Roadrunners are back-to-back C-USA champions

No. 23 UTSA defeats North Texas 48-27 in the conference championship

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

No. 23 UTSA football wins their second straight Conference USA championship against North Texas, winning 48-27 on Friday evening in the Alamodome. 

Roadrunner quarterback Frank Harris won the C-USA championship MVP award, completing 32 of 37 passes for 341 yards, three passing touchdowns, 49 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.

“It means a lot for the city of San Antonio. Like I always said when I committed here, it’s something I wanted to do for the city and the university. We got it done last season, and getting it done again this season definitely means a lot,” Harris said.

UTSA won their final C-USA title as they will move on and join the American Athletic Conference starting in the 2023 season. The two-time C-USA champions now extend their win streak to 10 games with an overall record of 11-2 after going a perfect 8-0 in regular season league play.

“We’ve got a great group of kids; we have a great city that supports us,” UTSA coach Jeff Traylor said. “We believe in the Triangle of Toughness, and we’ve had more injuries than we’ve had in my career, and each time players stepped up. I’m the luckiest coach in the world.”

Kevorian Barnes ran up the middle for a 27-yard touchdown run. North Texas’ Ikalka Ragsdale matched the score 7-7 with a 2-yard touchdown rush.

A 22-yard field goal by Ethan Mooney gave the Mean Green a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Clifford Chattman intercepted Austin Aune’s pass and returned it 27 yards. Harris capitalized on the turnover and ran down the middle 11 yards into the endzone.

Jared Sackett made his first field goal of the game from 42 yards to extend the lead 17-10.

UTSA had 37 seconds left in the half with a chance to build on their lead. On the drive’s third play, Harris found Zakhari Franklin for a 32-yard touchdown, taking the ‘Runners into half up by touchdowns.

A 40-yard run by Barnes set up a 14-yard touchdown pass from Harris back to Franklin.

North Texas cut the score 34-27 to trail by just a touchdown. A 39-yard pass to Franklin pushed the lead back to double-digits for the Roadrunners, followed by a 16-yard touchdown pass to Oscar Cardenas on the next UTSA drive to make the score 48-27.

The Roadrunners played in front of 41,412 fans, the third-highest attendance for a UTSA football game in program history. 

Aune finished the game with 14 of 29 completions for 194 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Ragsdale had 17 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Barnes led the Roadrunners in rushing with 28 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown. Franklin had 10 receptions for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Franklin also had his 13th receiving touchdown of the season, breaking UTSA’s record, which was his record from last season with 12.

Conference champion and MVP Frank Harris will now lead the ‘Runners to what could be their first bowl victory in program history. UTSA will find out who their opponent will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday when the CFP committee announces the bowl game schedule.

“We are about to go have fun in the locker room, celebrate, watch some film and then figure out what bowl game we go to,” Harris said. “[We will] watch film over whoever we play against, and just keep doing it like that and take it easy day by day.”