UTSA crushes Rice 41-7, will host Conference USA title game for second straight season

HOUSTON – For the second straight season, the Alamodome will host the Conference USA Championship Game.

Playing on a wet and windy day in Houston, UTSA cruised to a convincing 41-7 victory over Rice to clinch the regular season conference title. Quarterback Frank Harris starred in the win, accounting for five total touchdowns.

“Frank Harris won’t be denied,” head coach Jeff Traylor said. “What a blessing that we’ve kept him healthy. He’s making up for a lot of kids that aren’t playing. Man he was special. Our kids just compete. They know how to win.”

The Roadrunners’ offense and defense both started the game strong and helped mount an insurmountable lead. Harris opened the scoring in emphatic fashion, cutting back against the grain and scoring on a 63-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. Following a sack-fumble from Kelechi Nwachuku and Donyai Taylor, the Roadrunners scored again on the very next play with a 15-yard keeper from Harris that promptly doubled the lead. Less than two minutes later, UTSA’s offense was back on the field thanks to yet another fumble recovery from Dadrian Taylor. This time, the Roadrunners capped a seven-play, 44-yard drive with Harris’ five-yard touchdown pass to Zakhari Franklin that gave UTSA a commanding 21-0 lead after one quarter of play.

Harris made it 28-0 heading into halftime on a 16-yard strike to tight end Oscar Cardenas late in the second quarter. He added a 16-yard TD scamper in the third quarter and finished with 227 yards of total offense — 103 passing, 124 rushing — almost as much as the entire Rice offense combined. Running backs Brenden Brady (67 yards) and Kevorian Barnes (64 yards) each contributed to a ground game that racked up 262 yards on 32 carries. UTSA’s defense forced three turnovers and didn’t allow a point to the Owls until the fourth quarter.

UTSA will conclude their regular season next Saturday at home against UTEP. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. The Roadrunners will then host the CUSA title game on December 2.

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