Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Football to face North Texas on Saturday in C-USA opener

UTSA Roadrunners (1-2, 0-0) at North Texas Mean Green (1-2, 0-0)
6:30 p.m.  |  Sept. 21, 2019
Apogee Stadium (30,850)  |  Denton, Texas
TV: Stadium on Facebook
Radio: Ticket 760 AM
Opening drive
• UTSA and North Texas will meet for the seventh time on Saturday.
• The series is tied at 3-3 and the last two meetings have been decided by three points each.
• The Mean Green own a 2-1 advantage in games played in Denton.
• UTSA is 4-3 all-time in conference openers, including 3-3 in C-USA.
• UTSA will not leave the state of Texas until Nov. 9 at Old Dominion (Norfolk, Va.).
• Sophomore QB Frank Harris leads C-USA in completion percentage (.725).
• Saturday's game will air on Stadium on Facebook, marking the 76th straight UTSA game to be broadcast. 
Setting the scene
UTSA will travel to Denton to face North Texas in the Conference USA opener for both teams. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Apogee Stadium. The Roadrunners and the Mean Green each enter the matchup with identical 1-2 records and are looking to snap two-game losing streaks. The series is tied at 3-3 and the last two meetings have been decided by three points each. UTSA is 4-3 all-time in league lid-lifters, including a 3-3 mark since joining C-USA in 2013.
Tuning in
The game will air on Stadium on Facebook, which can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/LiveCUSA/ (a Facebook account is NOT required to watch the broadcast). Chris Hassel (play-by-play), AJ Hawk (analyst) and Kristen Balboni (sideline reporter) have the call. The contest will air live on the Roadrunners Sports Network and can be heard in the San Antonio area on Ticket 760 AM. Andy Everett (play-by-play), Jay Riley (analyst) and Pat Evans (sideline reporter) will call all the action. The pregame show will begin at 4:30 p.m. and there will be a 45-minute postgame show. The broadcast also can be heard live online at goUTSA.com and ticket760.comand via the free iHeartRadio app.

Who's counting?
Saturday's Conference USA opener at North Texas will mark the 98th game in UTSA history and its 49th road contest. Now in their ninth year of play, the Roadrunners are 42-55 overall and 17-31 away from home. By comparison, North Texas played its first season of football in 1913 and owns an all-time record of 517-508-33.
Scouting North Texas
The Mean Green will enter Saturday's game with a 1-2 record. North Texas opened the season with 51-31 home victory over Abilene Christian before dropping back-to-back road contests to SMU (49-27) and California (23-17). The Mean Green are averaging 31.7 points and 433.3 yards per game on offense behind senior quarterback Mason Fine, who has completed 66 of 109 passes for 745 yards and seven touchdowns. Sophomore Tre Siggers (252 yards) and junior DeAndre Torrey (149 yards) pace the rushing attack, while junior wide receiver Jaelon Darden has caught a team-best 18 passes for 193 yards and a pair of scores. North Texas is allowing 34.3 points and 412.3 yards per outing. Sophomore linebacker KD Davis is the top tackler with 32 stops, 2.5 for loss and a sack, while senior defensive back Nick Harvey has 19 tackles. Head coach Seth Littrell is 24-19 in his fourth season at the helm.
Series history
UTSA and North Texas will meet for the seventh time on Saturday with the series tied at 3-3. The Mean Green own a 2-1 advantage in games played in Denton, including a 29-26 victory on Oct. 14, 2017, in the last matchup at Apogee Stadium. The series has been tightly contested, as the six previous meetings have been decided by an average of seven points. Further, the last two meetings have been decided by three points each, as North Texas held on for a 24-21 win last November at the Alamodome.
UTSA/North Texas Series History
Date - Location - Result
11/22/13 -  Denton - W, 21-13
11/29/14 - San Antonio - W, 34-27
10/31/15 - Denton -  L, 23-30
10/29/16 - San Antonio - W, 31-17
10/14/17 - Denton - L, 26-29
11/24/18 - San Antonio -  L, 21-24
North Texas connection
UTSA tight ends coach Giovanni Vizza played quarterback at North Texas for two seasons (2007-08). The Alamo Heights High School product started 20 games at quarterback and amassed 5,146 yards and 32 touchdowns through the air and an additional 415 yards and four TDs on the ground. He garnered third-team Freshman All-America honors and was the 2007 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year after passing for 2,388 yards and 20 touchdowns in his debut campaign. He set an NCAA freshman record with eight TD tosses in a 74-62 loss to Navy and a North Texas school record with a 99-yard TD pass against ULM.

UTSA in conference openers
The Roadrunners are 4-3 all-time in conference openers, including a 3-3 mark since joining Conference USA in 2013. Additionally, UTSA opened league play on the road in five straight seasons before finally hosting a conference opener in 2017, and it boasts a 3-2 record in those contests. UTSA won its first-ever league game, a 35-14 triumph over New Mexico State in its Western Athletic Conference debut on Sept. 29, 2012, in Las Cruces. The Roadrunners made it two straight when they topped UTEP by a 32-13 count in their inaugural C-USA contest on Sept. 21, 2013, in El Paso. Saturday's league lid-lifter at North Texas will be UTSA's first on the road since 2016 and its sixth conference opener played in the month of September (3-2 record).
UTSA's All-Time Conference Openers
Date - Opponent - Result
9/29/12 - at New Mexico State - W, 35-14
9/21/13 - at UTEP - W, 32-13
9/27/14 - at Florida Atlantic - L, 37-41
10/3/15 - at UTEP - W, 25-6
9/24/16 - at Old Dominion - L, 19-33
10/7/17 - Southern Miss -  L, 29-31
9/29/18 -  UTEP  - W, 30-21
Staying close to home
UTSA's 2019 schedule will keep them close to home, as the first eight games on the slate all will be played in the state of Texas, including Saturday's conference opener at North Texas. The Roadrunners will not leave the Lone Star State until Nov. 9 when they travel to Norfolk, Va., to face Old Dominion, and the only other regular season contest outside the state borders will be against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 30 in Ruston.
Balanced attack
The UTSA offense has used a balanced approach in the first three games this season, as the Roadrunners boast a near-equal split between rushing and passing yardage. UTSA has rushed for 499 yards on 110 carries and accumulated 517 yards on 69-of-100 passing. In the season-opening win over UIW, the Roadrunners piled up 490 total yards, including 206 through the air and 284 on the ground, the best rushing total since they ran for 314 yards in a 20-7 victory against Rice on Oct. 21, 2017. The 490 yards of offense marked the program's best output since a school-record 569-yard effort in the 44-14 win at Texas State on Sept. 23, 2017, which also is the last time UTSA topped the 200-yard mark in both rushing and passing yardage in the same game. Making his first career start, sophomore Frank Harris passed for 206 yards and ran for 123 — a school record by a quarterback — to help the Roadrunners run 84 plays, the most since running 85 in a win against Charlotte on Nov. 26, 2016. UTSA has averaged 155.5 passing and 107 rushing yards over the last two games. The Roadrunners tallied 164 rushing yards against Baylor, including a season-high 87 from true freshman tailback Sincere McCormick, and threw for a season-best 209 versus Army.
Worth the wait
It had been more than 1,000 days since UTSA quarterback Frank Harris last played in a game, but the sophomore left-hander made the most of his long-awaited debut on Aug. 31. The Schertz Clemens High School product produced 329 yards of offense to lead the Roadrunners to a 35-7 victory against UIW in the season opener. Harris completed his first 13 passes — a school record — and finished 28 of 36 for 206 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He fired touchdown strikes of 16 yards to Carlos Strickland II, five yards to Gavin Sharp and 36 yards to Tykee Ogle-Kellogg and completed passes to 11 different receivers. He also set a new standard for rushing yards by a quarterback with 123, eclipsing the previous mark of 102 set by Eric Soza in UTSA's inaugural game on Sept. 3, 2011. Harris completed 15 of 24 passes for 93 yards against Baylor and 23 of 31 for 187 yards versus Army, and he now is 66 of 91 (72.5%) on the year, which puts him atop Conference USA and 13th in the country in completion percentage.
Sincere success
UTSA tailback Sincere McCormick has enjoyed a successful start to his collegiate career. He has rushed 29 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns through the first three games and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry and 62.7 yards per contest. As the first true freshman to start at the position in a season opener since the inaugural game in 2011, McCormick gained 74 yards on 12 totes with a long of 47 in the 35-7 victory over UIW. He followed that performance with 87 yards and two scores on 12 rushes, including a 54-yard TD scamper, against Baylor. McCormick, who rushed for 3,407 yards and 43 touchdowns during his prep career at Converse Judson High School, also had a 2-yard TD plunge versus the Bears and caught five passes in the win against UIW. In his last outing versus Army, he posted 53 total yards and scored his third rushing TD of the season, which puts him third in C-USA and 31st nationally.
Controlling the clock
UTSA has had a history of controlling the clock in the Frank Wilson era. Two years ago, the Roadrunners averaged 33 minutes and 13 seconds of possession time per game and that followed a 31:27 average in his debut campaign in 2016. This season, UTSA has held the ball for 40:02 in the 35-7 win against UIW, 31:31 versus Baylor and 28:27 against Army. The Roadrunners are averaging 33:40 of possession time per game, which ranks second in Conference USA and 19th among all FBS teams.
Creating havoc
The UTSA defense has become known for its attacking style during the Frank Wilson era, as the Roadrunners have posted a combined 245 tackles for loss, 80 sacks and 93 quarterback hurries. In surrendering just 209 yards of offense in the season-opening win against UIW, the Roadrunners recorded seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage — including four sacks — and pressured the quarterback seven times. UTSA tallied five stops for loss, including a sack by Rashad Wisdom, against Baylor and totaled five TFL and a pair of sacks, to go along with three forced fumbles — two of which were recovered — against the run-happy Army offense. The Roadrunners are averaging 5.7 tackles for loss and two sacks per outing this season.
Banks blossoms into d-line role
It is sometimes tough to imagine that UTSA senior defensive end Eric Banks played quarterback in high school, but the Memphis, Tenn., native has grown into his role as one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the league. Listed at 230 pounds as a true freshman in 2016, the 6-5 former two-sport East High School star now weighs 270. With UTSA utilizing a three-man rotation this season at the end position, Banks is making the most of his snaps with seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and a pass breakup in the first three games. The most experienced player on the roster in terms of games played with 39, he has totaled 65 tackles, 18.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and a pair of PBUs during his career.
Martel makes most of position switch
UTSA senior Andrew Martel spent his first three seasons as a safety and special teams standout for the Roadrunners. Prior to spring practice this year, he made the move to linebacker to help fill a void left by departed 2018 starters Josiah Tauaefa and Les Maruo. The Richmond, Texas, native has flourished in his new role this season, as he leads the team in total tackles with 18 and solo stops with 12. After registering four tackles in each of the first two contests, the Roadrunners' starting "Will" linebacker posted 10 stops (eight solos) against Army. That marked the second double-digit tackle outing of the Foster High School product's career, joining the 14-tackle effort he turned in at Southern Miss last fall. Also a standout student, Martel earned his bachelor's degree in multidisciplinary studies in May and currently is working toward his master's degree in business. The four-time C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll member is a nominee for the William V. Campbell Trophy and a member of the Wuerffel Trophy watch list.
Aussie makes immediate impact with leg and arm
UTSA freshman punter Lucas Dean has had an immediate impact in his first three games as a Roadrunner. As the program's first player from Australia, the Dunsborough native is averaging 41.7 yards on 16 punts to rank fourth in the conference. He has boomed four punts that have sailed 50-plus yards, including a season-long 56-yard punt against Baylor, and he has pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line three times. A product of ProKick Australia, which boasts more than 60 current NCAA Division I punters, Dean enrolled at UTSA in January and earned the punting job in spring practice. Not only has he made an impact with his right leg, but he also showed off a weapon with his right arm in the Army contest, completing a 22-yard pass to Rashad Wisdom on a fake punt to convert a fourth down.
New birds
In the season opener against UIW, 25 players made their UTSA debut and eight players drew their first starting assignment as a Roadrunner. Quarterback Frank Harris set a school record by completing his first 13 pass attempts in his debut, while Sincere McCormick became the first true freshman to start at tailback in a season opener since the inaugural game on Sept. 3, 2011. Tight ends Carlos Strickland II and Leroy Watson and center Ahofitu Maka also drew their first starts in a UTSA uniform on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, senior linebacker LaDarian McFarland, junior safety SaVion Harris and true freshman Rashad Wisdom all made their first starts, while senior Andrew Martel started his first game as a linebacker after previously making two starts in the secondary during his career. In the road opener at Baylor, freshman wide receiver De'Corian Clark, junior safety Antonio Parks and junior linebacker Dominic Sheppard all made their UTSA debut, while freshman Joshua Cephus drew his first starting assignment at wide receiver. The Roadrunners now have 28 debuts and nine first-time starters this season.
Season-opening success
UTSA was victorious for the seventh time in nine all-time season openers with the 35-7 win against UIW in the Hometown Showdown on Aug. 31 at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners also improved to 3-1 in season lid-lifters under head coach Frank Wilson with the victory.
UTSA All-Time Season Openers (7-2)
Date - Opponent - Score
Sept. 3, 2011 - Northeastern (Okla.) State - W, 31-3
Sept. 1, 2012 - at South Alabama - W, 33-31
Aug. 31, 2013 - at New Mexico - W, 21-13
Aug. 29, 2014 - at Houston -  W, 27-7
Sept. 3, 2015 - at #22 Arizona - L, 32-42
Sept. 3, 2016 - Alabama State - W, 26-13
Sept. 9, 2017 - at Baylor - W, 17-10
Sept. 1, 2018 - at Arizona State -  L, 7-49
Aug. 31, 2019 - UIW - W, 35-7
Wilson in fourth year at helm
Frank Wilson is in his fourth season as UTSA head coach and now has guided the Roadrunners to season-opening wins in three of his four years in the Alamo City. The New Orleans native has coached 19 All-Conference USA selections and a pair of Freshman All-Americans during his tenure. He has twice guided UTSA to bowl eligibility, including leading the program to its first-ever postseason appearance at the 2016 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, as UTSA tied the NCAA modern startup program by reaching a bowl game in its sixth season of play. Wilson came to San Antonio after a six-year stint as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU, where he also was the associate head coach in 2012-15. Armed with more than a decade of coaching experience in the Southeastern Conference, Wilson also has been an assistant coach at Tennessee (2009), Southern Miss (2008) and Mississippi (2005-07). He has coached or recruited more than 40 individuals who have made it to the NFL, including 2018 NFL First Round Draft pick Marcus Davenport of the Saints.
Pair garners preseason all-conference recognition
Seniors Josh Dunlop and Brett Winnegan were named to the Preseason All-Conference USA Team as voted upon by the league's head coaches. Dunlop was chosen as one of five offensive lineman on the squad, while Winnegan received the nod at kickoff returner. A versatile offensive lineman who has logged time at both guard and tackle, the Zionsville, Ind., native has appeared in 25 career games and has drawn 21 starts. Meanwhile, Winnegan holds UTSA career records for kickoff returns (64) and kickoff return yardage (1,397) and he has averaged 21.8 yards per return. The Pearland Dawson High School product, who missed all of the 2018 season due to injury, has appeared in 34 career contests, primarily as a returner and running back before making the move to wide receiver this season.
UTSA picked fifth in C-USA West Division 
UTSA was picked to finish fifth in the Conference USA West Division in in a preseason vote conducted by a panel of media members that cover C-USA schools. North Texas was the preseason favorite in the West, while Marshall received the nod for the East Division.
1.  Marshall (14)
2.  FIU (9)
3.  Florida Atlantic (3)
4.  Middle Tennessee
5.  WKU
6.  Old Dominion
7.  Charlotte
1.  North Texas (20)
2.  Southern Miss (4)
3.  Louisiana Tech
4.  UAB (2)
5.  UTSA
6.  Rice
7.  UTEP
(first place votes in parentheses)
Roadrunners on national award watch lists
Two Roadrunners have earned their way onto national award watch lists. Senior linebacker Andrew Martel is a member of the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is awarded to the FBS player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement. Fellow senior Grant Merka, a second-team All-Conference USA pick in 2018, is one of 25 players chosen for the inaugural Patrick Mannelly Award watch list for the nation's top long snapper.
Award/Team (Player)
Wuerffel Trophy Watch List (Andrew Martel)
Patrick Mannelly Award Watch List (Grant Merka)
Experience up front
UTSA boasts one of the most-experienced offensive lines in the nation entering the 2019 campaign. The Roadrunners returned a combined 46 starts from the 2018 season, which ranked 14th among FBS teams going into this fall. Three of the returnees started all 12 contests last fall: Kevin Davis at center, Josh Dunlop at right guard and right tackle and Trevion Shannon at left tackle. Additionally, Conference USA All-Freshman Team honoree Spencer Burford made starts at left guard in all 10 games he was cleared to play, while Jalyn Galmore drew the starting assignment at right tackle in the first five contests before suffering a season-ending injury. Jacob Graner also is back after starting three games at guard. The experience up front is part of nine total offensive starters back this fall, which is tied for fourth among all FBS teams.
Veteran D-line boasts depth, experience
Much like the offensive side of the ball, big men lead the defense. UTSA welcomed back for this season 11 defensive linemen who have seen previous action for the Roadrunners. Leading the way and now owning 29 starts in 36 games played is senior defensive tackle Baylen Baker. Fellow senior Jarrod Carter-McLin, who boasts 38 career appearances, started all 12 contests at defensive end last fall and has drawn the start in two of the first three games this season. The senior duo of end Eric Banks and tackle King Newton has played in 39 and 35 career games, respectively, giving that senior quartet a combined 148 games of experience. 
UTSA quartet has NFL ties
Four UTSA players have significant family ties when it comes to relatives who have played in the National Football League. Senior defensive tackle King Newton is the son of Nate Newton, who was a three-time Super Bowl Champion (1992-93, '95) and six-time Pro Bowl offensive guard (1992-96, '98) for the Cowboys. Junior defensive end Solomon Wise is the son of Deatrich Wise, a defensive lineman for the Seahawks and Saints, and his brothers Deatrich Jr. (Patriots) and Daniel (Cowboys) currently play in the NFL. Senior fullback Halen Steward is the younger brother of Tony Steward, a linebacker who logged time for the Bills and Saints, while sophomore cornerback Corey Mayfield Jr.'s father was a defensive lineman for the 49ers, Buccaneers and Jaguars.
Roadrunners roster makeup
UTSA's 113-man roster features 23 seniors, 28 juniors, 28 sophomores and 34 redshirt or true freshmen. The roster lists 76 players who hail from the state of Texas, while the next-closest state is Louisiana with 10. There are six players from Mississippi, five from California and Florida, three from Tennessee and a pair from Indiana. UTSA has one player each from Georgia, Hawai'i, Massachusetts, Michigan and Oklahoma, while freshman punter Lucas Dean is the first Roadrunner from Australia.
Degree in hand
Thirteen current Roadrunners already have earned their undergraduate degree, the 11th-most number of graduates among all FBS rosters. That list includes Carl Austin III, Baylen Baker, Matthew Cluck, Brandon Garza, Nick Locken, Andrew Martel, Grant Merka, Blaze Moorhead, Antonio Parks, Dominic Sheppard, Halen Steward, Carlos Strickland II and Brett Winnegan.
Leadership council elected
For the first time in program history, UTSA has elected a Leadership Council made up of representatives from each position group.
QB — Brandon Garza and Frank Harris
RB — Halen Steward
WR — Kirk Johnson Jr. and Blaze Moorhead
TE — Leroy Watson
OL — Josh Dunlop
DL — Eric Banks and Jarrod Carter-McLin
LB — Andrew Martel
S — Carl Austin III
CB — Clayton Johnson
ST — Hunter Duplessis
TV birds
Eleven of UTSA's 12 regular season games this fall have been selected for broadcast and the Nov. 2 contest at Texas A&M is expected to picked up for television later this year. The Roadrunners, who have seen their last 75 outings appear over the airwaves, likely will make it 85 straight televised/streamed appearances by the end of the regular season. 
Filling seats
UTSA has made a name for itself by drawing big crowds for home games at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners set an NCAA modern startup program record for inaugural game attendance when 56,743 fans watched a 31-3 victory over Northeastern State on Sept. 3, 2011. UTSA also established a startup standard by averaging 35,521 for home attendance that season. Now in their ninth season, the Roadrunners have drawn more than 1.3 million fans to the Alamodome through 49 home contests. Last fall, UTSA led Conference USA in home attendance with an average of 24,710 and drew 42,071 fans for the home contest against Baylor, marking the largest home crowd in the league last season and the No. 2 all-time home crowd in program history. This season's home opener saw 26,787 fans take in the 35-7 victory over UIW in the Hometown Showdown, while 30,718 fans filed into the Dome for the Sept. 14 contest versus Army to give UTSA an average of 28,753 through the first two home games.
Few can call a dome home
The Roadrunners are one of only two FBS teams to play their home games indoors. UTSA, which boasts a 25-24 all-time mark inside the Alamodome, joins Syracuse (Carrier Dome) as the only FBS programs to play in enclosed facilities. 
New playing surface unveiled
The Alamodome and UTSA unveiled on Aug. 26 a new playing surface that features the familiar roadrunner logo at midfield and end zones painted in navy blue with UTSA and Roadrunners word marks in the south and north end zones, respectively. The sidelines highlight the UTSA Athletics hashtag (#BirdsUp) and recognize San Antonio as Military City USA. Manufactured by Hellas Construction, the FusionH XP2 Synthetic Turf is composed of 60-ounce monofilament, slit film and thatch (Fusion HXP2 with thatch) with 1.75-inch pile height, SBR infill only and triple-layer backing with an additional k-29 backing. 
Up next
UTSA will have its first of two weeks off before traveling to El Paso to face UTEP on Oct. 5. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT at the Sun Bowl and the game will air on ESPN+.
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