Roadrunners lose 37-35 in triple overtime to the Cougars

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

After unveiling the Conference-USA championship banner, UTSA hosted No. 24 University of Houston (UH) Saturday, Sept. 3. Despite dominating the first three quarters, UTSA let the game slip away late, falling down 0-1 on the season.  

The first drive by each team was a three-and-out, including a sack by UTSA’s Trey Moore and Taylor Donyai on third down. The Roadrunners again went three-and-out, forcing a punt. On their next drive, Houston quarterback Clayton Tune was sacked by Brandon Brown, forcing Tune to fumble the ball which was recovered by UTSA’s Dadrian Taylor at the 50-yard line. The ‘Runners were not able to take advantage as quarterback Frank Harris threw an incomplete pass on fourth down, giving the ball to Houston on their 42-yard line. The two teams ended the quarter each with a turnover and tied 0-0.  

Houston continued their drive at the UTSA 18-yard line to start the second quarter. On the third down, Tune threw an 11-yard touchdown to Nathaniel Dell, putting the Cougars on the scoreboard first, 7-0. Frank Harris and the rest of the offense answered promptly on their next drive, as Harris went 2/2 on his passes, including a 51-yard touchdown by Joshua Cephus. The score was tied at seven with a little over 12 minutes left to play in the half. UH again went three-and-out, and UTSA came back with the same momentum. The ‘Runners completed three straight first downs, including a 14-yard rush by Harris. Harris followed that up on 2nd & 17 with a 38-yard touchdown run, putting UTSA ahead 14-7. Trevor Harmanson and Brown sacked Tune on first down, frustrating the Cougars and forcing another three-and-out. After a couple of big plays by the ‘Runners they were forced to punt, successfully getting the ball on Houston’s 1-yard line. Houston managed to bleed the clock out, heading into halftime down to the Roadrunners 14-7. The ‘Runners had three sacks and five tackles for loss in the first half and 92 more total yards than the Cougars.  

Similar to the game’s beginning, each team was forced to punt on the first drive. The UTSA defense continued to dominate, sacking Tune once again on second down and forcing another three-and-out. The Roadrunners marched down the field getting four first downs and a touchdown throw to De’Corian Clark. Harris went 6 of 8 on the drive for 61 yards, building on the ‘Runner’s lead of 21-7. If it was not for a “12 man on the field” penalty, UTSA would have stopped the Cougars on fourth down at Houston’s 34-yard-line. Instead, UH got a new set of downs and Tune threw a 37-yard pass and a 10-yard pass to put them at UTSA’s 20. The third quarter came to a close with Houston on the 5-yard line and a chance to score on 3rd & 5.  

With a penalty pushing the Cougars back to 3rd & 10, UH still answered with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Dell, making the score 21-14 with 14 minutes left in regulation. In an attempt to answer, Harris’ arm was hit while in the process of releasing the ball, forcing an interception by UH lineman Nelson Caesar and taking it to UTSA’s 20-yard line. Tune threw a 20-yard touchdown throw to receiver Joseph Manjack IV who made a one-handed catch, tying the game at 21. On their next possession, UH was backed up all the way inside their own five. Tune, escaping what could have nearly been a safety, completed a 13-yard pass on 3rd & 5 to keep the Cougars on the field. The Roadrunners were unable to get off the field, letting Houston convert on third down five times. The clock ticked all the way down to 26 seconds when Houston kicked a field goal to put them up 24-21. Harris completed a 30-yard pass to Cephus and a 25-yard pass to Oscar Cardenas to set up the game-tying field goal. Jared Sackett’s kick was good, sending the game to overtime 24-24.