Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

UTSA to continue road swing at Rice

UTSA Roadrunners (4-4, 2-2)  at  Rice Owls (1-1, 1-1) 
2:30 p.m.  |  Saturday, Nov. 7 
Rice Stadium  |  Houston, Texas 
Radio: Ticket 760 AM 
Opening drive 
• UTSA and Rice will meet for the ninth time on Saturday, matching the Louisiana Tech series for the most played in program history. 
• The Roadrunners have won five straight meetings with the Owls and lead the all-time series, 5-3. 
• UTSA is one of only two FBS teams to have played eight games this season as of Oct. 31. 
• UTSA leads Conference USA and ranks fourth in the FBS with 13 takeaways, including eight interceptions (1st/C-USA; 8th/FBS). 
• The Roadrunners tied a school record with 14 tackles for loss against Florida Atlantic and they lead C-USA and rank 12th nationally with 8.4 TFL/game. 
• Sophomore RB Sincere McCormick leads the FBS in rushing yards (921) and is ninth in rushing yards per game (115.1). 
• Senior PK Hunter Duplessis leads the FBS with 15 field goals and ranks 10th with 1.9 field goals per game. 
• Sophomore P Lucas Dean paces C-USA and stands fifth nationally in punting average (46.3). 
• Saturday's game will air on ESPN3, marking the 93rd straight UTSA game to be broadcast. 
Setting the scene 
UTSA will look to get back on the winning track when it travels to Houston to face Rice on Saturday, Nov. 7. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. at Rice Stadium and the game will air on ESPN3 and Ticket 760 AM. The Roadrunners (4-4, 2-2) will play the Owls (1-1, 1-1) for the ninth time, matching the Louisiana Tech series as the most played in program history. UTSA has won five straight meetings with Rice and leads the all-time series, 5-3. The Roadrunners have eight games under their belt this season, tied with Texas State for the most of any FBS team this season through Oct. 31, and will face a squad that has played only two contests for the second straight week.  
Tuning in 
Saturday's game will air on ESPN3, which can be viewed on the ESPN app or online at watchespn.com (cable/satellite provider credentials are required to stream the game). David Saltzman (play-by-play) and Taylor McHargue (analyst) have the call. The contest will air live on Ticket 760 AM in the San Antonio area. Andy Everett (play-by-play), Jay Riley (analyst) and Pat Evans (reporter) will call all the action. The pregame show will begin at 12:30 p.m. and there will be a 45-minute postgame show. The radio broadcast also can be heard online at goUTSA.com and Ticket760.com and via the free iHeartRadio app or TuneIn
Taking schedule changes in stride 
The 2020 college football season has been anything but normal and like many other teams, UTSA has felt the effects of schedule changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, the Roadrunners are one of only two FBS teams with eight games under their belt as of Oct. 31. UTSA and Texas State — who met on Sept. 12 — are scheduled to become the first two FBS squads to play their ninth game of the year on Saturday. The Roadrunners originally were slated to open the campaign on Sept. 5 against defending national champion LSU in Baton Rouge, but SEC-wide schedule changes eliminated that game from the fall lineup. UTSA also was due to host Grambling on Sept. 19, but the Southwestern Athletic Conference postponed its football season to the spring, forcing the Roadrunners to replace that nonconference clash with Stephen F. Austin. UTSA also lost a Conference USA home game when Old Dominion opted out of the 2020 football season. The Roadrunners filled that open Oct. 17 home date with Army and also added an Oct. 10 road date with BYU to get back to 12 regular season games. On Sept. 19, Memphis announced it would be unable to travel to San Antonio for a Sept. 25 matchup, but UTSA was able to quickly replace the Tigers with Middle Tennessee for a C-USA contest that resulted in a 37-35 triumph for the Roadrunners. 
TV birds 
All 12 of UTSA's scheduled regular season games this fall have been selected for broadcast, including six for national television. The Roadrunners, who have seen their last 92 outings appear over the airwaves, will make it 96 straight televised/streamed appearances by the end of the regular season. In fact, the last UTSA game that was not broadcast was the 2012 season finale against Texas State.  
2020 marks 10th season of UTSA football 
UTSA is celebrating its 10th season of football in 2020. The Roadrunners started their football program from scratch and, following a practice season in 2010, played their first season as an FCS Independent in 2011 before joining the Western Athletic Conference for the 2012 campaign. UTSA moved into its current league home — Conference USA — in 2013 and became a full-fledged FBS member starting with the 2014 season. The Roadrunners set NCAA modern startup program records in 2011 by drawing 56,743 fans to their inaugural game against Northeastern State and by averaging 35,521 fans for their six home contests that season. UTSA made its first postseason appearance at the 2016 New Mexico Bowl in its sixth season of play and registered its first win against a team from a Power 5 conference the following season with a 17-10 victory over Baylor. 
Who's counting? 
Now in their 10th season of play, the Roadrunners will play their 115th game in program history and 58th road contest on Saturday. The Roadrunners are 49-65 all-time and 20-37 away from home, including a 1-3 mark this season. By comparison, Rice has been playing football since 1912 and owns an all-time record of 471-602-32. 
Scouting Rice 
The Owls have played only two games this season, opening with a 40-34 overtime loss at home to Middle Tennessee on Oct. 24 before thumping Southern Miss 30-6 on the road last Saturday. Mike Collins has thrown for 475 yards and eight touchdowns on 30-of-52 passing and his favorite target has been Austin Trammell, who has 10 catches for 219 yards and five TDs. Juma Otoviano paces the ground game with 195 yards on 45 carries. Blaze Alldredge leads the defense with 21 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack, while Antonio Montero has 17 stops and a TFL. Head coach Mike Bloomgren is 6-21 in his third season at the helm. 
Series history 
This will be the ninth meeting between UTSA and Rice, which will make it tied for the most-played series in program history. The Roadrunners played Louisiana Tech for the ninth time two weeks ago. UTSA has won the last five meetings with the Owls and leads the series, 5-3. The two teams have split the four previous matchups played in Houston. The Roadrunners have held the Owls to a combined 16 points in the last two games held at Rice Stadium, including a 20-3 triumph on Oct. 6, 2018. 
Last meeting 
Lowell Narcisse passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns and UTSA scored 24 points after halftime en route to a 31-27 victory over Rice on Oct. 19, 2019 at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners piled up 229 yards of offense in the second half in their fifth straight win over the Owls, improving to 5-4 all-time in Homecoming games. Narcisse completed 19 of 29 passes (65.5 percent) and found Carlos Strickland II on six passes for 86 yards. Meanwhile, Zakhari Franklin had two receiving touchdowns, including an 8-yard TD catch late in the contest that gave UTSA a 31-27 lead. Needing a touchdown, Rice drove to the UTSA 24 but the UTSA defense ended the threat with four consecutive stops behind the line of scrimmage, including a sack for 14 yards by DeQuarius Henry on third down and a shared sack on fourth down by Lorenzo Dantzler and Henry, who also forced a fumble that was recovered by Eric Banks to seal the win. 
H-Town homecoming 
Eighteen Roadrunners hail from the Greater Houston area, including senior outside linebacker DeQuarius Henry, a product of Sharpstown High School, and junior inside linebackers De'Marco Guidry (La Marque) and Trevor Harmanson (Dickinson). Below is a full list of UTSA players from the area: 
Jake Brandt (Fort Bend Austin HS) 
Jordan Brown (Manvel HS) 
Joshua Cephus (Spring Dekaney HS) 
Cedric Claiborne (Spring Westfield HS) 
Je'Vaun Dabon (Cypress Ridge HS) 
Josh Davies-Balogun (Fort Bend Travis HS) 
Dan Dishman (Clear Falls HS) 
De'Marco Guidry (La Marque HS) 
Trevor Harmanson (Dickinson HS) 
Nate Hawkins (Katy Seven Lakes HS) 
DeQuarius Henry (Sharpstown HS) 
Sustin Irvin II (Katy Seven Lakes HS) 
Avery Morris (Humble Atascocita HS) 
Everett Ornstein (Langham Creek HS) 
Cam Peters (Stafford HS) 
Jarrett Preston (Fort Bend Ridge Point HS) 
Ryan Shockency (Lamar Consolidated HS) 
Asyrus Simon (Humble Atascocita HS) 
Last time out 
Rashad Wisdom posted 13 tackles and the UTSA defense tied a school record with 14 tackles for loss, but Florida Atlantic used a strong running game and a stingy defense in a 24-3 victory in Conference USA action on Saturday at FAU Stadium. The Owls rushed for 196 yards on the strength of Malcolm Davidson, who tallied 115 yards on 14 carries, and held the Roadrunners to 230 yards of offense in improving to 3-0 all-time against UTSA. FAU built a 17-3 halftime lead and tacked on a touchdown late thanks to a short field. The Owls limited the Roadrunners to just 104 yards on the ground and 83 total yards in the second half. Wisdom had nine solo stops and one tackle for loss as part of his team-high tackles total, while Charles Wiley logged eight tackles, including 3.5 behind the line of scrimmage to help UTSA match the program standard for single-game tackles for loss set in the season opener against Texas State. 
Traylor makes history with 3-0 start 
Jeff Traylor became the first head coach in UTSA history to win his first three games, which also marked the third 3-0 start in program annals and the first since 2017. The Roadrunners pulled out a thrilling 51-48 double-overtime victory over Texas State in Traylor's debut on Sept. 12 and then defeated his alma mater, Stephen F. Austin, 24-10, in the home opener the following Saturday before making history with the 37-35 victory over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 25. Traylor boasts 30 years of coaching experience, including a highly successful 15-year career as head coach at Gilmer High School, where he led his hometown Buckeyes to three state championships and two state runner-up finishes and posted a 175-26 (.871) record. Named the third head coach in UTSA history on Dec. 10, 2019, Traylor previously was the associate head coach and running backs coach at Arkansas (2018-19) and SMU (2017) after two seasons at Texas serving as associate head coach for the offense and receivers coach in 2016 and special teams coordinator and tight ends coach in 2015. 
Down to the wire 
UTSA is no stranger to close contests, as seven of the eight this season have been one-score ballgames in the fourth quarter. The Roadrunners opened the season with a double-overtime decision at Texas State that saw the Bobcats rally to tie the score with 1:16 left to play before UTSA escaped with a 51-48 win after Hunter Duplessis' field goal in the second extra frame. UTSA's home opener versus Stephen F. Austin saw the Roadrunners storm out to a 17-0 advantage only to have the Lumberjacks climb back to within 17-10 until a Frank Harris TD run with 7:08 left to play secured a 24-10 victory. UTSA held a 37-29 fourth-quarter lead over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 25 before a Blue Raiders touchdown with 1:04 left on the clock made it a two-point contest. The pass attempt on the two-point try fell incomplete, sending UTSA to its first 3-0 start since 2017. On Oct. 3, the Roadrunners trailed UAB by a 21-6 count early in the final stanza before Sincere McCormick's touchdown dash and Duplessis' PAT pulled UTSA to within 21-13 with 10:31 remaining, but the Blazers held on for the win. On Oct. 10 in a road matchup with No. 15 BYU, the Roadrunners cut a 21-6 deficit to one score after a 32-yard TD pass from Lowell Narcisse to Zakhari Franklin early in the fourth. After the Cougars pushed their lead to 27-20 with 2:18 left to play, Narcisse found a wide-open Brennon Dingle for a 34-yard scoring connection that helped make it 27-20 with 1:17 left, but BYU held on for the win after recovering an onside kick. Against Army West Point, Franklin hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Frank Harris with 14:06 left to play to cut the deficit to 21-16, but the Black Knights answered with a TD of their own less than two minutes later to help seal a 28-16 win. UTSA rallied from a 13-point deficit with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull out a 27-26 triumph over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 24. 
Roadrunners up for national awards 
Eight Roadrunners have been named to or nominated for national award watch lists. Lucas Dean was added to the watch list for the Ray Guy Award for the nation's top punter, while Hunter Duplessis is UTSA's nominee for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. Frank Harris was added to the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award Midseason Watch List after the first week of the season, while Ahofitu Maka appears on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation's most outstanding center. Sincere McCormick appears on the watch list for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, which is given to the top offensive player in college football with ties to the state of Texas. Solomon Wise is UTSA's nominee for the Wuerffel Trophy, known as "College Football's Premier Award for Community Service." Most recently, Christian Clayton and Jamal Ligon were named to the Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American Watch List. 
C-USA weekly awards roll in for Roadrunners 
Sincere McCormick was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and Antonio Parks was voted the league's co-defensive player of the week on Oct. 26. Those selections give UTSA six weekly C-USA awards this year, two more than the previous standard for most in a season of four established in 2014. McCormick gashed Louisiana Tech for 165 yards and three touchdowns on a school-record 37 carries, and he also was tabbed the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week on Oct. 27. Parks registered six tackles and had a hand in a pair of second-half takeaways, including a forced fumble late in the third quarter and an interception in the final minute that iced the 27-26 victory. Following the season-opening, double-overtime victory against Texas State on Sept. 12, Hunter Duplessis received the C-USA special teams weekly award after making all three field-goal attempts, including the game winner from 29 yards, while McCormick was tabbed C-USA Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for a program-record 197 yards and a TD on 29 carries. On Sept. 21, Frank Harris collected the program's second straight C-USA Offensive Player of the Week award after accounting for 373 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Stephen F. Austin. The following Monday, Jamal Ligon was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week following his record-setting performance in the 37-35 victory over Middle Tennessee. The true freshman linebacker broke the school's single-game tackles record with 19, the second-most in a game by any FBS player this season. 
First-time starters 
UTSA has seen 16 players make their first career start through the first eight games this season. That total is tied for the 10th-most first-time starters in the FBS. Roadrunners who have made their first career start in 2020 include Demetris Allen, Peter Gray, Makai Hart, Terrell Haynes, DeQuarius Henry, Clarence Hicks, Jamal Ligon, Tyler Mahnke, Brandon Matterson, Kevin Nelson, Josh Oatis, Bosah Osakwe, Antonio Parks, Ken Robinson, Brandon Rolfe and Charles Wiley. 
A balanced approach 
Under the direction of offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr., the Roadrunners have featured a balanced offensive attack this season. UTSA is averaging 203.4 yards per game through the air and 174.8 yards per contest on the ground, with a play breakdown of 276 passes and 313 rushes. UTSA tallied 499 yards of offense in the season opener versus Texas State and followed that with a 498-yard effort against Stephen F. Austin, marking the second-most yards gained in a two-game span in program history. The Roadrunners racked up 330 yards on the ground in the double-overtime win at Texas State, the third-best rushing output in school annals, and they passed for a season-high 303 yards in the 37-35 triumph over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 25. The Roadrunners chalked up 287 yards through the air against No. 15 BYU, which entered that game leading all of FBS in total defense, and then turned in near-equal totals of 197 rushing yards and 186 passing yards against Army on Oct. 17 and again with 188 on the ground and 197 through the air in the win over Louisiana Tech the following week. 
Sincere success 
After enjoying one of the best debut campaigns in program history last fall, UTSA running back Sincere McCormick is in the midst of a successful sophomore season, as he leads the FBS with 921 rushing yards through the first eight games. The 2019 Conference USA Freshman of the Year opened the year by breaking his own school record with 197 rushing yards and a touchdown on 29 carries to help the Roadrunners outlast Texas State in double overtime. McCormick ripped off a pair of career-long 58-yard runs and helped UTSA tally 330 yards on the ground for the third-best total in program annals, earning C-USA Offensive Player of the Week accolades for his performance. The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award watch list member followed that by tallying 98 yards on the ground in the 24-10 win over Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 19 before rushing for 82 yards and another score in the win against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 25. The Converse Judson High School product tallied 150 yards and a TD on 22 totes against UAB on Oct. 3 in what was a matchup of two of the top rushers — along with the Blazers' Spencer Brown — in the nation. McCormick topped the century mark again with 133 yards on 18 attempts versus Army on Oct. 17 before gashing Louisiana Tech for 165 yards and three touchdowns on a school-record 37 attempts for the fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season and seventh of his career. He was named Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week, as well as C-USA Offensive Player of the Week for the second time, for his performance. The 2019 Freshman All-American ranks ninth nationally with 115.1 rushing yards per game, 12th with seven rushing TDs, 32nd with 128.8 all-purpose yards per contest and 40th with a 5.39 yards-per-carry average. McCormick owns three of the top five rushing performances in C-USA and is tied with Brenden Knox (Marshall) with the second-most 100-yard games in the league this fall.  
Chasing records 
Sincere McCormick already is closing in on several single-season and career rushing records during his short time at UTSA. In just 20 career games, he has piled up 1,904 yards on the ground, good for third in program history and 489 yards behind all-time leading rusher Jarveon Williams' 2,393 yards. He also ranks fifth in both rushing attempts (348) and rushing touchdowns (15) on the career charts. Through eight games this fall, McCormick is on pace to shatter three single-season rushing standards. With 921 yards on 171 attempts, he is within striking distance of Williams' marks of 1,042 yards and 207 carries from 2015 and 2016, respectively. His seven TDs also sit just two shy of Jalen Rhodes' record of nine set in 2016. He has topped the century mark four times this season and seven times during his career, just one shy of Williams' UTSA record. 
Welcome back, Zakhari 
UTSA sophomore wide receiver Zakhari Franklin has picked up where he left off in his debut 2019 campaign. After missing the first two games this season, the Cedar Hill High School product caught six passes for 119 yards and a touchdown to help lead the Roadrunners to a 37-35 win over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 25. He was on the receiving end of a 25-yard TD pass from Frank Harris in the first half and he nearly had his second score of the night on a season-long 48-yard catch-and-run to the 1-yard line. He was limited to two catches for 10 yards in the UAB contest on Oct. 3, but he hauled in seven passes for 79 yards, including outjumping a pair of BYU defenders for a 32-yard TD reception the following Saturday. He broke UTSA's single-game record with 12 receptions for a career-high 138 yards and two touchdowns against Army on Oct. 17 and after catching five balls for 44 yards in the last two contests, he now has a team-best 390 yards and four touchdowns (3rd/C-USA, 30th/FBS) on 32 catches this year. Franklin had 491 yards and three TDs on 38 catches in 2019 and with 435 of those yards during the final five contests, he now has 825 receiving yards in his last 11 games. He owns three career 100-yard receiving games, which is tied for the most in program history, and his current 58.7 yards-per-game average is the best in UTSA annals. 
Sure-handed Cephus emerges at receiver 
UTSA sophomore Joshua Cephus has emerged as one of the team's top receiving targets this season. The Spring, Texas, native made waves with his highlight-reel touchdown catch in overtime of the 51-48 season-opening win over Texas State on Sept. 12. With a defender draped all over him — defensive pass interference was called — the 6-3 wide receiver made a diving, one-handed grab in the end zone, a catch that earned the No. 1 spot on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day. Cephus finished with six receptions for 44 yards in the season opener and followed that with a career day in the 24-10 win over Stephen F. Austin, hauling in eight passes for 89 yards and his second TD of the season on a 4-yard pass in the final minutes of the first half. Cephus caught his third TD pass of the young season on a 7-yard throw from Josh Adkins late in the third quarter of the win against Middle Tennessee and he added three receptions for 42 yards versus UAB the following week. He had four grabs for 58 yards, including a 32-yard grab in tight coverage, versus No. 15 BYU and five more catches for 46 yards against Army the following Saturday. After catching five passes for 63 yards versus Florida Atlantic, Cephus now leads the Roadrunners in receptions (40) and stands second in receiving yards (386) and receiving TDs (3). 
QB room loaded with starting experience 
UTSA's quarterbacks room entered the season as one of the most experienced groups of signal callers in the nation. Josh Adkins (20), Frank Harris (4), Lowell Narcisse (7) and Jordan Weeks (4) boasted a combined 35 starts at the FBS level prior to 2020, making UTSA one of just five teams with four QBs who all owned FBS starts. The others were Arkansas, Northwestern, Old Dominion and Tennessee. Through eight games, UTSA has seen three of those quarterbacks earn starts — Harris (6), Adkins (1) and Narcisse (1) — while all four have seen playing time. 
Bouncing back 
For the second straight season, UTSA quarterback Frank Harris enjoyed a memorable debut after bouncing back from injury. The junior from Schertz Clemens High School ran for a school record-tying three touchdowns and threw for another to help lead the Roadrunners to a 51-48 double-overtime triumph over Texas State. Harris completed 23 of 31 passes for 169 yards and carried 11 times for 51 yards and three scores in a turnover-free afternoon to guide the offense to 499 yards, the most since the 2017 win against Texas State. A member of the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award Midseason Watch List, Harris accounted for 373 yards and three TDs in the 24-10 win against Stephen F. Austin the following Saturday. He became the first UTSA signal caller to register two career 100-yard rushing games after he rushed for 104 yards and two scores on 17 attempts. He also completed 23 of 36 passes for a career-best 269 yards and a TD against the Lumberjacks and collected Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance, Harris certainly has displayed the toughness that warrants the No. 0 jersey he earned after a vote by his teammates. The lefthander has battled back from two knee injuries, including one that knocked him out for the 2018 season, and a shoulder injury that ended his 2019 campaign. Harris left the Middle Tennessee contest late in the first half with an injury after throwing for 70 yards and ripping off a 20-yard run, but he made his return to the field with a start in the BYU contest on Oct. 10. He came off the bench against Army and fired an 11-yard touchdown pass to Zakhari Franklin on his first throw for his fourth passing TD of the year before earning his ninth career start in the win over Louisiana Tech, throwing for 189 yards on 18-of-33 passing. Harris has 895 yards and four TDs through the air and has rushed for 258 yards and five scores, which places him sixth in C-USA and 32nd nationally. 
Versatility shines on O-line 
UTSA has been bitten by the injury bug on the offensive line this season, but thanks to a versatile group of linemen, the Roadrunners still have managed to pave the way for the nation's leading rusher. Through the first eight games, UTSA has used seven different lineups along the offensive line. The only time the same five players started at the same positions in multiple games occurred in back-to-back weeks when Spencer Burford (LT), Dominic Pastucci (LG), Ahofitu Maka (C), Kevin Davis (RG) and Josh Oatis (RT) lined up for the first series against both Middle Tennessee on Sept. 25 and UAB on Oct. 3. Maka, a Rimington Trophy watch list member, is the only lineman to make a start in all eight games this season. The junior from Hawai'i has made 20 straight starts, including the first seven this fall at center before moving to right guard for the Florida Atlantic game due to an injury that prevented him from snapping the ball. Davis has made 28 career starts, including six this season with the first five at right guard before moving to center for Maka to mark his first appearance at the position since starting all 12 contests there in 2018. Spencer Burford has started 27 career games and made 29 appearances at both guard and tackle, including making the move from right to left tackle after the first two contests this fall. Pastucci, the most experienced lineman on the team with 40 career games under his belt, made starts at left guard in the first four weeks, while Brandon Rolfe has started at both left guard and left tackle in 2020. Josh Oatis, who is slated to appear in his 23rd career contest this Saturday, owns starts at left and right tackle, while Makai Hart returned to the lineup against UAB and has started the last four games at either left or right tackle. Bosah Osakwe started the first two games at right guard and Terrell Haynes earned starts at left guard in each of the last two weeks. 
Wreaking havoc 
The UTSA defense has a new look in 2020 with the arrival of defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix's 3-4 front. The new alignment has helped to wreak havoc for opposing backfields, as the Roadrunners lead Conference USA and rank 12th in the country with 8.4 tackles for loss per game. In the season-opening win over Texas State, the Roadrunners recorded 14 tackles for loss, a total that is tied for the second-most by an FBS team in a game this season and broke the school record of 12 set in the 2019 season finale at Louisiana Tech. UTSA hit the double-digit mark once again with 10 in the 24-10 win against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 19 before posting nine stops behind the line of scrimmage in the 37-35 victory against Middle Tennessee and seven versus UAB. The Roadrunners matched the school record with 14 TFL against Florida Atlantic and their 67 tackles for loss this season have cost opponents 239 combined yards, including 95 on 17 sacks. UTSA is on pace to break the school's single-season record for tackles for loss of 96 set last season. 
Give me that 
The UTSA defense has emerged as one of the best units in the nation when it comes to forcing turnovers. The Roadrunners have come up with 13 total takeaways through eight games, which leads Conference USA and stands fourth nationally. Eight of those turnovers have come in the form of an interception, including two apiece by Corey Mayfield Jr. and Rashad Wisdom and one each from Trevor Harmanson, Antonio Parks, Donyai Taylor and Tariq Woolen. UTSA's eight picks pace C-USA and rank eighth in the FBS, while Mayfield Jr. and Wisdom are tied for third in the league and 20th in the country in interceptions. Meanwhile, Jamal Ligon is tied for second in the FBS with two fumble recoveries, which also is good for a share of the No. 2 spot on UTSA's single-season list. On the strength of the 13 takeaways, the Roadrunners also lead the conference and stand 22nd in the nation in turnover margin (+6). 
Wiley a welcome addition 
Graduate transfer Charles Wiley has been a welcome addition to the defensive front seven this season. A native of Georgia, he joined the Roadrunners this summer after appearing in 33 career games at Mississippi and immediately worked his way into the rotation at outside linebacker. He has played in all eight games and started the last seven, posting 32 total tackles and three quarterback hurries. Wiley is tied for the team lead with eight tackles for loss to go along with one sack and a fumble recovery on the year. His production has exploded over the last four contests with 23 tackles and 4.5 TFL, including six stops apiece against No. 15 BYU and Army, as well as eight tackles and 3.5 TFL versus Florida Atlantic. 
Senior standout paces defensive front 
In its short history, UTSA has made a name for itself by producing defensive linemen who have moved on to the professional ranks. Headlining that list is 2018 NFL first round draft pick Marcus Davenport, the 2017 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and a current member of the New Orleans Saints. Jaylon Haynes could be the next Roadrunner to join the likes of Davenport, Eric Banks, Ashaad Mabry, Jason Neill, Brian Price and Kevin Strong Jr. The senior from Wharton, Texas, enjoyed a breakout 2019 season that saw him lead all UTSA defensive linemen with 40 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and six quarterback hurries en route to honorable mention all-conference accolades. The 2017 C-USA All-Freshman Team selection has continued to be a force in the middle this season with five tackles for loss, including a trio of sacks, and a pair of quarterback hurries. Haynes, who missed the UAB and BYU contests due to injury, returned to the lineup and registered three tackles — and a sack that was negated due to a penalty — against Army before adding a stop and a pressure for a defense that held Louisiana Tech to 247 yards, including 35 after halftime. Haynes, who missed the Florida Atlantic game, has recorded 20.5 career TFL, good for a tie for fifth place on UTSA's all-time list. 
Freshman linebacker turning heads 
True freshman Jamal Ligon has turned heads in his short time as a Roadrunners. A two-time district utility player of the year after playing tight end, fullback and defensive line at Tyler Lee High School under Kurt Traylor, UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor's brother and current Roadrunners tight ends coach, he has appeared in all eight games and earned a start at inside linebacker six contests. After registering four stops in the season-opening win at Texas State and a pair of tackles in the triumph over Stephen F. Austin, Ligon exploded for a school-record 19 tackles in the 37-35 victory against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 25. He turned in eight solo stops and 1.5 sacks as part of his record-setting tackles total to go along with a pair of quarterback hurries and he was named Athlon Sports' Defensive Freshman of the Week and Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Blue Raiders. His 19 tackles eclipsed the previous program standard of 16 set in 2011 by Cody Rogers and it marks the second-most tackles made by an FBS player in a game this season. Ligon added five tackles and he forced and recovered a fumble against UAB before making three stops at No. 15 BYU and nine versus Army. He tallied seven stops, 1.5 tackles for loss, a half-sack and one pass breakup in the win over Louisiana Tech and three more tackles at Florida Atlantic. He ranks second on the team with 52 total tackles, to go along with 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two quarterback hurries, one PBU and a forced fumble. Ligon also has a pair of fumble recoveries, tied for the second-most by an FBS player this fall. 
Wisdom in the secondary 
Despite being on the UTSA campus for less than two years, sophomore safety Rashad Wisdom has emerged as one of the team leaders. The Converse Judson High School product enrolled in January 2019 and immediately had an impact on the program on and off the field. He earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors after racking up 44 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, a pair of sacks and an interception that he returned 34 yards for a touchdown in his debut campaign. He provided quite the encore in his 2020 debut, recording a team-high 10 tackles, including 1.5 TFL, and returning an interception 81 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He again led the defense in tackles with nine in the win against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 19 before posting nine in the 37-35 triumph over Middle Tennessee. He recorded five solo stops and his second interception of the fall before being ejected for targeting in the second half of the UAB contest. He tallied a team-high 10 tackles and broke up a pass in the 27-26 win over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 24 and then registered a game-high 13 stops, including nine solos and one behind the line, against Florida Atlantic. Wisdom ranks third in C-USA and sixth in the FBS with a team-high 63 tackles, and his two picks place in a tie for third in C-USA and 20th nationally. Wisdom's family captured the hearts of the UTSA football program and the San Antonio community over the past year by sharing the story of Rashad's younger brother, Bryce, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and passed away at the age of 17 in July of this year. UTSA is wearing a "Bryce Strong" helmet sticker this season in his honor. 
Safeties stepping up 
Kelechi Nwachuku and Antonio Parks have stepped up as regulars in UTSA's rotation at the safety position this fall. Nwachuku has played in all eight contests and he drew a pair of starting assignments against BYU and Army. The redshirt sophomore ranks fourth on the team with 46 total tackles and he also has broken up a pair of passes. He tallied seven stops, including six solos, at BYU before breaking out with a team-high 16 tackles (nine unassisted) versus Army. Nwachuku — who earned six starts last fall — had six tackles in the 27-26 win over Louisiana Tech and added five more against Florida Atlantic. Meanwhile, Parks has recorded 33 tackles, including four tackles for loss, while appearing in all eight games with six starts this year. The senior turned in five tackles in back-to-back games against Middle Tennessee and UAB before posting seven at BYU. Parks added six stops and had a hand in a pair of second-half takeaways against Louisiana Tech, as he forced a fumble late in the third quarter that was recovered by Christian Clayton and picked off a pass in the final minute to ice the win. The Reserve, La., native earned Conference USA co-Defensive Player of the Week accolades for his performance against the Bulldogs. 
A dependable option 
UTSA place-kicker Hunter Duplessis has emerged as a dependable weapon with his right leg. The senior place-kicker has made 15 of 16 field goals this season, placing him atop the FBS for total field goals and first in Conference USA in both field goals per game (1.88) and field goal percentage (.938). He made his last nine kicks of the 2019 campaign and the first 14 this season before he saw his consecutive field goals made streak end at 23 with a block in the second half of the 27-26 win over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 24. He made all three of his attempts in the season opener, including the game-winning 29-yarder at the end of the second overtime, to help lift UTSA to a 51-48 triumph over Texas State on Sept. 12, and he earned Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week accolades for his performance. Duplessis drilled his only field-goal attempt in the win against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 19 before making all three kicks in the win over Middle Tennessee. He booted a pair of field goals versus UAB and drilled 39- and 36-yard field goals against BYU. UTSA's nominee for the William V. Campbell Trophy made a career-long 50-yard field goal, the fifth-longest in program history, on his only attempt in the Army contest before going 2 for 3 versus Louisiana Tech and making his only attempt — a 49-yarder in wet conditions on grass surface — at Florida Atlantic. Duplessis' 24 career field goals rank third in school annals and his 15 this fall currently rank third on the single-season list, four behind the record of 19. He also has made 20 of 21 extra-point attempts this fall and 45 for his career, which puts him third on the school's career chart. 
Punter from Down Under 
In its short history, UTSA has developed consistent success in the punting game with the likes of Kristian Stern and Yannis Routsas, a 2017 Ray Guy Award semifinalist. Sophomore punter Lucas Dean has emerged as the next in that punting lineage. A product of Prokick Australia and the first Roadrunner regardless of position from Down Under, Dean has used an Australian Rules Football background to help provide UTSA with a weapon in the kicking game since his arrival on campus in 2019. As a true freshman, he averaged 40.8 yards on 65 punts and booted 12 of 50-plus yards. He also pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 16 times and induced 28 fair catches. Through eight games this season, Dean leads Conference USA and ranks fifth in the FBS with a 46.3 average. Of his 45 punts, 17 have sailed 50-or-more yards, 20 have been downed inside the 20 and eight have resulted in fair catches. Dean averaged 49.2 yards on six punts — including a 57-yard bomb that was downed at the 9-yard line — in the 37-35 win against Middle Tennessee on Sept. 19. He punted six times for a 45.0 average with five pinning UAB inside its own 20, including a 55-yarder that was downed at the 1, and was named Ray Guy Punter of the Week for his performance. Dean averaged 45.2 yards on five punts with two downed inside the BYU 20, including a 59-yard boot that bounced out of bounds at the 2. He had four punts for a 46.5 average, including a 47-yarder that went out of bounds at the 8-yard line late in the win over Louisiana Tech and then averaged 47.9 yards on eight punts, including a career-best 67-yarder that ranks as the second-longest in program history. 
Another program first 
UTSA made history on Sept. 20 after receiving votes in that week's Associated Press Top 25 Poll. Now in their 10th season of football and ninth as a member of an FBS conference, the Roadrunners received two votes, marking the first time UTSA has collected a vote for either of the weekly top 25 polls. 
Brotherly duos 
UTSA has two sets of brothers on the 2020 roster in junior offensive lineman Kevin Davis and freshman wide receiver Isaiah Davis, along with junior safety Dadrian Taylor and freshman safety Donyai Taylor. That makes the Roadrunners one of 27 FBS teams with at least two brotherly duos.  
UTSA roster breakdown 
UTSA's 116-man roster features 21 seniors, 27 juniors, 30 sophomores and 38 redshirt or true freshmen. The roster lists 87 players — 75% — who hail from the state of Texas, while the next-closest state is Louisiana with eight. There are five players from both California and Mississippi, while three call Florida home and a pair are from Georgia. UTSA has one player each from Hawai'i, Maryland, Michigan and Tennessee, while Lucas Dean is the first Roadrunner from Australia. 
Representing the 210 
UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor and his staff have placed an emphasis on recruiting the 210 area code, which covers the city of San Antonio and surrounding areas. The current roster already includes a lengthy list of 25 local players: 
Name (High School) 
Josh Adkins (Smithson Valley) 
Jabari Aiken (Johnson) 
Rudy Aleman Jr. (Warren) 
Brenden Brady (Steele) 
Spencer Burford (Wagner) 
Oscar Cardenas (Brandeis) 
JayVeon Cardwell (Steele) 
Cade Collenback (O'Connor) 
Hunter Duplessis (Cole) 
KJ Elder (Warren) 
Shaquan Flagg (Brennan) 
Frank Harris (Clemens) 
Jaden Jones (East Central) 
Magnus Kirby (Sam Houston) 
Brandon Matterson (Brandeis) 
Sincere McCormick (Judson) 
Matthew Ojeda (Int'l School of the Americas) 
Jaren Randle (Johnson) 
Justin Rodriguez (Johnson) 
Daniel Santallana (East Central) 
Jordan Smith (Brennan) 
Xavier Spencer (Judson) 
Wiliam Turner (Randolph) 
Julon Williams (Judson) 
Rashad Wisdom (Judson) 
UTSA Triangle of Toughness 
UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has installed many new ideas since his hiring, including his Culture Pillars: Integrity, Passion, Mental & Physical Toughness, Selfless and Perfect Effort. As part of that new culture, the players voted after fall camp on who would earn single-digit jersey numbers, a reward for representing mental and physical toughness on and off the field. Nos. 0-9 were unveiled in a series of tweets and the numbers 2, 1 and 0 were chosen for the players voted to represent the 210 Brand, the UTSA Triangle of Toughness. Below are the single-digit jersey numbers as voted by their teammates: 
0 – Frank Harris, Rashad Wisdom 
1 — Jaylon Haynes 
2 — Sheldon Jones 
3 — Sincere McCormick 
4 — Antonio Parks, Leroy Watson 
5 — Brenden Brady 
6 — Brennon Dingle 
7 — Dadrian Taylor 
8 — Solomon Wise 
9 — Clarence Hicks 
Trevor Harmanson also was voted into the single-digit group but elected to stay in No 15, while offensive linemen Spencer Burford, Ahofitu Maka and Dominic Pastucci also received the necessary votes but cannot change to a single-digit number due to their position. 
Leadership Council elected 
UTSA has elected a Leadership Council made up of representatives from each position group. 
QB — Frank Harris 
RB — Brenden Brady 
WR — Sheldon Jones 
TE — Leroy Watson 
OL — Dominic Pastucci 
DL — Jaylon Haynes 
LB — DeQuarius Henry, Tyler Mahnke 
DB — Rashad Wisdom 
ST — Hunter Duplessis, Myles Benning 
Up next 
UTSA will host UTEP for its annual Homecoming game on Saturday, Nov. 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Alamodome and the game will air on ESPN+ and Ticket 760 AM in the San Antonio area.