‘Runners outlast Bulldogs for their fourth win of the season


Ellyson Ortega

Frank Harris, Sincere McCormick and the Roadrunners celebrate in the end zone after McCormick’s 45 yard touchdown that put the ‘Runners up by one with less then six minutes left to play.

Max Aguirre, Sports Editor

The UTSA Roadrunners welcomed the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs to the Alamodome on Saturday. The Bulldogs came in with a record of 3-2 and a 2-1 conference record. The ‘Runners came into the game looking to right the ship after dropping their last three games. They did so in dramatic fashion, coming back in the second half to steal the game from the Bulldogs by a score of 27-26.
The ‘Runners won the opening coin toss, elected to defer to the second half and kicked the ball off to the Bulldogs to begin the game. The first Bulldog possession resulted in a field goal. The defense, despite giving up several chunk rushing plays, held on in the red zone. They continued to do so for most of the game.
The ‘Runners responded with a 21-yard kick from Hunter Duplessis on their first possession, tying the score at 3-3 in the final minutes of the first quarter. The quarter ended shortly after quarterback Frank Harris threw an interception meant for Sincere McCormick on a screen pass. The turnover put the Bulldogs in an optimal position to score, but the ‘Runners’ defense was able to hold them to a 46-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs stopped the next ‘Runner possession and proceeded to march down to the 3-yard line, but were halted short of the end zone yet again. A third Bulldog field goal made the score 9-3 midway through the second quarter. Harris and the ‘Runners responded with a solid drive of their own and quickly made it 9-6 with another Duplessis field goal, this one from 37 yards.
The Bulldogs took their next possession into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, scoring on a fourth-and-2 from just outside the ‘Runner 5-yard line. The score put the Bulldogs up 16-6 with a little over three minutes left in the half. A fumble and two ill-advised scrambles by Harris scuttled the next ‘Runner possession; they were forced to punt the ball back in less than a minute of game time, giving the Bulldogs plenty of time to score again before the half. They proceeded to do just that, kicking a 24-yard field goal and making the score 19-6 at halftime.
The ‘Runners came out of halftime with the extra bit of fire they had been missing in the first half. They took their first possession and powered into the end zone on a 2-yard toss to McCormick, bringing the score to 19-13. The defense smothered the Bulldog offense on their first time out and put the ball back into the ‘Runners’ hands. Unfortunately, they could not replicate the success of the previous drive. In an attempt to avoid a sack, Harris fled the pocket and threw a pass downfield, but it was intercepted by linebacker Ezekiel Barnett, who took it 60 yards the other way for a touchdown. The score put the Bulldogs up 26-13; Harris and the offense continued to struggle as the third quarter came to a close.
After a bit of a defensive stalemate to begin the fourth quarter, the ‘Runners’ offense finally broke through again. A deep 54-yard pass by Harris to wideout Tykee Ogle-Kellog set up a second McCormick rushing touchdown, this time from 6 yards out. The score became 26-20 in favor of the Bulldogs with 10 minutes left to play.
The ‘Runners’ defense once again held their own and forced a punt on the next Bulldog possession. On the next ‘Runner drive, McCormick thundered past every player on the field and ran straight to the end zone on a 45-yard run. The crowd of 6,000 erupted as McCormick logged his third score; the home team took the lead with a little over six minutes left in the game.
The ‘Runners continued to bring the defensive pressure; Bulldogs quarterback Luke Anthony faced a swarm of blue jerseys and was sacked twice in three plays. Once again, the Bulldogs were forced to punt.
The ‘Runners chewed as much time off the clock as they could with their next possession, but they were eventually forced to punt as well. Punter Lucas Dean pinned the opposing offense deep in their own territory, forcing them to start their drive from their 8-yard line. The defense once again stepped up to the plate, blitzing and pressuring the Bulldogs into mistakes. After giving up a first down near midfield via a pass interference call with less than a minute left, UTSA Safety Antonio Parks stepped in front of a short pass and decisively ended the game with an interception. The ‘Runners proceeded to run out the remaining few seconds of the game and secured a 27-26 win.
Next week, the ‘Runners will face the Florida Atlantic University Owls in their fourth road game of the season. The Owls have only played two games this season and stand at 1-1. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Saturday.