On Saturday night, the UTSA Roadrunners took on the North Texas Mean Green. This was the final game of the Roadrunners’ season as they were unable to qualify for a bowl. The Roadrunners were not predicted to come out on top this season in Conference USA, however, their record was disappointing. In this final game of the season, one would expect the ‘Runners to come out with a fiery passion. This seemed to be the case, however, they came up short and came away with another loss.
UTSA Roadrunners vs. North Texas Mean Green Game Recap
These past few weeks, Frank Wilson has implemented some different looks into the team as he knew the season was over. Bryce Rivers was named the starter for the end of the year and has shown some promise, specifically in the final game.
Bryce Rivers against The Mean Green
To be honest, the Roadrunners looked really good against North Texas. They seemed more comfortable and confident with their play. This is due in part because this was the team’s final game of the season and the outcome was insignificant. However, it was refreshing to see the team play with heart and prowess for all 60 minutes. More specifically, Bryce Rivers. Rivers was seen as a fringe third-string player at the start of the season at best.
Flash-forward to November, Rivers was named the starter for the final two games and boasted the best quarterback performance of the season. Yes, it took all 12 games for the Roadrunners to finally have a solid quarterback performance. If you told anyone that Bryce Rivers would have the best statistical game for a UTSA quarterback this season, they would think you were crazy. But that’s exactly what happened.
The quarterback position has undoubtedly been the most ridiculed spot all year for the Roadrunners and deservingly so. On Saturday night, Rivers was the first Roadrunner quarterback this year to eclipse the 200-yard mark for passing in a game. He definitely had the most complete performance and it showed. Rivers completed 20 of his 32 passes for 269 yards with one passing and one rushing touchdown and an interception. He also posted a QBR of 58.2. Cordale Grundy had the next highest passing yards in a game with 191 against Louisiana Tech. Rivers, the sophomore quarterback out of Stevens High School, looked very poised and confident sitting in the pocket and gives some hope as for next year’s quarterback situation.
The defense looked shaky to start the game. They gave up a quick 10 points to start the first quarter and another seven in the second quarter. This has been an issue for the team all year. The team would go down big early, and as a result, the offense would have to claw their way back into the game. However, the second half was a different story. The defense only gave up seven total points and looked completely different by the end of the game.
Cassius Grady was able to come away with an interception in the middle of the second quarter that kept UNT out of the end zone as they were threatening to score. Josiah Tauaefa and C.J. Levine were among the two defensive stars for the game. Tauaefa had 14 total tackles for the night, eight of them being solo, and also registered the teams only sack. Levine had 11 total tackles with 10 of them being solo. The combination of these two big-play stoppers helped keep the team in the game until the final whistle.
End of Game Theatrics
The Roadrunners have not been in too many close games that come down to the wire this season. However, they saved the theatrics for the final game of the year. The Roadrunners were down 10 with about 10 minutes left in the game. The Roadrunners played tough and were able to get a touchdown with about eight minutes left. They eventually made the Mean Green turn the ball over on downs. The Roadrunners got the ball back with two and a half minutes left on the clock with a chance to tie the game up. They drove the ball down the field and with no time left on the clock Jared Sackett missed the game-tying field goal. Sackett has missed five field goals this year, however, this was the biggest miss of the year.
This season did not go as planned for the Roadrunners. They started the year off with three straight losses. They turned it around and were able to win three in a row to get back to .500. Unfortunately, the competition got more rigid and the team dropped the remainder of their games of the season. The year as a whole was a disappointment and by week nine, the Roadrunner fans were ready for the next year. The biggest issue for Frank Wilson heading into the next season is the quarterback position. There will be lots of consideration for the position and only time will tell who will lead the team in 2019.
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