4-0 teams are supposed to beat 0-4 teams. It’s supposed to be a given in college football. But UTSA and Head Coach Jeff Traylor has warned the UTSA fan base and his players about getting too comfortable and as the Roadrunners took the field on Saturday night they saw an 0-5 UNLV Rebels team that would test them. “Luckily my boss believes me when I speak to her. I tried to tell her all week it was gonna be a one possession game.”
First Half starts slow
UTSA struggled to get started with their first possession but with their second possession they worked their way 92 yards down the field and took a 7 point lead when Frank Harris found Joshua Cephus for a 9 yard touchdown pass.
An easy pitch and catch for Frank Harris and Joshua Cephus to put @UTSAFTBL on the board first!
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) October 2, 2021
Unfortunately, the Rebels took their first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession with a 63 yard touchdown pass over the entire UTSA defense.
UNLV and UTSA traded field goals in the second quarter. As the clock ticked down toward halftime the Runners found traction on offense and and Sincere McCormick punched the ball into the endzone from 1 yard out with 21 seconds left in the half. But the Runners were not satisfied with a 7 point lead.
“I got after them at half time pretty good. Which I never have to do that.” Coach Traylor said. “They were just incredible in the second half.”
UTSA added to their lead late in the third quarter when JT Clark took contact in the endzone with the ball into the air and worked around the defender to pull in a 31 yard touchdown catch. UTSA would lead at the end of the third 24-10.
2 very rare misses from Roadrunner Kicker Hunter Duplessis in the fourth quarter along with a UNLV touchdown with 6:43 left on the clock kept the Rebels hopes alive for the upset. But Traylor’s Triangle of Toughness Defense clamped down on UNLV as the final minutes of the game wound down and the Runners continued on their undefeated ways moving to 5-0.
“It easier to coach on a lot of mistakes after a win than it is after a loss.” Traylor said.
Next week the Roadrunners head to Bowling Green Kentucky to take on the 1-3 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. “We’ve got a very, very good opponent coming up. A different style of football. And we’re battle tested.”
The Dome was Rockin’
20,154 fans made the Roadrunners feel at home this week. Early in the week, UNLV Head Coach was asked if he prepared his players for the atmosphere inside the Dome. His simple response was. “No. Should I?”
His offense developed a few miscues throughout the night when the crowd made communication tough for them on the field. But the Runners enjoy the way the crowd supports this team.
“The crowd got really crazy into it, SOSA was fantastic and it was hard to get a snap off.” Traylor said.
Quarterback Frank Harris enjoys the support but he does have a request for fans in the Dome. “it was really loud. the only thing i will say, they were a little too loud when we were on offense.”
The final fourth down stop for UTSA to clinch the win over UNLV. The Alamodome was poppin' y'all.
The Rebels finished 1-3 on 4th down.
— Jonas Clark (@jarkclonas) October 3, 2021
Standout Wide Receiver Zakhari Franklin didn’t see the field this game. “It was a coaches decision. He’s been playing through a lot of injuries and he’d never let you know on any of them. I would regret for the rest of my life if I put him out there and he got injured.” ,Traylor said.
Harris knows how valuable Franklin can be. “All my receivers are really great. Z is really good. We would definitely like him back.”
Coach Traylor put it a little different. “I asked him before the game, I said Zakhari did you ever have a blanket or pacifier? You standing beside me kinda feels like I lost my blankie.”