The UTSA Roadrunners were excited to play host to Southern Mississippi in hopes of breaking even in the record column. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as the Roadrunners fell short to the Golden Eagles to the tune of 36-17. This loss meant that the Roadrunners could finish at best with a .500 record. UTSA has two tough matchups remaining in their schedule so there is no more room for error.
UTSA Shutdown by Southern Mississippi
Fresh off of a comeback win against Old Dominion, the Roadrunners seemed poised to snag another victory. However, the six-win and three loss Golden Eagles had other plans. The score was tight for the majority of the game. But Southern Miss was able to pull away in the second half. A victory in this game would have been huge for the Roadrunners. UTSA needed to win three of its remaining to be bowl eligible. With this loss, the Roadrunners will not be bowling for the second straight season. While winning this game would have been important for a bowl bid, it is more important for the job security of Frank Wilson. The only consolation prize is to win the last two games to avoid another losing season.
This loss is crushing in the hopes of extending their season. However, the Roadrunners showcased some positives in this loss. The main takeaway for this Roadrunner team was the performance of Lowell Narcisse. He is most notably known for his rushing ability. The LSU transfer quarterback carried the ball 18 times for only 31 yards. However, the most striking statistic was his passing through the air. He completed 21 of his 40 passing attempts against the Golden Eagles. While a 52.5 percent completion rate is not great, it is right around his yearly average of 53.3 percent.
The number that jumped off the page was his 325 passing yards. This is 85 more passing yards than he had in his next best performance. Narcisse is also averaging 161.5 passing yards per game in his seven starts this year. He played considerably better in this game compared to his season average. He also was able to complete two touchdown passes. One of which was a 75-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cephus.
Narcisse was also able to keep the Roadrunners in the game when things looked bleak. He was able to put together a 91-yard drive in the third quarter that resulted in a 51-yard touchdown. This touchdown brought the score to within six with an entire quarter remaining. Although the Golden Eagles eventually pulled away, this resilience from the young Narcisse is promising for the future of the program.
The Roadrunners have been hindered by inconsistent play from either the quarterback or the running backs in every game. One of these positions performs well while the other seems to be nonexistent. The running backs were the ones who did not produce in this game. Sincere McCormick has had an up and down year. He seems to play phenomenal one week and then gets shut down the next. Against Old Dominion, he ran for 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns. However, this week he rushed for only 54 yards on 17 attempts and contributed no scores. The Roadrunners need both aspects of their offense to produce in order to be successful.
Another factor that can contribute to running back inconsistencies is the number of touches McCormick gets. McCormick has been able to produce when given the opportunity to. However, this game was different. He was given the chance to run the ball but could not find the room he needed. McCormick was constantly bottled up and held to short runs as he averaged just over three yards per rush in this game. His longest run was only 13 yards. Southern Miss did a great job of holding McCormick in check.
UTSA’s defense is currently ranked 101st out of 130 teams in the FBS. They are allowing just under 33 points per game. The quote that defense wins championships rains true. Teams that can get stops and keep opposing offenses from scoring are often successful. Unfortunately, UTSA’s defense struggles weekly at getting important stops. UTSA allows 210 passing yards per game to go along with just under two passing touchdowns per game. This aspect of their defense is not the main issue. The problem comes with the rushing defense. UTSA allows 203.5 rushing yards per game as well as just under two and a half rushing scores per game. While UTSA’s offense struggles at times, the defense needs to be able to hold their own to give the offense more possessions.
A Look Ahead
The Roadrunners will play the Florida Atlantic Owls next week in what will be a very tough matchup. The Owls are currently in first place in Conference USA-East with a seven-win and three loss overall record. UTSA is predicted to have just a 10 percent chance to win this game. At this point, the Roadrunners just need to win in order to secure their coach’s job. This will be an intriguing matchup and one to watch out for in the coming week.