By Jonas Clark
A story during the summer was the quality of depth at the QB position for the UTSA Roadrunners, and boy are they glad to have it. On the first offensive snap of the game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Josh Adkins went down with a shoulder injury and Coach Jeff Traylor went to redshirt sophomore Jordan Weeks to orchestrate the offense the rest of the way. Frank Harris was a game-time decision today after injuring his shoulder last week against Middle Tennessee and will not play.
Josh Adkins heading to the locker room after getting injured on the first snap of the day.
JoJo Weeks looking good early. Dingle dropped a hugeeee pass right in his hands. Can’t make those mistakes against UAB.
UTSA does convert an early 4th and 5, though.
— Evan Closky (@EvanClosky) October 3, 2020
The Roadrunners shook off the Adkins injury and went 49 yards in 11 plays to set up a Hunter Duplessis 48 yard field goal attempt and make, extending his active FG made streak to 18 and giving UTSA an early 3-0 lead. After the Blazers’ Bryson Lucero threw an interception on their first position, a UTSA punt gave them the ball back and UAB struck quickly for a TD off a 4 play, 88-yard drive.
Early in the second quarter, UAB extended their lead to 14-3 off Lucero’s second touchdown of the game. Two drives later, the Roadrunners would end the Blazers’ scoring run with a second field goal from Duplessis, this time good from 35 yards out. That sets up the halftime score of 14-6 in favor of UAB.
Something to watch in the second half would be what Coach Traylor decides to do at quarterback. Through two quarters, Jordan Weeks is 4-14 for 50 yards and an interception. He’s also been sacked three times. After a Corey Mayfield interception gave the Roadrunners great field position with 6 minutes left in the half, Lowell Narcisse replaced Weeks, but failed to lead a scoring drive after two failed rushing attempts and an incompletion, and Weeks was back for the next drive.
Sincere McCormack is second in the FBS in rushing yards, and is putting in work to chase down the top spot. He has 13 carries for 110 yards and a long of 27, so look for Traylor to lean on the sophomore stud a little more.
Defense and special teams have been doing well outside of the former giving up two scores. Corey Mayfield and Rashad Wisdom each have an interception, but the Blazers have gained 129 yards through the air. Quarterback pressure has been missing with the Roadrunners defense only totaling 3 QB hits and no sacks through the first half. The defense has further allowed 139 yards on the ground, with UAB’s Spencer Brown already over the century mark off 12 carries for 118 yards.
2nd Half and Conclusion
The Roadrunners rallied back against the UAB Blazers, but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be as UTSA fell to 2-1 (1-1 conference), losing to UAB 21-13. Everything was clicking throughout the game with the exception of quarterback play as Coach Traylor maybe waited a little too long to go with Lowell Narcisse. After going 6-and-out on the team’s first possession of the 2nd half, Weeks went to the bench with a final stat line of 7-19 passing, 1 INT, and just 57 yards.
After the Blazers went 90 yards in ten plays to take their lead to 15, Narcisse was given the reins near the end of the third quarter. In his first drive, the offense struggled to get going and was forced to punt, but a timely interception of UAB’s Lucero for the third time of the day gave the Roadrunners great field position. UTSA found the endzone two plays later on Sincere McCormick’s 12th rushing touchdown of his career, bringing the score to 21-13 with 11 minutes left.
McCORMICK! Sincere with his 12th career rushing TD.
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 3, 2020
The Roadrunner defense stepped up again with the game on the line forcing a 3-and-out, putting the ball in Narcisse’s hands with 8:48 to go. Penalties would ultimately end the drive after 4 minutes, and a questionable call to go for it on 4th & 17 that resulted in an incompletion. The Roadrunners nearly got the ball back with just under two minutes left, but a personal foul on a Blazer punt gave UAB a first down, and they would end the game in victory formation.
The UAB offense came in as advertised, and Bryson Lucero looked strong in his second career start, posting a 132.0 QBR off 19-29 passing for 195 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs. His offensive line kept him clean with zero sacks allowed on the day, and also aided a rushing attack that saw senior RB Spencer Brown gain 158 yards on the ground in 26 attempts, good for a 5.5 yard average. Eight Blazer receivers caught passes and Gerrit Price caught two of Luceros’ three touchdown passes.
With another change at quarterback right out of the gate, UTSA leaned on what they do well to stay in this one until the end. Sincere McCormick carried the ball 22 times for 152 yards and one touchdown. Hunter Duplessis went 2-2 in field goal attempts from distances of 48 yards (career long) and 35 yards, and he made his only extra-point attempt. The defense swarmed with the three interceptions of Lucero, and got stops when they needed to down the stretch.
Coach Traylor will get his team ready for next weekend’s game against 22nd ranked BYU next Saturday in Utah for another televised game. The big question this week will be who Traylor sends out to lead the offense if Frank Harris and Adkins still aren’t available. Narcisse played well in relief of Weeks, though mostly on the ground as he contributed 50 yards to the rush game on 7 attempts to go along with completing 2-5 for 33 yards. I’ll have the coach’s comments and your preview for BYU Monday after the Coach’s Media Roundtable.