SAN ANTONIO —UTSA forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter to help the Roadrunners outlast Southern Miss 27-17 in Conference USA action on Saturday in front of a season-high 30,105 fans at the Alamodome.
UTSA used the key takeaways to help break a 17-17 tie after three quarters and run its record to 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the league. The Roadrunners came up with a pair of fumble recoveries and an interception in the final six minutes and 39 seconds to help seal their program-record eighth straight home win and push their school-record winning streak to double figures.
Trevor Harmanson forced a fumble on Golden Eagles quarterback Antavio Willis that was recovered by Jahmal Sam at the Southern Miss 33-yard line to help set up Hunter Duplessis for a 24-yard field goal with 4:39 left that gave UTSA the lead for good at 20-17.
On Southern Miss’ next possession deep in its own territory, Corey Mayfield Jr. stripped the ball loose from Willis and Charles Wiley scooped it up and returned it to the 9-yard line. On the next play, Sincere McCormick pounded his way into the end zone to help provide the final 10-point margin.
Antonio Parks then picked off a Willis pass attempt on the next drive and raced 44 yards down the sideline to the USM 10 with a little more than two minutes left to play to help seal UTSA’s 13th win in the last 14 contests.
McCormick rushed for 90 yards and the touchdown on 19 carries, while Joshua Cephus registered his first 100-yard receiving game with eight catches for 106 yards, including a 40-yard catch-and-run score just before halftime that helped knot the score at 10-10.
Frank Harris completed 17 of 30 passes for 227 yards and two TDs and the Schertz Clemens High School product added 54 yards on the ground to help the offense post 370 yards for the day.
Meanwhile, the defense limited the Golden Eagles to 189 yards, the fourth time holding an opponent to fewer than 200 yards this season. UTSA also yielded just 53 passing yards, the third time allowing 60 or less yards through the air this season.
Jamal Ligon led the way with nine tackles, Harmanson made eight stops and Rashad Wisdom posted six tackles for the Roadrunners. Jaylon Haynes had four tackles, including 1.5 behind the line of scrimmage and a sack while Mayfield Jr. logged a pair of stops for loss and a sack as part of three total tackles.
Duplessis drilled a 23-yard field goal early in the second quarter to put UTSA on the board first. That score was set up by a 34-yard pass from Harris to Zakhari Franklin.
Southern Miss responded with the first touchdown of the day on a 10-yard dash up the middle by Frank Gore Jr., who rushed for 123 yards and completed 2 of 3 passes for 33 yards in the start at quarterback. That TD capped a drive that was set up on a 61-yard kickoff return by Camron Harrell.
The Golden Eagles added a field goal late in the first half when Briggs Bourgeois connected from 36 yards.
UTSA answered quickly, going 75 yards on just four plays, the last two a 29-yard catch by Franklin followed by Cephus’ 40-yard TD.
Natrone Brooks gave the visitors the lead once again after returning an interception 34 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the second half.
Late in the third frame, the Roadrunners got a fourth-down stop near midfield and then marched 58 yards in eight plays to tie things up once again, as Harris found tight end Leroy Watson open on a post route in the end zone on a 24-yard scoring connection.
COURTESY UTSA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS