2022 NCAA Football Conference Championship Weekend: UTSA to host North Texas in C-USA Championship Game





SAN ANTONIO — Riding a nine-game winning streak and nationally ranked in both major polls, No. 23/24 UTSA will host the Ryan C-USA Championship Game for the second straight year when it faces North Texas on Friday night at the Alamodome. Kickoff for the second meeting this season between the Roadrunners and Mean Green is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and air on Ticket 760 AM. UTSA, which beat Western Kentucky 49-41 in the 2021 C-USA Championship Game, improved to 10-2 overall and wrapped up a perfect 8-0 league ledger with a 34-31 comeback victory over UTEP last Saturday. UNT moved to 7-5 and secured second place in the conference standings with a 21-17 home win against Rice. The Roadrunners rallied for a 31-27 triumph over the Mean Green on Oct. 22 at the Alamodome in the last meeting.

2022 Ryan C-USA Championship Game
#23/24 UTSA Roadrunners (10-2)
North Texas Mean Green (7-5)
6:30 p.m.  |  Friday, Dec. 2
Alamodome  |  San Antonio, Texas
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: Ticket 760 AM
Series History: Tied, 5-5
Last Meeting: UTSA 31, UNT 27 (10/22/22 • San Antonio, Texas)

Opening drive
• UTSA will host the C-USA Championship Game for the second straight year, facing North Texas this Friday night after beating Western Kentucky 49-41 last season.
• The Roadrunners are ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press Top 25 and 24th in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll this week.
• UTSA and North Texas will meet for the 11th time on Friday, matching the Louisiana Tech series as the most played in program history.
• The series is tied at 5-5 and the Roadrunners own a 4-1 advantage in games played in San Antonio.
• UTSA’s current nine-game winning streak is tied with Troy for the fourth-longest active FBS streak and it is the second longest run in program history behind the 11-0 start to the 2021 season.
• The Roadrunners own a 31-19 record against teams from the state of Texas including an 11-3 mark under third-year head coach Jeff Traylor.
• UTSA wrapped up the first undefeated conference slate in school history with the 34-31 win over UTEP, also improving to 20-3 in C-USA regular season games in the Jeff Traylor era.
• UTSA is 29-9 under Jeff Traylor, giving him the most wins and best record for a head coach through 38 games in program history.
• The Roadrunners have won 25 of their last 30 contests dating back to November 2020.
• UTSA is 5-1 all-time on Friday.
• The Roadrunners have won their last five and 15 of their last 16 home games.

Tuning in
Friday’s game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. Rich Waltz (play-by-play), Aaron Taylor (analyst) and Sherree Burruss (reporter) have the call. The contest will air live on Ticket 760 AM in the San Antonio area and on SiriusXM channel 387, as well as SiriusXM app channel 977. Andy Everett (play-by-play), Jay Riley (analyst) and Pat Evans (reporter) will call the action. The pregame show will begin at 4:30 p.m. and there will be a 45-minute postgame show. The radio broadcast also can be heard online at Ticket760.com and via the iHeartRadio and The Varsity Network apps.

On a streak
UTSA won its ninth straight game with the 34-31 comeback victory over UTEP last Saturday. UTSA’s current nine-game run is tied with Troy for the fourth-longest active streak in the FBS, trailing only Georgia (14), Michigan (12) and TCU (12). It also stands as the second-longest winning streak in program history behind the 11-0 start to the 2021 campaign. 

Nationally ranked Roadrunners
UTSA has broken into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time this season at No 23 and moved up one spot to 24th in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll, as the Roadrunners are ranked in both major polls for the first time since last December. UTSA moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time since last December with 145 points in this week’s poll. They are just ahead of No. 24 North Carolina (114) and 25th-ranked Mississippi State (99) and close behind No. 23 UCF (170). UTSA moved up one spot to No. 24 in this week’s USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll after receiving 127 points, just ahead of Mississippi State (88) and behind UCF (141). Last week, the Roadrunners were ranked 25th with 70 points in their first appearance in that poll since Dec. 5, 2021. Last season, UTSA rose to as high as 15th for three weeks in a row in the AP Top 25 last November and No. 16 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll on Nov. 7. UTSA was ranked in both polls for six consecutive weeks and also made an appearance in the 2021 College Football Playoff rankings for three weeks in a row, debuting at No. 23 on Nov. 9 before moving up to 22nd for two straight weeks. On Sept. 20, 2020, UTSA received two votes in the AP poll, a first for the program.

Home Sweet Dome
UTSA has been tough to beat at the Alamodome during the Jeff Traylor era. The Roadrunners have won 15 of their last 16 home contests and are 17-2 at the facility under the third-year head coach. UTSA reeled off a school-record 10-game win streak at home that started with a 27-26 victory over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 24, 2020, and ran through the 49-41 win against Western Kentucky in the 2021 Conference USA Championship Game on Dec. 3 before it was snapped in triple overtime against No. 24 Houston in the 2022 season opener on Sept. 3. The Roadrunners have won their last five at home and are 43-29 all-time in the Alamodome.

Rare company
By hosting the C-USA Championship Game for the second straight year, UTSA will join Western Kentucky in 2015-16 as the only Conference USA team to host the title bout in back-to-back seasons. In last year’s conference championship game, the Roadrunners defeated WKU 49-41 in front of 41,148 fans, the third-largest crowd in program history.

Friday night lights
While college football traditionally is played on Saturdays, UTSA is no stranger to having a game moved to a weeknight for television. This week’s contest versus North Texas will mark the third Friday night CBS Sports Network broadcast of the season for the Roadrunners, who beat Middle Tennessee 45-30 on Sept. 30 in Murfreesboro and scored a 30-10 road victory over FIU on Oct. 14 to improve to 5-1 all-time on Fridays. In 2014, the Roadrunners opened the year with a 27-7 victory over Houston in a Friday night broadcast on ESPNU. UTSA also played a pair of Thursday night contests that fall, including a 26-23 setback to Arizona and a 12-10 win against Southern Miss in a CBS Sports Network telecast. UTSA played its 2015 season lid-lifter on a Thursday at Arizona, and then hosted Arizona State in a Friday night showdown on ESPN2 at the Alamodome in 2016, the only Friday setback in program annals. The Roadrunners beat Middle Tennessee 37-35 in a CBSSN Friday night broadcast on Sept. 25, 2020. UTSA outlasted Western Kentucky 49-41 in a Friday night CBSSN telecast last Dec. 3 to capture the program’s first-ever Conference USA title. The Roadrunners played their first Tuesday game in a 38-24 setback to No. 24 San Diego State in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 21, 2021. In 2012, UTSA was scheduled to open the year on a Thursday versus South Alabama, but that game was postponed to Saturday, Sept. 1, due to Hurricane Isaac. UTSA is 5-4 in games played on weekdays.

UTSA’s Non-Saturday Games
Day                  Date                 Opponent                                Result
Friday               8/29/14           at Houston                               W, 27-7
Thursday          9/4/14             Arizona                                     L, 23-26
Thursday          11/13/14         Southern Miss                          W, 12-10
Thursday          9/3/15             at Arizona                                 L, 32-42
Friday               9/16/16           Arizona State                            L, 28-32
Friday               9/25/20           Middle Tennessee                    W, 37-35
Friday               12/3/21           Western Kentucky                    W, 49-41
Tuesday            12/21/21         vs. #24 San Diego State             L, 24-38
Friday               9/30/22           at Middle Tennessee                W, 45-30
Friday               10/14/22         at FIU                                       W, 30-10

Traylor successful in league play
UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has experienced immediate success in league games during his time in San Antonio. The 2021 Conference USA Coach of the Year has guided the Roadrunners to 20 wins in 23 regular season conference games during his tenure. The Roadrunners rallied for a 34-31 victory against UTEP last Saturday to wrap up the first undefeated conference record in school history at 8-0. Last season, Traylor led UTSA to a 7-1 league mark and the program’s first-ever conference crown with a 49-41 victory over Western Kentucky in the C-USA Championship Game. The Roadrunners registered a 5-2 record in C-USA play in Traylor’s first season at the helm in 2020.

Scouting North Texas
The Mean Green improved to 7-5 overall and secured second place in the Conference USA regular season standings at 6-2 with a 21-27 home victory over Rice last Saturday. North Texas is averaging 34.5 points and 472.0 yards per game while allowing 30.1 points and 450.8 yards per contest. Austin Aune has completed 201 of 350 passes for 3,115 yards and 31 touchdowns. Ayo Adeyi paces a potent ground attack with 690 rushing yards and four TDs, while Oscar Adaway and Ikaika Ragsdale have rushed for 583 and 553 yards, respectively. Roderic Burns is the top receiver with 36 catches for 644 yards. K.D. Davis leads the defense with 118 tackles and Mazin Richards has posted 10 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks. Head coach Seth Littrell is 44-42 in his seventh season at the helm.

Series history
Friday will mark the 11th meeting between UTSA and North Texas, matching Louisiana Tech as the most-played series in school history. The series is tied at 5-5 but the Roadrunners are 4-1 versus the Mean Green in games played in San Antonio, including a 31-27 victory on Oct. 22.

UTSA/North Texas Series History
Date                 Location                       Score
11/23/13         Denton                        W, 21-13
11/30/14         San Antonio                 W, 34-27
10/31/15         Denton                        L, 23-30
10/29/16         San Antonio                 W, 31-17
10/14/17         Denton                        L, 26-29
11/24/18         San Antonio                 L, 21-24
9/21/19           Denton                        L, 3-45
11/28/20         San Antonio                 W, 49-17
11/27/21         Denton                        L, 23-45
10/22/22         San Antonio                 W, 31-27

Last Meeting
Frank Harris engineered the game-winning drive that culminated in a 10-yard touchdown pass to De’Corian Clark with 15 seconds left and the UTSA defense limited North Texas to 22 yards in a 31-27 victory on Oct. 22 at the Alamodome. Trailing 27-24 with 1:38 on the clock, Harris led the Roadrunners on a seven-play, 75-yard drive to paydirt. The senior dashed 22 yards on a quarterback draw and later found Oscar Cardenas open over the middle on a one-handed grab over a defender down to the 10-yard line. On the next play with time winding down, Harris tossed the game-winner to Clark in the left corner of the end zone. Jared Sackett’s extra point gave UTSA a four-point advantage and the Roadrunners then sealed the win when Martavius French recovered a squib kick by Tate Sandell.

Who’s counting?
Now in their 12th season of play, the Roadrunners will play the 145th game in program history on Friday when they host North Texas in the C-USA Championship Game. UTSA is 74-70 all-time and 43-29 at the Alamodome, including 5-1 this season. By comparison, North Texas has been playing football since 1913 and owns an all-time record of 537-532-33.

UTSA against in-state foes
The Roadrunners are 31-19 all-time against teams from the state of Texas including an 11-3 mark under third-year head coach Jeff Traylor. North Texas will mark the seventh opponent from the Lone Star State on the 2022 ledger.

UTSA vs. Texas teams
1-2 vs. Baylor
1-2 vs. Houston
1-0 vs. Lamar
0-1 vs. McMurry
5-5 vs. North Texas
7-3 vs. Rice
0-1 vs. Sam Houston
1-0 vs. Stephen F. Austin
0-1 vs. Texas
0-2 vs. Texas A&M
1-0 vs. Texas A&M-Commerce
1-0 vs. Texas Southern
4-0 vs. Texas State
1-0 vs. UIW
8-2 vs. UTEP
31-19 overall

Last time out
Frank Harris passed for 382 yards and three touchdowns, the UTSA defense held UTEP scoreless over the final 26 minutes and 56 seconds and Jared Sackett drilled a 28-yard field goal with three seconds left as the Roadrunners rallied from a 24-0 deficit for a 34-31 win in the Conference USA regular-season finale last Saturday at the Alamodome. UTSA was victorious for the ninth straight game to finish off a perfect 8-0 league slate, putting a stamp on its first undefeated conference record in program history. The Roadrunners moved to 10-2 on the season, reaching double-digit wins for the second straight season. The Miners stormed out to a 24-0 lead through the first 22 minutes only to see UTSA pull off the biggest comeback by margin of points in school history, eclipsing the 21-point rally in the 31-28 win over Memphis last season. UTEP built a 31-14 advantage early in the second half after a 5-yard touchdown run by Reynaldo Flores at the 11:56 mark of the third quarter capped a 66-yard drive that was kept alive by a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt. The Roadrunners responded by scoring 20 unanswered points down the stretch to pull off their sixth straight win against the Miners.

Packing the Dome
UTSA fans have packed the Alamodome during the last year, as three of the program’s seven-largest home crowds have been recorded during that span of time. The final three home contests of last season all topped the 30,000-fan plateau, and the Roadrunners drew 37,526 for the 2022 season opener versus Houston on Sept. 3. On Nov. 20, 2021, a total of 35,147 fans saw the Roadrunners pull out a 34-31 thriller against UAB to claim the Conference USA West Division title. Two weeks later, UTSA secured its first league crown with a 49-41 triumph over Western Kentucky in front of 41,148 fans, the third-largest crowd for a UTSA game at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners also beat Southern Miss in front of 30,105 fans on Nov. 13 and led C-USA in average home attendance last fall with an average of 26,643 for seven home games. UTSA set NCAA modern startup program records in its first season by drawing 56,743 fans to the inaugural game against Northeastern State on Sept. 3, 2011, and by averaging 35,521 fans for six home contests that season. UTSA once again has set the pace in C-USA for average home attendance this season with a league-leading 26,835 mark through the first six contests at the Alamodome.

UTSA’s Top 10 Home Crowds
Attendance      Date                 Opponent
56,743             9/3/11             Northeastern State
42,071             9/8/18             Baylor
41,148             12/3/21           Western Kentucky
40,977             9/7/13             Oklahoma State
39,032             11/24/12         Texas State
37,526             9/3/22             Houston
35,147             11/20/21         UAB
33,517             9/24/11           Bacone
33,472             9/4/14             Arizona
32,886             10/8/11           South Alabama

Remember November
UTSA has focused on finishing the regular season on a strong note in the Jeff Traylor era. The Roadrunners ran their record to 4-0 this season and 10-1 in games played in the month of November under Traylor. UTSA went 3-0 in the penultimate month of 2020 and then posted a 3-1 mark in November last season.

Down to the wire
UTSA is no stranger to close contests in the Jeff Traylor era, as 24 of the 38 have been one-score ballgames in the fourth quarter. The Roadrunners own an 18-6 record in those games including a 6-1 mark this year following the 34-31 comeback victory against UTEP on Nov. 26. Dating back to last season, UTSA has seen 11 of the last 17 contests decided in the fourth quarter or later. Further, the Roadrunners are 11-1 in games decided by eight points or less since 2021, good for the most wins and second-best winning percentage (.917) among FBS teams who have played at least eight one-score contests. The first two games this season went to overtime, with the Roadrunners dropping a 37-35 decision to No. 24 Houston in three overtimes on Sept. 3 before rallying to beat Army 41-38 in overtime one week later. UTSA saw Middle Tennessee draw to within 38-30 in the fourth quarter on Sept. 30 before a late touchdown run by Brenden Brady provided the final 15-point margin. The Roadrunners pulled out a 31-28 win against WKU on Oct. 8, a 31-27 victory over North Texas two weeks later and a 44-38 double-overtime decision at UAB on Nov. 5. Last November, the Roadrunners broke a 17-17 fourth-quarter deadlock against Southern Miss with two late scores in a 10-point victory before upending UAB 34-31 one week later on a TD pass with three seconds left to play. UTSA used an interception on the final play of the game to secure a 49-41 C-USA Championship Game win over WKU on Dec. 3 and then pulled to within seven points of No. 24 San Diego State in the fourth quarter of the Frisco Bowl before dropping a 38-24 decision in the 2021 finale. The Roadrunners also saw games against Illinois (37-30), Memphis (31-28), UNLV (24-17) and WKU (52-46) come down to the final minutes last fall. In 2020, UTSA’s matchups against Texas State (51-48/2OT), Stephen F. Austin (24-10), Middle Tennessee (37-35), UAB (13-21), No. 15 BYU (20-27), Army (16-28), Louisiana Tech (27-26), Southern Miss (23-20) and No. 16 Louisiana (24-31) all were one-score games in the final stanza. 

Overcoming deficits
The Roadrunners pulled off the largest comeback victory in program history when they rallied from a 24-point deficit for a 34-31 win over UTEP last Saturday at the Alamodome. UTSA trailed 24-0 after the Miners scored a touchdown with 7:03 left in second quarter, and they were behind by a 31-14 count with 11:56 left in the third before rallying for the three-point win on Jared Sackett’s field goal with three seconds remaining. Prior to that, UTSA’s largest come-from-behind win came on Sept. 25, 2021, when the Roadrunners rallied from a 21-0 deficit for a 31-28 road triumph on Hunter Duplessis’ 42-yard field goal as time expired. Earlier this season, UTSA found itself down to Army 28-14 with 6:49 left in the third quarter before rallying for a 41-38 overtime win on Sept. 10.

Largest Deficits Overcome In Win
Deficit          Final               Opponent                   Date
24 (0-24)       34-31              vs. UTEP                      11/26/22
21 (0-21)       31-28              at Memphis                9/25/21
14 (14-28)     41-38 (OT)       at Army                       9/10/22
14 (0-14)       17-14 (OT)       vs. Georgia State         10/29/11
13 (6-19)       27-26              vs. Louisiana Tech       10/24/20
13 (10-23)     24-23              at Old Dominion         11/9/19
13 (0-13)       21-13              at New Mexico            8/31/13
10 (0-10)       34-24              vs. Rice                       11/21/15
10 (0-10)       16-13              vs. FIU                        10/11/14

Working overtime
The Roadrunners have been working overtime in 2022, with a program-record three contests needing extra periods to determine the outcome. UTSA played the first back-to-back overtime games in program history to open the campaign. The Roadrunners dropped a 37-35 decision to No. 24 Houston in triple overtime in the opener. One week later, UTSA rallied from a 14-point, second-half deficit to score a 41-38 road triumph over Army West Point in one extra period. On Nov. 5 in Birmingham, the Roadrunners outlasted UAB 44-38 in double overtime to improve to 2-1 this season and 5-3 overall in overtime games. UTSA has played overtime, double-overtime and triple-overtime games this season and joins Houston and Texas Tech as the only FBS teams to have played three overtime contests this year.

UTSA’s All-Time Overtime Games (5-3)
Date                 Opponent                          Result
10/8/11           South Alabama                   L, 27-30 (2OT)
10/29/11         Georgia State                     W, 17-14 (OT)
11/14/15         at Charlotte                        W, 30-27 (OT)
10/22/16         UTEP                                  L, 49-52 (5OT)
9/12/20           at Texas State                     W, 51-48 (2OT)
9/3/22             Houston                             L, 35-37 (3OT)
9/10/22           at Army West Point            W, 41-38 (OT)
11/5/22           at UAB                                W, 44-38 (2OT)

Maka named Campbell Trophy finalist
UTSA senior Ahofitu Maka became the third Roadrunner to be named a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which annually recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. He is one of 15 finalists and will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2022 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The center from Honolulu, Hawai’i, joins Eric Soza (2013) and Nate Leonard (2014) as the only UTSA student-athletes to be named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in the 12-year history of the program. The finalists will travel to Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Dec. 6 for the 64th NFF Annual Awards Dinner.

Harris repeats as national award semifinalist
For the second straight year, UTSA quarterback Frank Harris was chosen as a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. The senior from Schertz Clemens has thrown for school records of 3,524 yards and 27 touchdowns on 273-of-392 passing (.696), and he has added 539 yards and eight scores on the ground. The Davey O’Brien Award list will be trimmed to three finalists on Nov. 29 and the winner will be announced on Dec. 8 during The Home Depot College Football Awards show. Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award finalists will be announced on Dec. 13 and the winner will be unveiled at an awards banquet on Jan. 11, 2023, in Tyler.

Roadrunners collect weekly accolades
The Roadrunners have collected several weekly honors so far this season. Jared Sackett was named Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week for a school-record fifth time this season and seventh of his career after he made a career-long 51-yard field goal and a 28-yard field goal with three seconds left to lift UTSA to a 34-31 win over UTEP last Saturday. He also earned the award after games against Houston, WKU, UAB and Rice. Frank Harris picked up his fourth Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week award after accounting for 313 yards of offense (238 passing/75 rushing) and a pair of touchdowns in the 31-27 win over North Texas on Oct. 22. He also claimed the league’s weekly award on Oct. 3 and also landed on the Manning Award “Stars of the Week” list following his record-setting performance in the 45-30 road triumph over Middle Tennessee. De’Corian Clark was tabbed the East-West Shrine Bowl Breakout Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26 after piling up a school-record 217 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions in the 52-24 win over Texas Southern. Lucas Dean was named to the Ray Guy Award Ray’s 8 list after averaging 60.5 yards on four punts, which included a school-record 76-yarder and a 67-yard kick, versus Texas Southern. Harris picked up several honors following his performance in the 41-38 comeback win over Army in overtime on Sept. 10. He was named Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week, as well as C-USA Offensive Player of the Week, and he also landed on the Davey O’Brien Great 8 and the Manning Award Stars of the Week lists. Harris also earned C-USA’s weekly award following the season opener against No. 24 Houston.

Traylor off to resounding start at UTSA
Head coach Jeff Traylor is off to a resounding start to his tenure at UTSA. The Gilmer, Texas, native has turned around the program by instilling his 210 Triangle of Toughness culture, producing results on and off the field. Taking over a team that won a combined seven games in the two seasons prior to his arrival, he has led the Roadrunners to a 29-9 record, the most wins all-time and best record through 38 games by a UTSA head football coach. Named to the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year watch list for the second straight year, Traylor has UTSA off to a 10-2 overall mark, an appearance in both major polls this week and the C-USA regular season crown with the first undefeated league ledger in school history at 8-0. He already has mentored five All-Americans and a pair of NFL Draft picks during his time in San Antonio. In his first season, Traylor guided the Roadrunners to a 7-5 overall record, a runner-up finish in Conference USA’s West Division with a 5-2 mark and an appearance in the First Responder Bowl. The Roadrunners received votes in a national poll for the first time in program history and the seven wins marked the most by a first-year UTSA head coach. The Roadrunners enjoyed a record-setting campaign in his second season. The Roadrunners won their first 11 games, were nationally ranked (as high as No. 15) for the first time in school history and captured the program’s first league title by winning the 2021 C-USA Championship with a 49-41 victory over WKU. UTSA capped the season with its second straight and third overall bowl appearance. Traylor was honored for his success as the 2021 C-USA Coach of the Year, AFCA FBS Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4 and 2021 San Antonio Express-News Sportsman of the Year, as well as being a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, AFCA National Coach of the Year and George Munger College Coach of the Year Award. 

Season 12
UTSA is playing its 12th season of football in 2022. The Roadrunners started their program from scratch and, following a practice year in 2010, played their first season as an FCS Independent in 2011 before joining the Western Athletic Conference for the 2012 campaign. UTSA moved into its current league home — Conference USA — in 2013 and became a full-fledged FBS member starting with the 2014 season. The Roadrunners set NCAA modern startup program records in 2011 by drawing 56,743 fans to their inaugural game against Northeastern State and by averaging 35,521 fans for their six home contests that season. UTSA made its first postseason appearance at the 2016 New Mexico Bowl in its sixth season of play and registered its first win against a team from a Power 5 conference the following season with a 17-10 victory over Baylor. The Roadrunners captured their first conference championship by claiming the 2021 C-USA crown and capped a 12-2 campaign with their third bowl game. UTSA has posted at least six wins in seven of the 12 seasons in program history and it has reached the seven-win plateau five times, including in each of the first three years of the Jeff Traylor era. The Roadrunners now have reached double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons, joining Baylor and TCU as the only Texas-based FBS teams since 2012 to notch at least 10 wins in consecutive years.

UTSA senior duo earns C-USA preseason accolades
UTSA seniors Frank Harris and Rashad Wisdom have been named Conference USA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. Harris and Wisdom, who recently announced he is out for the season due to an injury, join C-USA Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year Brayden Narveson of WKU as preseason superlative award winners in a vote by the league’s head coaches.

Roadrunners reel in honors
UTSA has reeled in numerous honors this season, as 10 Roadrunners have landed on preseason or in-season watch lists or have been honored as nominees for awards. Senior quarterback Frank Harris leads the way after earning a spot on five lists — the Davey O’Brien, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose, Manning, Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards. The Schertz Clemens high product has repeated as a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and also is a nominee for the Wuerffel Trophy. Meanwhile, senior safety Rashad Wisdom appears on watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik and Paycom Jim Thorpe Awards and Bronko Nagurski Trophy. The Converse Judson High graduate also is a nominee for the Allstate Good Works Team. Senior center Ahofitu Maka was named a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy on Oct. 26 and is a member of watch lists for the Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Polynesian College Football Player of the Year, while senior wide receiver Zakhari Franklin is on the Biletnikoff Award and Reese’s Senior Bowl watch lists. Oscar Cardenas (John Mackey Award), Joshua Cephus (Biletnikoff Award), De’Corian Clark (Biletnikoff Award), Lucas Dean (Ray Guy Award) and Jared Sackett (Lou Groza Award) also appear on watch lists, while Jeff Traylor was named to the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year watch list for the second straight season.

Player — Watch List(s)
Oscar Cardenas — John Mackey Award
Joshua Cephus — Biletnikoff Award
De’Corian Clark — Biletnikoff Award
Lucas Dean — Ray Guy Award
Zakhari Franklin — Biletnikoff Award, Reese’s Senior Bowl
Frank Harris — Davey O’Brien Award (semifinalist), Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award (semifinalist), Manning Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Wuerffel Trophy nominee
Ahofitu Maka — William V. Campbell Trophy (finalist), Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy, Polynesian College Football Player of the Year
Jared Sackett — Lou Groza Award
Rashad Wisdom — Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, Allstate Good Works Team nominee
Jeff Traylor — Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year

Under the direction of co-offensive coordinators Will Stein and Matt Mattox, UTSA has emerged as one of the top scoring offenses in the nation. The Roadrunners are averaging a league-leading 37.9 points per game, good for 13th in the FBS. UTSA has posted 30-plus points in 11 of the 12 contests this season, and they have topped the 40-point barrier six times and the 50-point plateau twice. The Roadrunners set school records for scoring last season, tallying 516 total points in 14 contests for a program-record 36.9 points per game. UTSA has scored 20-plus points in 30 consecutive games dating back to the 2020 campaign. The Roadrunners have scored a total of 1,310 points in 38 games under third-year head coach Jeff Traylor, good for an average of 34.5 per game.

Aerial attack
UTSA boasts one of the top offenses in the country, featuring one of the most prolific aerial attacks in the FBS this season. Led by quarterback Frank Harris and the wide receiver trio of Joshua CephusZakhari Franklin and De’Corian Clark — who is out for the season after suffering an injury versus UAB on Nov. 5 — the Roadrunners are averaging 305.7 passing yards per contest, good for second in Conference USA and 13th nationally. Additionally, they rank 13th nationally in total offense with 479.0 yards per game and eighth in total first downs (310). UTSA eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark for passing yards in six games, two quicker than the previous school standard set in 2013 and matched a year ago. The Roadrunners surpassed 3,000 passing yards in the 10th game, also a program record, and they have registered five of the top 10 single-game passing performances in program history so far this season.

UTSA’s Top 10 Team Single-Game Passing Yardage
Yards    Opponent                    Date
441      Texas Southern            9/24/22
423      Middle Tennessee         9/30/22
414      Charlotte                     11/26/16
382      UTEP                            11/26/22
372      Western Kentucky        10/9/21
369      Oklahoma State            9/7/13
367      Southern Miss              10/7/17
365      Houston                       9/28/13
359      Army West Point          9/10/22
337      Houston                       9/3/22

Ground game gets going
UTSA’s ground game has found its footing over the last half of the season, topping 200 rushing yards in five of the last seven contests. UTSA also boasts a 100-yard rusher in five of the last six contests. The Roadrunners churned out 213 yards on the ground in the 31-28 win over Western Kentucky on Oct. 8 before Kevorian Barnes enjoyed his breakout game with 128 and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the road triumph over FIU the following week. Brenden Brady gashed North Texas for 112 yards and a pair of scores on 19 totes, as UTSA piled up 257 rushing yards on Oct. 22. Barnes then logged back-to-back outings over the century mark with 114 in the double-overtime victory at UAB and 103 in the 51-7 rout of Louisiana Tech, helping the Roadrunners tally 209 and 258 rushing yards, respectively. Frank Harris broke his own school record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 124 and three scores to spearhead a season-high 262 yards on the ground in the 41-7 win at Rice on Nov. 19. UTSA is averaging 173.3 rushing yards per game this season and 200.7 over the last seven contests.

Leader under center
UTSA senior quarterback Frank Harris has overcome multiple season-ending injuries sustained earlier in his career to emerge as one of the top signal callers in the country. The Schertz Clemens High School product, who owns a 30-10 record as the starting QB and more than 30 school records, has thrown for 8,817 yards and 69 touchdowns on 761-of-1,132 passing (.672) — all program records — and rushed for 1,759 yards and 23 TDs, the most in a career by a UTSA quarterback. In fact, Harris is one of only eight active FBS quarterbacks with 8,000 or more passing yards and 1,700-plus rushing yards, and he has piled up those numbers in the second-fewest number of games (42) among that group. This season, Harris has completed 273 of 392 passes (.696) for 3,524 yards and 27 TDs and he has added 539 yards and eight scores on the ground. A semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Awards for the second straight year, he has been named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week four times this fall, most recently on Oct. 24 after he threw for 238 yards and two TDs and added 75 rushing yards in the 31-27 victory over North Texas. He owns the top three and six of the top 10 individual passing performances in program annals including his school-record 414-yard output in the win at Middle Tennessee. Harris currently ranks fifth in the nation in total offense with 338.6 yards per game and he recently topped the 10,000-yard barrier for his career, as he now has 10,576. He also stands fifth nationally in completion percentage (.696), ninth in passing yards (3,524) and points responsible for (214), 11th in passing efficiency (164.3), 13th in passing TDs (27) and 19th in completions per game (22.75). 

Frank Harris School-Record Tracker (33)
Game (9)
Passing Yards                                    414 at Middle Tennessee (9/30/22)
Passing TDs                                      6 at WKU (10/9/21)
Completions                                    32 at Army (9/10/22)
Completion Percentage                    .866 (13-15) vs. Lamar (9/11/21)
Yards Per Completion                      23.9 vs. UTEP (11/26/22)
Rushing TDs                                      3 at Texas State (9/12/20); at Rice (11/19/22)
Rushing Yards by a QB                       124 at Rice (11/19/22)
Longest Rush by a QB                        71 vs. North Texas (11/28/20)
Total Offense                                    445 vs. Middle Tennessee (9/30/22)
Season (12)
Passing Yards                                    3,524 (2022)
Passing Yards Per Game                    293.7 (2022)
Passing TDs                                      27 (2021, 2022)
Completions                                    273 (2022)
Attempts                                         399 (2021)
Completion Percentage                    .696 (2022)
Passing Efficiency                             164.3 (2022)
300-Yard Passing Games                   6 (2022)
Rushing Yards by a QB                       566 (2021)
Rushing TDs by a QB                         9 (2020)
TDs Responsible For                         35 (2022)
Total Offense                                    4,063 (2022)
Career (12)
Passing Yards                                    8,817
Passing TDs                                      69
Completions                                    761
Attempts                                         1,132
Consecutive Completions                 13
Completion Percentage                    .672
Passing Efficiency                             149.1
300-Yard Passing Games                   9
Rushing Yards by a QB                       1,759
Rushing TDs by a QB                         23
TDs Responsible For                         93
Total Offense                                    10,576

Terrific trio
UTSA boasts arguably the most productive active pass-catching trio in the FBS. Senior wide receivers Joshua Cephus, De’Corian “JT” Clark — who is out for the season due to an injury suffered against UAB on Nov. 5 — and Zakhari Franklin have teamed up to provide the Roadrunners with a formidable air attack. The trio has combined for 569 receptions, 7,131 receiving yards and 67 touchdowns during their career. No other FBS team has a trio of active players with more receptions, receiving yards or touchdown catches. This season, the trio has totaled 203 catches for 2,598 yards and 25 TDs and all three appear on the Biletnikoff Award watch list, joining Ohio State as the only two schools with three on that list. All three receivers were voted into the coveted single-digit jersey numbers by their teammates this season, with Cephus wearing No. 2, Clark in No. 1 and Franklin donning No. 4.

UTSA Wide Receiver Trio Stats
                                     2022 Season                                  Career
Player                    Rec.     Yards        TD            Rec.        Yards          TD
Joshua Cephus        76        901           6              213         2,404         18
De’Corian Clark*    51        741           8              112         1,559         16
Zakhari Franklin      76        956           11            244         3,168         33
Totals                     203      2,598        25            569         7,131         67
*out for season as of Nov. 5

Keeping the streak alive
The UTSA receiving duo of Zakhari Franklin and Joshua Cephus are among the nation’s best when it comes to consecutive games with a reception. Franklin has caught a pass in all 44 career contests in which he has been available dating back to 2019, good for a tie for the longest streak in the FBS with Arizona’s Jacob Cowing. Cephus has at least one catch in 38 consecutive games dating back to the 2020 season opener, putting him in a tie for fifth nationally.

Franklin rewriting record book
UTSA senior Zakhari Franklin has rewritten UTSA’s record book for receivers. The Biletnikoff Award and Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list honoree smashed UTSA single-season standards for receptions (81), receiving yards (1,027), receiving yards per game (79.0), receiving touchdowns (12) and 100-yard games (4) last year en route to first-team all-conference and second-team Dave Campbell’s Texas Football All-Texas College honors, and he is approaching those numbers again this fall. The Cedar Hill High product also owns the program’s single-game record for receptions with 12, which he turned into 138 yards and a pair of scores versus Army in 2020. He started the 2022 campaign off with a bang by catching 10 passes for 100 yards against No. 24 Houston. He then hauled in 10 passes for 122 yards and a pair of TDs in the 41-38 overtime win at Army. He caught six passes for 84 yards and a touchdown against No. 20 Texas and followed that with six catches for 87 yards and a score in the win over Texas Southern. He found the end zone twice and totaled 98 yards on five catches in the 45-30 win at Middle Tennessee and had six receptions for 95 yards in the home victory over WKU. He caught seven balls for 93 yards and two touchdowns in the 44-38 road win over UAB and logged his third 100-yard game of the season and school-record 12th of his career with 126 yards and a score on seven receptions versus UTEP. Franklin now has 76 catches for 956 yards and 11 TDs in 2022 and he continues to sit atop the UTSA all-time charts for receptions (244), receiving yards (3,168) and TD catches (33). Further, he leads all active FBS players in receiving touchdowns and he ranks second in receptions, third in receiving yards, fifth in receptions per game (5.55) and sixth in receiving yards per game (72.0).

Sure-handed Cephus
Joshua Cephus has built a reputation as a wide receiver who does not drop anything thrown his way. The senior from Houston, who was added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list on Nov. 2, has been tagged with only eight drops in 300 targets during his career for a drop rate of 3.6% according to Pro Football Focus. He started the season by piling up 106 yards on seven receptions, including a 51-yard catch-and-run that opened the scoring against No. 24 Houston. Cephus then recorded his second straight 100-yard game with 112 on 10 receptions in the 41-38 overtime triumph over Army. He caught seven passes for 80 yards and had a 45-yard TD catch wiped out by a penalty against No. 20 Texas before topping the century mark for the third time this season with a career-high 114 yards and a TD on five receptions versus Texas Southern. Cephus had seven receptions for 91 yards in the road triumph over Middle Tennessee, eight for 46 in the win over WKU and six for 55 versus FIU. He hauled in a career-best 11 passes — the second-most in a game in program history — for 88 yards and a score in the 31-27 victory over North Texas. Cephus had five catches for 50 yards, including the game winner in the second overtime, in the 44-38 win at UAB and then hauled in seven passes for 81 yards and a TD against Louisiana Tech. He now has 76 catches for 901 yards — both career highs — and six TDs this year. The Dekaney High product now has turned 213 catches into 2,404 yards — 11th and 19th, respectively, among active FBS players — and 18 touchdowns during his career, marks that rank in the top two on the program’s all-time chart. 

Cardenas a dual threat at tight end 
UTSA junior Oscar Cardenas has developed into a punishing blocker and clutch pass-catcher at the tight end position. The San Antonio Brandeis High graduate earned a spot on the John Mackey Award preseason watch list this summer after a breakout 2021 campaign. He appeared in all 14 games and made four starts last fall, catching 16 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns, and he already has surpassed those numbers this fall with 20 receptions and 292 yards. He caught two balls in the opener against No. 24 Houston including a key 25-yard reception that set up the game-tying field goal as time expired. He added two more receptions for 18 yards in the 41-38 overtime triumph over Army and followed that with 28 yards on three catches against No. 20 Texas. Cardenas made a one-handed grab and then hurdled a defender for a 35-yard reception on the final drive of the 31-27 victory over North Texas. He set single-game highs with four receptions for 86 yards, including a 54-yard catch-and-run on the opening drive of the 44-38 double-overtime win at UAB. He had a pair of catches for 21 yards and his first TD of the season in the 41-7 win at Rice and added an 11-yard grab against UTEP to give him 39 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns in 42 games as a Roadrunner. Cardenas played a role in one of the iconic moments in UTSA’s history, hauling in the game-winning TD reception after a tipped pass with three seconds left in the 34-31 victory over UAB last November. He also had a 28-yard catch on the game-winning drive in the final minute versus the Blazers to help the Roadrunners clinch the Conference USA West Division title. 

Experience up front
UTSA boasts one of the most experienced offensive lines in the FBS this fall. The quartet of Kevin Davis (53 starts), Makai Hart (22), Terrell Haynes (29) and Ahofitu Maka (49) have combined for 153 career starts, which ranks in the top five among FBS schools. That foursome has combined to play in 173 games. With four starters returning entering the 2022 campaign, UTSA was tied with several other schools behind nine squads that returned all five starters this season.

Maka makes it happen on and off the field
Ahofitu Maka is back for his fourth season as UTSA’s starting center, leading the way on a veteran offensive line. A second-team all-conference selection in each of the last two seasons, the Honolulu, Hawai’i, native has started 49 career games — 48 at center — as a Roadrunner after transferring from Independence Community College prior to the 2019 campaign. Dating back to the start of the 2020 season, the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy preseason watch list member has allowed only two sacks in more than 1,400 pass-blocking snaps according to Pro Football Focus, helping pave the way for a record-setting offense. In 2020, UTSA broke single-season program records for rushing yards (2,585), rushing yards per game (215.4), yards per rush (5.21) and rushing touchdowns (24). Maka surrendered just one sack and three hits on the quarterback in 430 pass-blocking snaps that season. Last fall, Maka started all 14 contests, allowing just one sack and three hits on the quarterback in 471 pass-blocking snaps to help UTSA set school records for total yards (6,146), total yards per game (439.0), passing yards (3,577), passing yards per game (255.5), points scored (516) and points per game (36.9). So far this season, Maka, a member of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year watch list who received an invitation to play in the 2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, has not surrendered a sack and has allowed only one hit on the quarterback in 507 pass-blocking snaps, owns a 98.3% pass-blocking efficiency and has only committed four penalties in 873 plays. Also an excellent student, Maka is now a three-time CSC Academic All-District honoree, a three-time C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll member, a 2021 C-USA All-Academic Team pick and a C-USA Academic Medal recipient. On Oct. 26, he became the third Roadrunner to be named a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award. 

Fourth-down stops
UTSA has found success in stopping opponents on fourth down, including success on all four fourth-down attempts by Louisiana Tech on Nov. 12 and three of five tries by Rice the following week. The Roadrunners came up with a pair of fourth-down stops in the 44-38 road win at UAB on Nov. 5. Brandon Brown stuffed the league’s leading rusher, DeWayne McBride, on a fourth-and-two attempt deep in UTSA territory in the fourth quarter and Corey Mayfield Jr. broke up a pass near the goal line on the final play of the second overtime to secure the program’s first victory in Birmingham. In the 30-10 road triumph over FIU, the Roadrunners stopped the Panthers three out of four times on fourth down. They got off the field on fourth down twice in the third quarter by forcing an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal and again with a stop for no gain by Nick Booker-Brown and Pig Cage on fourth-and 11 near midfield. In the 31-28 victory against WKU, UTSA stopped the Hilltoppers three times — all in the second half — on four fourth down-conversion attempts. They forced an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-15 try midway through the third quarter before Booker-Brown batted down a pass on a fourth-and-14 situation later in the stanza. With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Rashad Wisdom broke up a long pass attempt on a fourth-and-seven to give the ball back to UTSA for good. In the 45-30 road triumph over Middle Tennessee, the Roadrunners stopped the Blue Raiders on a pair of fourth-down tries in the fourth quarter and they also thwarted Texas Southern’s only fourth-down attempt in the third quarter of the 52-24 victory the week prior. During UTSA’s nine-game winning streak, the defense has gotten off the field on 18 of the past 27 fourth-down attempts combined. For the season, the Roadrunners lead the league and rank 23rd in the FBS in fourth-down conversion percentage defense (.406).

Turning the tide
After a slow start to the season when it comes to forcing turnovers, the Roadrunners have turned around their fortunes over the last half of the season. Corey Mayfield Jr. came up with an interception in three consecutive games — tying the program record in the process — to lead the way in wins against FIU, North Texas and UAB. UTSA then exploded with a season-high five takeaways in the 51-7 rout of Louisiana Tech on Nov. 12. Clifford ChattmanDywan Griffin and Malik Jones had interceptions, while Jamal Ligon and Trey Moore recovered fumbles. Last Saturday in the 41-7 road triumph over Rice, Chattman had his second pick in as many weeks and the Taylor brothers — Dadrian and Donyai — came up with fumble recoveries to give UTSA three takeaways on the day. The Roadrunners came up with a pair of takeaways in the win against UTEP, as Chattman matched Mayfield and Egwuagy with an interception for the third game in a row, while Dadrian Taylor returned one 73 yards for a touchdown, his school-record third career pick-six. The Roadrunners have forced 18 turnovers on the year with 13 coming over the past six contests, including 10 in the last three.

D-line rotation keeps Roadrunners fresh
UTSA defensive coordinator Jess Loepp uses a deep rotation up front to keep the Roadrunners fresh throughout the course of a game. The Roadrunners played nine defensive linemen in the season opener versus No. 24 Houston. Brandon BrownBrandon Matterson and Asyrus Simon drew starts and combined to register 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Simon led that trio with seven stops, while Brown made 1.5 sacks and caused the fumble. Joe Evans (3 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks), Lamonte McDougle (2 tackles), Trumane Bell II (0.5 TFL, QBH), Christian Clayton (tackle), Zach Causey and Ronald Triplette also saw snaps against the Cougars. A total of 10 defensive linemen saw action in the 41-38 comeback win over Army on Sept. 10, led by Matterson (5 tackles, 0.5 TFL), McDougle (4 tackles), Bell (4 tackles, sack), Evans (3 tackles) and Nick Booker-Brown (3 tackles, sack). UTSA rotated 10 players on the d-line in four consecutive games with Matterson’s five tackles pacing the unit against No. 20 Texas, Triplette’s six stops leading the way in the win over Texas Southern, Evans’ two tackles topping the group in the 45-30 win at Middle Tennessee and Brown’s three tackles setting the pace in the 31-28 victory over WKU. Nine saw action in the road victory over FIU which saw UTSA match the school record with 14 tackles for loss, including 2.5 from Booker-Brown. UTSA played nine in wins against North Texas, Louisiana Tech and Rice, while eight have seen the field in victories over UAB and UTEP. A total of 11 UTSA defensive linemen have been credited with a TFL this fall with Booker-Brown pacing the unit with six.

Linebacker leaders 
The Roadrunners are not short on leadership in the second line of defense this fall, as three players who earned one of the coveted single-digit jersey numbers are lining up as starters at linebacker. The tandem of Trevor Harmanson, who is wearing No. 1, and Jamal Ligon, who is donning No. 8 for the second straight season, provides UTSA with two veterans in the middle. A super senior from Dickinson, Texas, Harmanson has recorded 231 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and a pair of recoveries in 49 career contests. Ligon, a junior out of Tyler, has registered 214 tackles, 13 TFLs, five sacks, four forced fumbles, a trio of recoveries and an interception in 35 games as a Roadrunner, and he owns the program single-game tackles record with 19 against Middle Tennessee in 2020. Meanwhile, Dadrian Taylor is back in his No. 7 jersey for his final year manning the SAM linebacker spot. In 57 career appearances, the Shiner, Texas, native has logged 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six PBUs, three fumble recoveries and a trio of interceptions, all of which he has returned for touchdowns, good for the program record. In fact, Taylor is one of only seven active FBS players with at least three interception return TDs.

Moore emerges on the edge
UTSA redshirt freshman Trey Moore has emerged on the edge for the defense this season. The Smithson Valley High School product leads the Roadrunners with 13.5 tackles for loss and six sacks as part of his 48 total tackles this fall. He opened his debut campaign with three tackles, including half a sack, against No. 24 Houston before breaking out for eight stops in the overtime win at Army. He registered six tackles with 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage in the victory over Texas Southern and followed that with a sack as part of a three-tackle output in the road triumph over Middle Tennessee. Moore has picked up the pressure over the past month with 2.5 sacks in the 30-10 win at FIU, a half-TFL in the victory versus North Texas and three tackles for loss, including a sack, in the 44-38 double-overtime win at UAB. Moore totaled five tackles including a strip-sack, and a fumble recovery in the 51-7 win versus Louisiana Tech and recorded a pair of stops and a hurry in the 41-7 victory over Rice. After turning in five stops with 1.5 TFLs against UTEP, he stands third on the program’s single-season list for tackles for loss — four shy of Marcus Davenport’s school record of 17.5 set in 2017 — and is just outside the top five for sacks.

Mayfield comfortable on an island
UTSA cornerback Corey Mayfield Jr. was thrown into the fire, so to speak, as a true freshman in 2018, seeing action in 10 games and drawing two starts. The Forney, Texas, native has made the most of that early playing time, developing into a steady presence at the position during the course of his career with 46 starts in 59 contests, which is tied with B.J. Daniels for the most games played in program history. The son of former Oklahoma and NFL defensive lineman Corey Mayfield and an honorable mention all-conference accolades in each of the past two seasons, he started 2022 with six total tackles, four solo stops and a key pass breakup deep in UTSA territory against No. 24 Houston. Mayfield then registered three tackles and a PBU in overtime of UTSA’s 41-38 comeback win over Army before logging four solo stops and a PBU at No. 20 Texas. Mayfield posted six unassisted tackles and a pair of pass breakups in the win over WKU and then came up with his first interception of the season to go with five solo stops in the 30-10 victory at FIU. Mayfield, who was voted into the No. 2 jersey number this season, made it back-to-back weeks with a pick when he stepped in front of a pass and also posted four tackles and three PBUs in the 31-27 win over North Texas. He equaled the program record with an interception in a third consecutive game, picking off a pass and returning it 15 yards to go with four tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and three PBUs in the win at UAB. He posted three tackles and a PBU versus Louisiana Tech, added two TFLs and a sack at Rice and then registered seven stops in the win over UTEP to take his season totals to 53 tackles, four TFLs, two sacks, a team-high 12 PBUs, three INTs and a forced fumble. Mayfield now boasts 156 tackles, 11 TFLs, four sacks, 18 PBUs, seven interceptions and three forced fumbles for his career. He stands 14th nationally with 1.2 passes defended per game this fall, and he is one pass defended (INTs plus PBUs) shy of UTSA’s single-season record of 16 and two short of the career mark of 35.

Playmaker in the secondary
UTSA senior Clifford Chattman has emerged as a playmaker in the secondary for the Roadrunners in his final campaign. The New Orleans native shares the team lead with three interceptions and 12 pass breakups this season and he ranks second with 59 total tackles. The 6-5 safety recorded 11 tackles and had a key PBU on a pass into the end zone in overtime of UTSA’s 41-38 victory at Army. He made six stops against No. 20 Texas and eight tackles plus a PBU in the 52-24 win over Texas Southern. He broke up a pair of passes to go with four tackles in the 31-28 victory against WKU before registering nine stops and three PBUs in the 31-27 triumph over North Texas. Chattman, who started his career at Texas A&M (2016-19), logged seven solo stops and a PBU in the 44-38 double-overtime win at UAB. He had a tackle and picked off his first pass of the season, which he returned 30 yards, in the 51-7 rout of Louisiana Tech before registering another interception return of 21 yards to go with four stops and a pair of PBUs in the 41-7 road triumph over Rice. In the comeback win over UTEP, he picked off a pass in the red zone off a tipped ball to match the program record with an INT in his third straight game.

Punter from Down Under
In its brief history, UTSA has developed consistent success in the punting game with the likes of Kristian Stern and Yannis Routsas, a 2017 Ray Guy Award semifinalist. Lucas Dean has emerged as the next in that strong punting lineage. A product of Prokick Australia and the first Roadrunner from Down Under, Dean has used an Australian Rules Football background to help provide UTSA with a weapon in the kicking game since his arrival on campus in 2019. This season, he is averaging 45.1 yards on 35 punts with 12 of 50-plus yards and 14 inside the 20-yard line. Dean enjoyed a career day in the 52-24 win over Texas Southern, breaking his own school record with a 76-yard punt late in the contest He also had kicks of 67 and 52 yards and averaged 60.5 on four punts in that contest to smash his own UTSA standard of 51.2 set against North Texas last season. Dean averaged 52.0 yards on two punts with a long of 57 in the 45-30 win at Middle Tennessee. He averaged 45.7 on three attempts including pinning North Texas at the 3-yard line on a 54-yard punt before punting three times for a 47.3 mark with a long of 70 yards in the win at UAB. As a true freshman, he averaged 40.8 yards on 65 punts and booted 12 of 50-plus yards. Dean provided quite the encore in 2020, shattering UTSA’s single-season punting average record with a 46.0 mark to lead Conference USA and rank sixth nationally. He was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, the C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year and a second-team All-American by the Sporting News that season. Last fall, Dean punted 47 times for a 45.2 average that ranks second on the program’s single-season chart, earning second-team all-league accolades. The Ray Guy Award preseason watch list member is the only Roadrunner with a punt of 70-plus yards, as he has three to his name. The two-time CSC Academic All-District honoree and 2021 C-USA All-Academic Team selection owns five of the six longest punts in UTSA history and has improved his school record career average to 44.0, which ranks 14th among active FBS punters.

Welcome back, Sackett
Not often does a college football player finish his career where he started after transferring, but UTSA senior Jared Sackett is doing just that this season. As a true freshman for the Roadrunners in 2017, he made 19 of 22 field goals (.864) for the Roadrunners to rank third in the FBS in field goals per game (1.9) and ninth in field-goal percentage (.864). Those numbers helped him become the second Freshman All-American in program history and UTSA’s first Lou Groza Award semifinalist. The Fort Worth native connected on 14 of 19 field goals en route to his second straight season as a Groza Award semifinalist in 2018. He transferred to Arkansas to kick for a coaching staff that included Jeff Traylor, but he sat out the 2019 season and then moved on to USF following a coaching change. Sackett made 5 of 7 field goals and all 10 extra points he tried in limited action in 2020 for the Bulls. After not kicking in any games last fall, he transferred back to UTSA for his final campaign, entering this season as a member of the Lou Groza Award watch list. He opened his second stint as a Roadrunner by drilling a pair of field goals, including a 37-yarder as time expired to send the game into overtime, and also made all three extra points and had two touchbacks on four kickoffs against No. 24 Houston. Sackett was tabbed C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week for his effort against the Cougars. Against No. 20 Texas, he made both field goal tries and two extra-point attempts, recorded three touchbacks and executed an onside kick that was recovered by Jimmori Robinson. After splitting the uprights from a season-long distance of 49 yards and making all four PATs in the 31-28 win versus WKU, Sackett earned the C-USA weekly award for the second time this season. He collected C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week accolades once again after going 3 for 3 in the 44-38 double-overtime win at UAB. Sackett drilled all three tries and also had six touchbacks in the 51-7 rout of Louisiana Tech and then picked up the league’s weekly honor for the fourth time this year after making both field goals and all five PATs in the 41-7 road triumph over Rice. He was honored by C-USA for a school-record fifth time this fall after he made two field goals, including a career long of 51 yards and a 28-yarder with three seconds left to lift UTSA to a 34-31 comeback win over UTEP. He has made 11 of his last 12 17 field goal-attempts to get to 19 of 24 (79.2%) on the year. He now has 57 makes — 16th among active FBS kickers — on 72 tries (79.2%) and 104 PATs during his collegiate career including his stop at USF. A Burlsworth Trophy nominee this year, he owns the UTSA career record with 52 field goals and he stands third in school history with 93 extra points.

Transfers making immediate impact
UTSA has seen several first-year transfers make an immediate impact this season. Nicktroy Fortune, who last played for West Virginia, has started the first 12 games at cornerback and registered 38 tackles, four tackles for loss, five pass breakups and a forced fumble. LSU transfer Joe Evans has seen action on the defensive line and owns 15 stops, 2.5 TFLs and half a sack in nine contests. NC State transfer defensive lineman Nick Booker-Brown made his UTSA debut in the 41-38 comeback win at Army, recording three tackles including a sack for a 5-yard loss, and he now has 27 stops, six TFLs, three sacks, a pair of PBUs, one quarterback hurry and a forced fumble on the year. Pig Cage, a defensive back from LSU who started his career at Nicholls, has logged 17 tackles, 1.5 TFL and a PBU in 12 contests. On offense, Venly Tatafu, who came from Independence Community College, has played in 10 games with seven starts to help the offense average 479.0 yards per game, good for 13th nationally. Arkansas transfer running back Trelon Smith has rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns, while Colorado transfer Chris Carpenter became the first Roadrunner to return a kickoff for a touchdown with a 97-yarder in the victory against Texas Southern.

Carpenter makes history
Chris Carpenter stamped his name in the UTSA record book as the first Roadrunner to return a kickoff for a touchdown when he took one back 97 yards for a score in the 52-24 victory over Texas Southern on Sept. 24. A transfer from Colorado, the Jacksonville, Texas, native’s return also soared to the top of the program’s list of longest plays, moving ahead of Jarveon Williams’ 92-yard run versus Southern Miss in 2016. Now in its 12th season, UTSA had returned a total of 396 kickoffs without a score before Carpenter broke free for his record setter. The previous longest kickoff return before Carpenter’s 97-yarder was 87 yards by Kam Jones at Florida Atlantic in 2014. Carpenter currently leads C-USA in kick return average at 28.7 and is one of 27 FBS players with a kickoff return TD this season.

FBS graduates
UTSA boasts 22 graduates on its 2022 roster, a total that is tied for the third-most among FBS teams. Nebraska leads the way with 26, followed by Liberty and Rice with 23. The Roadrunners are equal with Baylor, Eastern Michigan, Fresno State, North Texas, Pitt and Texas State.

UTSA’s Graduates
Trumane Bell 
Tre’Von Bradley 
Brenden Brady
Quincy Cage
Caleb Cantrell
Clifford Chattman
Kevin Davis
Trevor Harmanson
Frank Harris
Makai Hart
Terrell Haynes
Payne He’bert
Ahofitu Maka
Brandon Matterson
Lamonte McDougle
Dru Prox
Jared Sackett
Gavin Sharp
Trelon Smith
Dadrian Taylor
Tony Wallace
Julon Williams

Brotherly duos
UTSA has three sets of brothers on the 2022 roster in safety Pig Cage and wide receiver Quincy Cage, offensive lineman Kevin Davis and wide receiver Isaiah Davis, along with outside linebackers Dadrian and Donyai Taylor. The Roadrunners are one of only nine FBS teams with multiple sets of brothers this season. Additionally, the Taylor brothers are one of only eight sets of brothers to have combined for at least 5.0 tackles for loss this season, as they have registered a combined 5.5. The Taylor brothers each recovered a fumble in the 41-7 road win over Rice on Nov. 19.

TV birds
Friday’s game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network, marking 123 straight televised/streamed appearances for the Roadrunners. The last UTSA game that was not broadcast was the 2012 season finale against Texas State. 

Sixteen Roadrunners in super senior season
A total of 16 UTSA seniors have elected to take advantage of their extra year of eligibility this fall as a result of an NCAA blanket waiver for all 2020 fall sports student-athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brenden Brady
Caleb Cantrell
Clifford Chattman
Kevin Davis
Trevor Harmanson
Frank Harris
Makai Hart
Ahofitu Maka
Brandon Matterson
Corey Mayfield Jr.
Dru Prox
Jared Sackett
Gavin Sharp
Trelon Smith
Dadrian Taylor
Tony Wallace

Duo in seventh season of college football
UTSA seniors Clifford Chattman and Dru Prox are in rare company as two of only 23 FBS players who are in at least their seventh season of college football. In fact, that duo makes UTSA the only school on the list with two current seventh-year players.

A focus on recruiting Texas
UTSA’s 112-man roster features 87 players — 78% — who hail from the state of Texas. Louisiana stands second with five players, while there are three each from California, Florida and Mississippi and two apiece from Georgia and Tennessee. Hawai’i, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia each have produced one current Roadrunner, while Lucas Dean is the lone UTSA player from Australia.

Keeping them home
UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor and his staff have placed an emphasis on recruiting the city of San Antonio and thesurrounding area. The current roster includes 26 players from Greater San Antonio with a team-high five hailing from perennial power Converse Judson High School.

Player (High School)
Rudy Aleman Jr. (Warren)
Brenden Brady (Steele)
Oscar Cardenas (Brandeis)
Cade Collenback (O’Connor)
Frank Harris (Clemens)
Caden Holt (New Braunfels Canyon)
Xion LaGrant (Cornerstone Christian)
Ethan Laing (Boerne Champion)
Caleb Lewis (Steele)
De’Anthony Lewis (Judson)
Deandre Marshall (Central Catholic)
Frankie Martinez (East Central)
Brandon Matterson (Brandeis)
Trey Moore (Smithson Valley)
Matthew O’Brien (New Braunfels)
Xavier Player (Steele)
Jalen Rainey (Brandeis)
Jaren Randle (Johnson)
Robert Rigsby (Judson)
Ben Rios (Central Catholic)
Justin Rodriguez (Johnson)
Kamron Scott (Judson)
Xavier Spencer (Judson)
Dre Spriggs (Harlan)
Julon Williams (Judson)
Rashad Wisdom (Judson)

UTSA’s 210 Triangle of Toughness
Since his arrival in December 2019, UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has instilled into the program his 210 Triangle Of Toughness — run the football, be physical on defense and good on special teams — and its Culture Pillars: Integrity, Passion, Mental & Physical Toughness, Selfless and Perfect Effort. As part of that culture, the players voted after fall camp on who would earn single-digit jersey numbers, a reward for representing mental and physical toughness on and off the field. The numbers 2, 1 and 0 — San Antonio’s area code — were chosen for the players voted to represent the 210 Brand, the UTSA Triangle of Toughness. Below are the single-digit jersey numbers as voted by their teammates:

0 — Frank HarrisRashad Wisdom
1 — De’Corian ClarkTrevor Harmanson
2 — Joshua CephusCorey Mayfield Jr.
3 — Brandon Matterson
4 — Clifford ChattmanZakhari Franklin
5 — Brenden BradyLucas Dean
6 — Kelechi Nwachuku
7 — Dadrian Taylor
8 — Jamal Ligon
9 — Brandon BrownOscar Cardenas

Offensive linemen Kevin Davis (61), Makai Hart (77), Terrell Haynes (58) and Ahofitu Maka (55) also received the necessary votes but cannot change to a single-digit number due to their position.

Leadership Council elected
Prior to the season, UTSA elected a Leadership Council made up of representatives from each position group.
Quarterbacks — Frank Harris
Running Backs — Brenden Brady
Wide Receivers — Joshua Cephus
Tight Ends — Oscar Cardenas
Offensive Line — Ahofitu Maka
Defensive Line — Brandon Brown
Inside Linebackers — Jamal Ligon
Outside Linebackers (S) — Dadrian Taylor
Outside Linebackers (W) — Trey Moore
Safeties — Kelechi NwachukuRashad Wisdom
Cornerbacks — Corey Mayfield Jr.
Specialists — Caleb CantrellLucas Dean

Up next
UTSA will await its bowl destination, which will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 4.