Tyrell Clay finds some room up the middle as receiver Josh Stewart sets up a block. Chase Otero/The Paisano

Roadrunner football team beats the Owls 20 – 7

 

After a stellar 3-0 start to the regular season, UTSA came into Saturday evening’s homecoming game against Rice on a two-game losing streak and an 0-2 record in conference play. After two painfully close losses to both Southern Miss and UNT in back-to-back weeks, UTSA desperately needed a win to get back on track and  stay in contention for a conference championship.

UTSA’s offense took the field first and started fast, carving up Rice’s defense through the air. The Roadrunners drove the ball all the way to the 30-yard line, but the drive stalled after they fumbled and turned the ball over to the Owls. However, Rice quarterback Sam Glasemann lost the ball on the ensuing possession, and UTSA made him pay. Defensive end Marcus Davenport scooped up the loose ball and took it back the other way for a UTSA touchdown. UTSA took an early 7-0 lead with eight minutes left in the first quarter.

After Rice was forced to punt on the next drive, UTSA started with the ball on their own nine-yard line. A few short plays later, running back Tyrell Clay took it up the middle and broke off a huge 73-yard run to move the ball inside the five-yard line. The offense was unable to punch it in through as Rice’s defense stiffened and made a big goal line stand. UTSA was forced to settle for a short field goal, and Sackett’s 19-yard chip shot sailed through the uprights as time expired in the first quarter to make the score 10-0.

The UTSA defense seemed to be getting back to its old ways as the game progressed into the second quarter. Rice was able to find minimal success with the ground game but couldn’t do anything through the air. After the UTSA secondary was highly scrutinized following the UNT game, they looked as if they were here to eliminate all doubt. However, with four minutes to go in the first half, Rice’s quarterback Sam Glasemann connected with receiver Aaron Cephus on a deep ball for a 50-yard touchdown. UTSA’s lead was cut to three with time winding down in the second quarter.

The score remained 10-7 as the game hit halftime.

Despite the UTSA offense driving the ball well, they were unable to get in the endzone at all. The Roadrunners’ only touchdown was the defensive score by Davenport.

On the first play of the second half, Rice attempted to go with the deep ball once again, but Glasemann’s pass was intercepted by UTSA’s defensive back Clayton Johnson. UTSA took over around midfield and drove the ball inside the 30 yard-line. On a second down and 13, Sturm scrambled outside of the pocket and delivered a perfect throw on the run to Brady Jones in the end-zone for a UTSA touchdown. UTSA took a 17-7 lead with 12 minutes left in the third quarter.

UTSA quickly got the ball back again and were soon threatening inside the eight-yard line. However, the offense was unable to punch it in and once again had to settle for a field goal to make the score 20-7.

As the third quarter wound down, Rice’s offense drove down into the red zone after a huge fourth down and long conversion. UTSA’s defense stiffened though and forced a 39-yard field goal attempt. Rice tried a fake but was stopped short of the first down marker to give UTSA the ball back on their own 15-yard line.

After the UTSA drive stalled, Rice got the ball on their own 40-yard line. Once again, the deep ball proved to be trouble for the UTSA secondary, and Rice receiver Aaron Cephus hauled in a 55-yard catch to put the Owls within striking distance. Rice running back Emmanuel Esukpa took the ball around the edge and into the endzone, but the score was called back on a holding penalty. After a couple of incomplete passes, Rice was facing a fourth and long from the UTSA 22-yard line. Star defensive end Marcus Davenport put any hope of a Rice comeback to rest as he drove Glasemann to the ground for a sack. The Alamodome erupted as Glasemann hit the turf and with that, the fate of the game was nearly sealed.

The UTSA offense drove down inside Rice territory and set up to attempt a 37-yard field goal. However, they faked it, and the pass fell incomplete, giving Rice the ball at their own 20.

On Rice’s first play of the new drive, they tried the deep pass again. This time, the UTSA secondary was ready, and Clayton Johnson snatched his second interception of the game. From there, UTSA would kneel the ball to run out the clock, and UTSA secured the victory with a score of 20-7.

Running back Tyrell Clay had a career day with 153 yards on only 11 carries. Meanwhile, Dalton Sturm went 12-21 through the air for 134 yards and a touchdown while also adding 73 rushing yards to his name. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive back Clayton Johnson had two interceptions while defensive end Marcus Davenport continued to impress. Davenport finished the game with 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

“It’s a big victory for the Roadrunners today,” said Head Coach Frank Wilson. “We pushed through, and we’re very proud to have achieved this victory for this football team on homecoming.”

The Roadrunners will look to build on the momentum of their first conference win as they head to El Paso for their next matchup against the UTEP Miners, who are still winless on the season.

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