Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Harris, defense lead rout of UIW in Hometown Showdown

SAN ANTONIO — Making his first career start, quarterback Frank Harris passed for 206 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 123 yards, while UTSA held UIW to 209 yards of offense in a 35-7 victory in the Hometown Showdown presented by H-E-B on Saturday before 26,787 fans at the Alamodome.

The sophomore left-hander completed his first 13 passes — a school record for a debut — and finished 28 of 36 through the air in helping the Roadrunners improve to 7-2 all-time in season openers, including a perfect 3-0 at home. The Schertz Clemens High School product also set a new standard for rushing yards by a quarterback, eclipsing the previous mark of 102 set by Eric Soza in UTSA's inaugural game on Sept. 3, 2011.

Meanwhile, the defense created havoc all night long in limiting the Cardinals (0-1) to 209 total yards, including just 28 on the ground. UIW did not convert a third down in 10 tries and UTSA sacked quarterback Jon Copeland four times, including two by junior defensive end Lorenzo Dantzler.

Dantzler and SaVion Harris led a quintet of players who recorded four tackles, joining Cassius Grady, Andrew Martel and Dadrian Taylor. Harris, a junior safety, also had an interception and Grady, a senior cornerback, posted a pair of pass breakups and a tackle for loss.

Harris completed passes to 11 different receivers, including five apiece to Brenden Brady (47 yards) and Sincere McCormick (18 yards). Carlos Strickland II had four catches for 26 yards and a TD and Blaze Moorhead had four receptions for 17 yards.

UTSA piled up 284 rushing yards, led by Harris and McCormick, who dashed for 74 yards on just 12 carries (6.2 avg.) in becoming the first freshman to start at tailback since Chris Johnson in the inaugural game. The ground game helped the Roadrunners run 84 plays and hold the ball for 40 minutes and two seconds.

UTSA struck first thanks to a head's-up play from the special teams unit. With UIW facing fourth down near midfield, Trumane Bell II stuffed David Balcomb on a fake punt attempt to give the ball to UTSA at the UIW 40. Harris quickly led the Roadrunners down the field, completing all four of his throws, including a 16-yard touchdown strike to Strickland that capped a five-play, 40-yard scoring march. Hunter Duplessis' extra point made it 7-0 with 9:18 left in the opening quarter.

The Roadrunners added to their lead early in the second quarter. Harris got loose for a 17-yard dash to the 10-yard line, which set up Brady's TD run to help make it 14-0.

UIW got on the board on an 11-yard TD reception by Ameer King that was set up by a 45-yard pass from Jon Copeland to Jaelin Campbell. Copeland finished 15 of 31 for 181 yards and one pick.

UTSA quickly answered with a 10-play, 65-yard drive that was capped by a touchdown run up the middle by Deven Boston on fourth-and-one to push the lead back to two scores.

The Roadrunners pushed their advantage to 21 points early in the second half. McCormick broke loose down the right sideline for a 47-yard jaunt to the 15-yard line. Five plays later on third down, Harris found Gavin Sharp open over the middle for a 5-yard scoring connection.

Harris put an exclamation point on his collegiate debut in the final stanza, as he found Tykee Ogle-Kellogg open on a post route for a 36-yard TD pass to provide the final margin.                                                                                                         

The Roadrunners will travel to Waco to face Baylor (1-0) next Saturday, Sept. 7. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at McLane Stadium and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Networks.