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UTSA Football Wins First AAC Conference Game vs. Temple | Key Takeaways

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Another Conference opening game, another conference-opening win for the UTSA Football program as the Roadrunners take down Temple Saturday 49-34. UTSA is now 3-0 in conference inaugural games since becoming a program in 2011.


Odds heading into this game:

Line: UTSA -14.0

O/U: 56

 

Frank Harris Returns

And it felt like he never left. Harris picked right up where he left off and made his presence known from the first quarter. Frank Harris went 25/33, 338 yards and four total touchdowns (3 Pass, 1 Rush).


Harris also eclipsed the 10,000-yard mark in Saturday's win vs. Temple. The seventh-year senior QB has now passed for a UTSA-record 10,117 yards during his career.


FUN FACT: Only 145 players (including Frank Harris) have surpassed the 10,000-yard mark in passing yards in College Football History.


Running Backs are Hard to Scheme Against

Coach Traylor and the rest of the coaching staff have done a great job this season keeping the backfield a mystery. This is all thanks to the success that Robert Henry, Kevorian Barnes and Rocko Griffin have seen so far this year.


Robert Henry Took the majority of the workload in the backfield this week and didn’t disappoint. Henry led the team in rushing for the first time this season with 11 carries, 78 yards, and two touchdowns. He also picked up 25 yards on three catches. A season high in that department as well.


Although we did not see him hit the century mark rushing as we hoped this week on the Meep Meep Nation Podcast, Kevorian Barnes did find the endzone. First time since the season opener in Houston. We also saw no turnovers from him as well. Something that has been an issue so far this season. A great sign moving forward.


Rocko Griffin saw his lowest utilization since the Texas State game in Week 2 against Temple. He only received four carries for 21 yards on Saturday and we might have found out why. The new depth chart for this upcoming week against UAB was released Monday, and Griffin is not listed. He may be dealing with an injury that keeps him out against the Blazers.




The WR Room surprises EVERY WEEK

A True Freshman making HUGE Plays, a long-awaited return (sort of), and a new 1000-Yard Club member. A lot happened with the wideouts in this game for UTSA.


Let's start with Tykee Ogle-Kellogg, who has stepped up this season on and off the field. He tallied three catches for 83 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Ogle-Kellogg also surpassed 1,000 yards on his collegiate career in receiving yards. After the Temple game, he currently sits at 1,052 yards which is 6th all-time in UTSA program history.


The true Freshman Devin McCuin led the team in receiving this week with a career-high six receptions and for 94 yards. He also scored the final touchdown of the day late in the 4th quarter on a 29-yard pass from Frank Harris. McCuin now has two touchdowns on the season.


Add another touchdown to the ledger for Joshua Cephus this season. That makes it four out of five games this year where he has seen the endzone. Cephus had seven catches for 81 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter. Harris and Cephus were close to connecting for a second score in the game as well, but the pass in the endzone fell incomplete.




MILESTONE WATCH: Keep an eye out for Joshua Cephus in the next game at the Alamodome against UAB as he is currently only 110 yards from reaching 3000 yards receiving in his career.


Tight End Oscar Cardenas Might be the happiest player on the team to have Frank Harris back in the lineup. Oscar saw his volume increase Saturday with five catches for 51 yards. All of his receptions seem to really matter, and most were crucial plays to get a first down and keep the drives moving. Don't be surprised if Cardenas's workload continues to increase over the next few weeks to begin conference play. The new play-calling scheme to keep Harris upright and give him quick options seemed to work well Saturday in Philadelphia.


Finally, J.T Clark returned to action Saturday for the first time since his injury last season. He did not record a catch or a target for that matter. He was only on the field for three plays. Was that by design? I believe so. The coaching staff has been very cautious with Clark returning to the playing surface so far this season. I wouldn't be surprised if this is just the next step in his rehabbing phase. There have also been reports on the possibility that Clark redshirts and returns next season for UTSA.


Defensive Continues to be a Katy Perry Song

First off, if you don't get the reference, click here.


The identity of the UTSA defense continues to be a mystery five games into the season. Overall, the unit did a good job stopping the run, and keeping Temple "one-dimensional". However, that one dimension, had a field day against them.


First the Hot. Temple was held to 70 yards rushing on 29 rushing attempts. The Owls averaged 2.4 yards per carry. This is the second-best the rush defense has been all season, only behind Week 2 against Texas State where UTSA only allowed 31 yards on the ground.


Putting the Tennessee game aside, and assuming the game against Army is an outlier, UTSA has shown that they can stop the run. They will be tested this week, as UAB put down 253 yards rushing against conference foe USF this past weekend.


Then your Cold. The Secondary Questions remain. Let's just call it like we see it, EJ Warner Lit them up. He threw for 472 yards and five touchdowns. Temple was five yards away from having three receivers reach the 100-yard mark on the day. The Owls averaged 11.2 yards per catch and it seemed like they could get anything they wanted against the secondary. Warner Used his quick release to his advantage early and moved the ball quickly down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown.


There was a Blunder in the endzone on Temple’s opening drive where WR Martin-Robinson scored in double coverage. The goal line issues continued later in the game as Temple moved a receiver in motion, confusing the secondary, and a missed assignment that resulted in a score.


3rd Down stops is still an issue for UTSA Defense. Temple came into the game Saturday ranked 88th in the FBS on 3rd Down Conversions (37.3%). They were 12/20 (60%) against the UTSA defense.


Everywhere else, this team is showing drastic improvements in comparison to the past two games. If the secondary can catch up to the rest of the defensive unit, this team can absolutely compete in this conference.


Turnover Luck Shifts Wind

Heading into this game 129th in the country with a -7 Turnover Margin. A long way from its +23 margin a year ago (good enough for 7th in the FBS last season).


Defensive Tackle Brandon Brown changes that as he gets a fumble with 4:47 remaining in the first quarter. Although early, it was Crucial timing for the turnover. Temple already held a 7-point lead and was having their way with UTSA’s defense before the fumble.


The very next drive, UTSA had a Pick 6 by cornerback Kam Alexander but was called back due to a Roughing the Passer penalty on Jimmori Robinson. Robinson made up for the flag later in the first half however as he forced a fumble with only 3:05 left to go before halftime. The fumble was recovered by Ronald Triplette. The turnover Put Frank Harris and company 1st and Goal at the 6-yard line. Robert Henry would score on the very next play to take the lead for good.





UTSA led the turnover margin on Saturday with a +2. Although with the missed opportunity with the "Pick-6" and another dropped interception by Avery Morris it could have been immensely better. Coach Traylor discussed in a press conference leading up to the Temple game, that they found themselves on the wrong side of the turnover department early this season, and it was hard to pinpoint and answer, "why those things happen."


Hopefully, the luck has shifted in the direction of the Roadrunners.


Team Rankings After This Week (FBS Ranking)

Offense

  • Passing Offense: 246.2 YPG (62nd)

  • Rushing Offense: 146.4 YPG (77th)

  • 3rd Down Efficiency: 33/74 44.6% (37th)

Defense

  • Passing Yards Allowed: 262.6 YPG (110th)

  • Rushing Yards Allowed: 151.8 YPG (81st)

  • 3rd Down Efficiency (DEF): 34/83 41% (87th)

Other

  • Turnover Margin: -5 (114th)

  • Penalties Per Game: 5.4 PPG (45th)

Final Thoughts: The Refs Need to Chill…

If you watched the game then you noticed two unsportsmanlike penalties for Touchdown Celebrations on UTSA. One on Kevorian Barnes, and one on Tykee Ogle-Kellogg. I'm here to tell you that those calls were WEAK. It's not like they ran to the 50-yard or pulled a sharpie out of their cleat. Someone needs to tell these Zebras to Stop hating fun.


UAB WEEK!

The Roadrunners head back to San Antonio with a 2-3 record, but most importantly 1-0 in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). They will look to remain undefeated in conference play as they will host the UAB Blazers. Game Time is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPNU.


On a personal note, I am EXTREMELY Excited about this game, as I am making the trip to the Alamodome for the very first time. If you see me, be sure to stop and say hello!

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