Home General GAME RECAP: Triangle of Toughness Bolsters UTSA in Victory Over Southern Miss

GAME RECAP: Triangle of Toughness Bolsters UTSA in Victory Over Southern Miss


It’s said that good teams can execute their game plan even when their opponent knows what they’re going to do. For that matter, the UTSA Roadrunners looked like a pretty good team Saturday afternoon in Hattiesburg against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

UTSA racked up 233 yards rushing against a defense who was allowing an average of 177 per game, and more importantly, they were able to run it when they needed to most. Of the run game on the final drive, Head Coach Jeff Traylor said after the game,

“When you have a chance to go to a bowl game and you have four minutes and thirty seconds left and the ball in your hands, it shows how tough our guys are to get that done.”

Sincere McCormick was just the man for the job, and returning to the field after missing last week for the birth of his daughter, the nation’s second leading rusher got the necessary yards. With UTSA up three points and 4:36 still on the clock, #3 was called five times to carry the rock and picked up 19 yards to help the offense burn the Golden Eagles’ timeouts and secure the victory. McCormick finished the game with 32 carries for 173 yards and a pair of scores. The performance also secured him the single-season rushing record for UTSA football.

“It was just amazing that I accomplished my goal,” McCormick said after the game of achieving the record, “The job still isn’t done, and we’ve still got a couple more games to go, so I’m gonna keep it going and keep it rolling.”

With their sixth victory this season, the UTSA Roadrunners are eligible to go to just the second bowl game in the young history of the program, and in just the first year under Coach Traylor’s leadership, a testament to the “Triangle of Toughness” philosophy that he brought with him to San Antonio. The Triangle is made up of the three areas of the game: Running the ball as a team, playing tough on defense, and doing well on special teams. When those three areas are executed, the team can hang their hat on a complete, successful game, that likely results in a win.

“The Triangle of Toughness traveled tonight,” Coach Traylor told the media after the game.

The stat sheet supports the coach’s claim.

As mentioned before, the team rushed for 233 yards and 2 scores, led by Sincere McCormick’s performance, but supported by Brenden Brady’s 7 carries for 35 yards. Quarterback Frank Harris added another 5 carries for 23 yards, including a key rush for 9 yards on the final drive when UTSA was running out the clock. Harris did what he needed to in the pass game, connecting on 12 of 19 attempts for 71 yards and the first touchdown of the game that put UTSA ahead. He did also have an interception.

On defense, the team forced a fumble by Southern Miss’ quarterback, Tate Whately, at the Golden Eagles one-yard line that was kicked through the end zone by UTSA’s Charles Wiley when he was attempting to scoop and score. The play still resulted in points for UTSA as a safety, and gave them the ball again off a free kick. Early in the third quarter, sophomore safety Rashad Wisdom had an interception on Southern Miss’ first possession of the half, which UTSA used to score their second consecutive touchdown, which would prove to be the deciding score.

The defense didn’t stop there, and after the Golden Eagles scored on two straight possessions to pull within three points, a key pass by Whately on third down was tipped at the line, and though Whatley caught the ball, he was dropped for a huge loss of 19 yards, forcing the Southern Miss to punt on 4th & 26 with 4:36 left in the game. The Golden Eagles wouldn’t get the ball back in the game.

Finally, the special teams may have been the most impactful side of the Triangle in this game. It started with a foiled fake field goal attempt from Southern Miss by UTSA on the Golden Eagles’ third drive of the game. Instead of going up by six, the game stayed at 3-0 with Southern Miss leading. Three points, of course, would be the difference in the end between a possible overtime and the Golden Eagles losing.

Other key plays by the special teams included converting all three extra point attempts by Hunter Duplessis, and a truly impressive performance from punter Lucas Dean. Three of Dean’s six punts traveled 50 yards or more, and five of them landed inside of the 20, with one pinning Southern Miss at their own 2-yard line.

The mission isn’t done for the Roadrunners, as they have at least one more game this season, and possibly another if the postponed game against Rice from two weeks ago can be rescheduled. Next weekend, UTSA (6-4, 4-2)  will close out their regular season home schedule in the Alamodome against the North Texas Mean Green (3-3, 2-2) who are coming off their second straight win, a 27-17 victory today over Rice. With the Roadrunners’ win tonight, the team currently sits atop the West division in Conference USA.

“We’re gonna enjoy it for 24 hours,” Coach Traylor said of the win after the game, “and we’re gonna go win the day. We’re gonna make tomorrow the very best day it can be. We love playing at the Alamodome. We play well there. We’ll be fired up and excited to come home and play in front of our crowd.”

Next Saturday’s game against North Texas is scheduled for 2pm CST. At this moment, the Alamodome will still allow fans to be in attendance, even amid the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the city and Bexar County. The game will also be televised through Stadium.

Final Offensive Stats

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Stephen Michael 26, is a journalist, social media coordinator, host, and entertainment reporter. Michael graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and earned a Master's Degree in Digital Media in 2020 from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has worked covering the San Antonio Rampage, Stars, and San Antonio Futbol Club. He was the host of the Project Spurs Roundtable on NBC affiliate News 4 San Antonio from 2015-17.


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