When talking to the media this week, Coach Traylor referred to today’s game for UTSA against Florida Atlantic University as a case study for football minds. What benefits a team more – seven games played and the injuries that come with it like UTSA comes in with, or a more fresh team having just two games played, but fewer repetitions as a team like FAU?
Through one half of football, the evidence would appear that the latter has the advantage, with FAU scoring 10 unanswered points off their first two drives. After UTSA won the opening toss and deferred to receive in the second half, Hunter Duplessis knocked the kick-off out of bounds, giving the Owls a short field to work. The Roadrunner defense stepped up and limited FAU to a Vladimir Rivas field-goal from 24 yards out, giving the Owls a 3-0 lead.
After UTSA’s first drive ended with a punt, FAU got the ball back and marched 80 yards down the field, and in just 10 plays found the endzone off a 27-yard pass from Nick Tronti to Aaron Young. Rivas connected on the extra point, and FAU took a 10-0 lead.
The Roadrunners looked like they might respond with a score of their own, when on their second drive, quarterback Frank Harris took off up the middle for a 50-yard scamper. UTSA nearly got on the scoreboard when Harris found wide receiver Brenden Brady in the endzone, but a holding call on UTSA lineman Spencer Burford negated the score, and backed the offense up 10 yards on 3rd down instead. The FAU defense got to Frank Harris on the next play, sacking him for a loss of seven and setting up 4th & 21 for the Roadrunners.
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 31, 2020
UTSA took a delay of game penalty, and Lucas Dean used the extra space to pin the Owls at their five yard line. FAU would be forced to punt after failing to get going, and the Roadrunners would try to steal the momentum as the first quarter came to an end. After some missed attempts on the endzone, UTSA would get on the scoreboard in the 2nd half thanks to a Hunter Duplessis 49-yard field goal, bringing the Roadrunners closer with a score of 10-3.
After both teams exchanged punts, FAU would find the endzone again off an 80-yard drive, this one taking just nine plays. After a 36-yard toss from Tronti found Clemson transfer TJ Chase at the UTSA 2 yard line, Tonti called his own number for the score. Rivas made the extra point, and FAU extended their lead, making the score 17-3.
TJ Chase hauls in a 36 yard catch to set up a 2 yard Nick Tronti TD run to give @FAUFootball a 2TD lead approaching the break.
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 31, 2020
UTSA nearly responded on their final drive of the half when Frank Harris almost found Tykee Ogle-Kellogg in the endzone, but missed. On third down with just seconds left, Frank Harris dropped back to pass, but was sacked. The half ended, but Harris was shaken up on the play. He was able to run to the sideline as the teams went to the locker room.
UTSA defensive coordinator Coach Nix said this week that he wanted to force the Owls to the air, and FAU was ready for the challenge. Nick Tronti ended the first half with 11 of 14 passing, for 136 yards and a touchdown.
Frank Harris noted after last week’s win against Louisiana Tech that he wanted to find his receivers better. Harris had 51 yards passing in the half, connecting on just 5 of his 15 attempts.
Frank Harris is the leading rusher for the Roadrunners at the half with 10 carries for 66 yards, including that 50 yard run in the first quarter. Sincere McCormick had just 9 touches for 38 yards in the half.