Following their bye week, UTSA traveled to El Paso for a match-up against the UTEP Miners. The loser of the game would sit in last place in Conference USA-West. The Roadrunners handled the Miners easily with a 26-16 victory en route to their second victory of the season.
UTSA Notches Their Second Win
UTSA was in dire need of a victory following their third straight loss. Their last loss came at the hands of North Texas who delivered a beat down to the tune of 45-3. The Roadrunners used their bye week to prepare for the Miners, a team that they have easily beaten in most of their head-to-head match-ups. UTSA led the entire game and did not look back. The final score seemed closer than the game actually was. UTSA commanded the field and the tempo as they coasted in for the win.
This game was not coined to be a difficult game for the Roadrunners, which allowed backup quarterback Lowell Narcisse to star in his first start. Narcisse stated in place of Frank Harris, who injured his non-throwing shoulder in the opening minutes of UTSA’s game against North Texas. As stated by head coach Frank Wilson, Harris will be out indefinitely and should not expect to see the field anytime soon. The lack of information regarding Harris’ injury does not bode well for a quick return and leaves many worried that he will return this season.
Fortunately, Narcisse was able to hold the fort down. While his passing numbers were less than impressive, accumulating six completions on 14 attempts for 46 yards and a score, his ability to run the ball is where he shined. He tallied 19 rushes for 115 yards and a touchdown. This undeniable quality is what led the Roadrunners to victory. Narcisse performed above expectations in his first collegiate start and showed some promise. For the ‘Runners having any production out of Narcisse is an added bonus.
Running Focused Game Plan
UTSA seldom threw the ball in this game, a deviation from the norm for this pass heavy team. With Harris out with injury, the Roadrunners knew they must rely on their running abilities rather than passing. Constantly throwing the ball with their backup would have led to inefficiency. Realizing this, the coaching staff decided to be run-heavy for this game.
Sincere McCormick was the leading rusher for the Roadrunners. He gained 189 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown. He was incredibly efficient as he averaged 8.6 yards per rush. The ‘Runners racked up 320 total rushing yards in this run-heavy game. Narcisse and McCormick had 304 yards rushing between the two. For weeks, it has been said that McCormick should be getting more touches. He did and he proved his worth running all over the Miner’s defense.
UTSA for the season has been atrocious on the defensive side of the ball. The lack of offensive production has meant that the Roadrunner defense sees lots of playing time. As a result, they have given up an average of 36.5 points per game which ranks them 116th out of 130.
However, against UTEP, the Roadrunner defense appeared rejuvenated. This is due in part to the team’s bye week and also because of the less talented UTEP offense. The Roadrunner defense held the Miners to 181 total passing yards. They only allowed a 52 percent completion rate and one passing score as well. This was a drastic change in what has been seen from the Roadrunners as of late. UTSA also only allowed 99 rushing yards and one score on the ground. They succeeded in keeping large rushing gains to a minimum which helped in winning the game.
The defense got even production from every unit across the board. There were 10 players who had two or more tackles in the victory. The defensive player of the game goes to Carl Austin III, who racked up nine total tackles and seven solo tackles. Continued success on the defensive side of the ball is what will ultimately help win this weakened team games.
Look Ahead To Next Week
Next week, the Roadrunners will be playing the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers. This will undoubtedly be one of the Roadrunner’s more difficult tasks this season. In 2018, the Blazers were tops in Conference USA. This season, they are continuing their dominance. They currently have four wins and one loss and sit atop the standings with Louisiana Tech. In order to come out of this match up with a victory, UTSA is going to have to come up with some never before seen play calls. Catching the defense sleeping and taking advantage of any mistakes that the Blazers make will be the only way the Roadrunners will win this game.