Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Roadrunners return to the Frisco Bowl for the second time in program history

UTSA eyes their first bowl win in program history against Marshall
Jonathan Porter

Black Friday saw senior quarterback Frank Harris throw three interceptions in a 29-16 loss to Tulane, ending the Roadrunner’s quest for a third straight conference championship appearance. 

Compared to other programs after conference realignment, UTSA’s first season in the American Athletic Conference was quite successful. The combination of an explosive offense and a vicious defensive attack contributed to their seven-game conference winning streak, before dropping the regular season finale. 

The Roadrunners are slated to face an old Conference USA foe, Marshall Thundering Herd, now in the Sun Belt, in the Frisco Bowl. The ‘Runners are familiar with the Frisco Bowl, making their second appearance after losing to San Diego State 38-24 in 2021. Since the opening of the winter transfer portal on Dec. 4, both UTSA and Marshall will enter the Frisco Bowl without key players from the regular season. 

“You have to look at every team like it’s a one-year team,” UTSA coach Jeff Traylor said. “Now you’re terrified when one of your young guys go off on national TV.” 

The Roadrunners will be without linebacker Trey Moore, the 2023 AAC Defensive Player of the Year winner, after announcing his intention to enter the transfer portal in early December. Marshall has been hit worse losing four starters on offense before the bowl. Starting quarterback Cam Fancher and reception leader Caleb Coombs along with left guard Trent Holler and tight end Sean Sallis will not appear in the Frisco Bowl for Marshall. 

After a very successful 9-4 record and a Myrtle Beach Bowl win last season, Marshall started its 2023 campaign winning four straight games, including an upset win over Virginia Tech at home. After a tight 48-41 road loss to NC State, their season started to unravel, losing five straight barely becoming bowl eligible in the last game of the season. 

Marshall is expected to start freshman quarterback Cole Pennington who has had an underwhelming start to his college career, throwing six interceptions during his three appearances this season. Despite Marshall’s losses in the passing game, the Thundering Herd’s rushing attack cannot be ignored. Junior running back Rasheen Ali led the team with 1,043 yards on 203 carries scoring 14 touchdowns. 

“It’s going to be interesting to see how they will come into this game,” senior safety Rashad Wisdom said. “They are losing so many guys.” 

 Marshall’s defense is a solid unit headline by linebacker Eli Neal leading the team with 85 total tackles. Upfront, the Thundering Herd’s defensive line has forced a combined 15 sacks this season. Six players belonging to Marshall’s secondary are in the top 15 in the team in tackles forcing eight takeaways this season. 

“They’re great upfront and in the back end,”  Harris said. “Their record doesn’t display how great they are.” 

Excluding the loss of Moore on defense, the ‘Runners will go into the Frisco Bowl strong, retaining their starting core on both sides of the ball. For 21 seniors, the Frisco Bowl will mark their last game wearing the orange and blue. 

UTSA, seeking its first bowl game victory, is set to kickoff against Marshall in the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Toyota Stadium.

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About the Contributors
Nicholas Kingman
Nicholas Kingman, Assistant Opinion Editor
Nicholas is a freshman CAP student who joined The Paisano in Summer 2023. He is a San Antonio Native and is excited to stay home for another year.
Jonathan Porter
Jonathan Porter, Photographer
Jonathan Porter is a sophomore digital communication major at UTSA. After graduation, he plans on becoming a sports marketer. This is his second semester with The Paisano as part of the photo staff as he aims to improve on his craft and make new connections. He has been doing photography since his senior year in high school and since then, he has dabbled in portrait, landscape, event and sport photography. With The Paisano, he has taken pictures of numerous sports, events and campus life. In his spare time, he likes to workout, meet new people and work on his photography. While not his major, he enjoys getting to gain more experience with photography and even has plans on creating his own business in the future.

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