UTSA remains perfect in conference play, defeating North Texas 31-27

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

In a battle for first place in Conference USA, UTSA defeated North Texas (UNT) 31-27 on Saturday afternoon. The Roadrunners (6-2, 3-0 C-USA) found themselves trailing the Mean Green (4-4, 3-1) on four separate occasions during the game. However, in thrilling fashion, quarterback Frank Harris threw a touchdown pass with 15-seconds left to De’Corian Clark for the victory. 

“Frank didn’t play his best game, but he is the heart and soul of our team,” Traylor said.

Harris finished the game with 238 passing yards along with two touchdowns, including the game-winner. With Jeff Traylor as the head coach, the ‘Runners are now 16-6 in one-score ball games in the fourth quarter, and 4-1 in those games this season.  

Harris threw an interception on the second play of the game. Dadrian Taylor had a sack on 3rd & 10, forcing a North Texas field goal. Ethan Mooney made the 49-yarder to put the Mean Green on the scoreboard first. UTSA had a chance to tie the game with a 37-yard field goal of their own, however, Jared Sackett was wide-left. UNT’s quarterback Austin Aune completed a 58-yard pass to Jyaire Shorter, leading to another 40-yard field goal by Mooney. The ‘Runners put together a 12-play drive, concluding with a made 32-yard field goal from Sackett.  

On North Texas’ first drive of the second half, Corey Mayfield Jr. intercepted the ball on the Mean Green’s 38-yard line. This set up a 9-play drive ending with a 3-yard touchdown run by Brenden Brady to give UTSA its first lead of the game at 10-6. North Texas responded on their next drive with Aune throwing a 19-yard pass to Jake Roberts. Brady had another touchdown, this time a 1-yard run, early in the fourth quarter to put the ‘Runners back on top. Aune threw a pass to Var’Keyes Gumms which went 44-yards to score a touchdown. A blocked punt by UTSA’s Avery Morris set up the Roadrunner offense nicely. Harris threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cephus. Gumms had another big receiving play which went for 46-yards, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Johnson to put UNT in the lead 27-24 with under two minutes to play. Harris threw a pass to Oscar Cardenas who had a one-handed catch and went for 33-yards. Harris then passed the ball 10-yards to Clark who had 1-on-1 coverage and caught the game-winning touchdown.  

The ‘Runners had 238 passing yards with Cephus claiming 88 of those and having a touchdown. UTSA had 257 rushing yards to UNT’s 22. Brady had 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon. The Roadrunners had 495 total yards while North Texas finished with 347.  

For the second straight season, UTSA has started 4-0 in C-USA. Having beat North Texas, the Roadrunners are now the only unbeaten team in the conference. UTSA also gave North Texas a taste of their own medicine, having beaten the Roadrunners in their final regular season game last year, ruining their hopes of going 12-0.  

“What happened last year against North Texas to spoil our season was very sour in our mouths so we really wanted to win this game,” Cardenas said post-game.  

UTSA now enters its bye week. Their next competition will be against the University of Alabama-Birmingham (4-3, 2-2) at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.