup for the Roadrunners. This will be the final game of the Roadrunner’s season unless the missed Rice game is rescheduled.