When your record is .500, it’s a telling sign that consistency is an issue, and that’s exactly where the UTSA Roadrunners sit after losing on Saturday to the Owls of Florida Atlantic University.
Coach Jeff Traylor preaches his triangle of toughness, which consists of doing well on special teams, playing tough on defense, and running the ball well as a team.
With a defense that has defended well, and one of the best special teams tandems in the nation, Coach Traylor knows where the problem lies. Coach noted this week that his team’s offense has played pretty well this season, “but there’s probably more room for improvement on that unit for being more consistent.”
That rang true on Saturday, though consistency is something that can be hard to find when a team plays four different quarterbacks during a season, let alone 8 games. It further doesn’t help when those quarterbacks themselves are inconsistent.
FINAL | Defending league champion FAU outlasts Roadrunners on Saturday afternoon in Boca Raton. NEXT: UTSA is at Rice at 2:30 pm on ESPN3 on Saturday in Houston.#BirdsUp | #RunAsOne🤙 pic.twitter.com/1DkzYl63AC
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 31, 2020
Frank Harris spoke last week after the win against LA Tech about wanting to do a better job getting the ball down field, and unfortunately he didn’t reach his objective this week. After completing just 12 of his 26 pass attempts for 109 yards through 3 quarters, Coach Traylor went to Jordan Weeks in the fourth. Weeks himself finished 2-8 for 17 yards. Harris did produce on the ground carrying the ball 14 time for 66 yards, while Weeks netted -14 yards on the ground in three attempts. The FAU defense didn’t make things easy on the signal callers, stacking up 7 sacks in the contest.
With all the turnover at the quarterback position due to performance or injury, Roadrunner fans would hope that the team would be able to rely on Sincere McCormick, the nation’s leading rusher. FAU through two games limited their opponents to an average of 108 yards per game on the ground, and today was no different against UTSA. The Roadrunners, averaging 184.9 yards rushing, totaled just 104 on the afternoon, with McCormick held to 54 yards on 16 carries.
In the team’s victories this season, you can see where all three of those sides were presented. In the losses, however, it has really come down to an inability to run the ball against good run defenses in BYU, Army and UAB, and FAU is the latest to join the list.
FAU played just two games heading into today, and they definitely looked like a more fresh team, though they have things of their own to work on, punting on six of their 11 drives. Dual-threat quarterback Nick Tronti did just what his team needed him to against UTSA; Protect the football and collect first downs. Tronti passed the ball 19 times, connecting on just 11 of them for 136 yards and a score, and adding 32 yards and another score on the ground off 14 carries.
"They are stingy on defense. … They are very fast, quick, physical. … They are a good unit and we'll have our hands full."
– @CoachTraylor on the FAU defense.
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 29, 2020
The Owl’s came into the contest as a strong rushing team, and bullied the Roadrunner front for 196 yards rushing and two scores. Junior running back Malcolm Davidson averaged 8.2 yards on 14 carries for a total of 115 yards on the ground, and fellow running-mate James Charles provided 43 more yards and a score.
After the game, Coach Traylor said he looks to address the two biggest questions from the game:”Why couldn’t we run the ball better?”, and “Why couldn’t we protect the quarterback better?”
When all is said and done, the Owls of FAU improve their record to 2-1, and now remain undefeated in Conference USA contests at 2-0, beating the Roadrunners 24-3. UTSA drops to 4-4 on the season, and 2-2 in the conference, but looks to bounce back next weekend on the road at Rice University (0-1), another team just getting their season started. Kick-off for that game will be 2:30pm CST from Rice Stadium in Houston.
Final Offensive Stats