Jacob Hernandez/UTSA Athletics

UTSA to begin Conference USA title defense on Friday night at Middle Tennessee

SAN ANTONIO — Fresh off a 52-24 victory over Texas Southern to close out the non-conference slate, UTSA will begin defense of its Conference USA title on Friday, Sept. 30, against Middle Tennessee. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro and the game will air on CBS Sports Network and Ticket 760 AM. The Roadrunners will open C-USA play against the Blue Raiders for the third consecutive season with this marking the second Friday-night matchup during that span. UTSA leads the series 3-1 and has won the last three meetings, including a 45-25 triumph in the only previous matchup in Tennessee on Nov. 5, 2016.

UTSA Roadrunners (2-2, 0-0)
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (3-1, 0-0)
6:30 p.m.  |  Friday, Sept. 30
Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium  |  Murfreesboro, Tenn.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: Ticket 760 AM
Series History: UTSA leads, 3-1
Last Meeting: UTSA 27, MTSU 13 (9/18/21)

Opening drive
• The defending Conference USA champion UTSA Roadrunners will open league play on Friday night against Middle Tennessee, marking UTSA's third straight conference opener against the Blue Raiders.
• The Roadrunners and Blue Raiders will meet for the third consecutive season and fifth time overall.
• UTSA leads the series 3-1 and has won the last three meetings with Middle Tennessee.
• The Roadrunners are 12-3 in C-USA games under third-year head coach Jeff Traylor.
• UTSA is 6-4 all-time in conference openers and 2-0 under Jeff Traylor with both wins coming against Middle Tennessee.
• The Roadrunners are 3-1 on Fridays and 4-4 in non-Saturday contests.
• UTSA is 1-1 on the road this season and 8-5 in the Jeff Traylor era.
• The Roadrunners have won 17 of their last 22 contests dating back to November 2020.
• UTSA is 21-9 under Jeff Traylor, the best record for a head coach through 30 games in program history.
• Senior wide receivers De'Corian Clark (417 yards), Joshua Cephus (412) and Zakhari Franklin (393) rank 1-3 in C-USA in receiving yardage.
Tuning in
Saturday's game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan (play-by-play), Donte Whitner (analyst) have the call. The contest will air live on Ticket 760 AM in the San Antonio area and on SiriusXM app channel 977. Andy Everett (play-by-play), Jay Riley (analyst) and Pat Evans (reporter) will call the action. The pregame show will begin at 4:30 p.m. Central time and there will be a 45-minute postgame show. The radio broadcast also can be heard online at Ticket760.com and via the iHeartRadio and The Varsity Network apps.
Title defense begins Friday night
UTSA will open its Conference USA title defense on Friday night against Middle Tennessee. The Roadrunners captured the program's first-ever league championship last season after outlasting Western Kentucky 49-41 in the 2021 C-USA Championship Game on Dec. 3 at the Alamodome. UTSA earned a spot in the title clash after posting a 7-1 league mark, which included a 34-31 comeback win over UAB to secure the C-USA West Division crown.
UTSA in conference openers
The Roadrunners are 6-4 all-time in conference openers, including 5-4 as a member of Conference USA. UTSA has come out on top in two straight and three of its last four league lid-lifters, beating Middle Tennessee 37-35 in 2020 and 27-13 last season and also scoring a 30-21 triumph over UTEP in 2018. The Roadrunners are 5-3 in conference openers that have been played in the month of September. This will mark the third consecutive league opener against the Blue Raiders and the second time the two teams have met on a Friday night during that stretch.
UTSA's Conference Openers (6-4)
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
9/21/19           at North Texas                          L, 3-45
9/25/20           Middle Tennessee                    W, 37-35
9/18/21           Middle Tennessee                    W, 27-13
Traylor successful in league play
UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has experience immediate success in league games during his time in San Antonio. The 2021 Conference USA Coach of the Year has guided the Roadrunners to 12 wins in 15 conference games during his tenure. Last season, Traylor led UTSA to a 7-1 league mark and the program's first-ever league crown with a 49-41 victory over Western Kentucky in the C-USA Championship Game. The Roadrunners registered a 5-2 record in C-USA play in Traylor's first season at the helm in 2020.
Friday night lights
While college football traditionally is played on Saturdays, UTSA is no stranger to having a game moved to a weeknight for television. In 2014, the Roadrunners opened the year with a 27-7 victory over Houston on a Friday night broadcast on ESPNU. UTSA also played a pair of Thursday night contests that fall, including a 26-23 setback to Arizona and a 12-10 win against Southern Miss in a CBS Sports Network telecast. UTSA played its 2015 season lid-lifter on a Thursday at Arizona, and then hosted Arizona State in a Friday night showdown on ESPN2 at the Alamodome in 2016. The Roadrunners beat Middle Tennessee 37-35 in a CBSSN broadcast on Friday, Sept, 25, 2020. UTSA outlasted Western Kentucky 49-41 in a CBSSN telecast on Friday, Dec. 3, last season to capture the program's first-ever Conference USA title. The Roadrunners last played a non-Saturday game in the 2021 Frisco Bowl, a 38-24 setback to No. 24 San Diego State on Tuesday, Dec. 21. In 2012, UTSA was scheduled to open the year on a Thursday versus South Alabama, but that game was postponed to Saturday, Sept. 1, due to Hurricane Isaac. UTSA is 4-4 in games not held on a Saturday including 3-1 on Fridays.
UTSA's Non-Saturday Games
Day                  Date                 Opponent                                Result
Friday               8/29/14           at Houston                               W, 27-7
Thursday          9/4/14             Arizona                                     L, 23-26
Thursday          11/13/14         Southern Miss                          W, 12-10
Thursday          9/3/15             at Arizona                                 L, 32-42
Friday               9/16/16           Arizona State                            L, 28-32
Friday               9/25/20           Middle Tennessee                    W, 37-35
Friday               12/3/21           Western Kentucky                    W, 49-41
Tuesday            12/21/21         vs. #24 San Diego State             L, 24-38
Who's counting?
Now in their 12th season of play, the Roadrunners will play the 137th game in program history on Friday when they face Middle Tennessee. UTSA is 66-70 all-time and 27-39 in road games. 
Scouting Middle Tennessee
The Blue Raiders improved to 3-1 on the year with a 45-31 road upset of No. 25 Miami (Fla.) last Saturday. The Blue Raiders are riding a three-game winning streak after dropping the season opener to James Madison 44-7. Middle Tennessee is averaging 359.8 yards and 33.8 points per game and allowing 342.8 yards and 25.0 points per contest. Chase Cunningham has completed 85 of 120 passes for 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions. His favorite target is Izaiah Gathings, who has 175 yards on 24 receptions, while Yusuf Ali has caught 17 passes for 126 yards. Frank Peasant paces the ground game with 290 yards and six TDs on 62 rushes. Teldrick Ross leads the defense with 34 tackles. Jordan Ferguson has registered 24 stops including four tackles for loss and three sacks, while Jalen Davis and Quindarius Dunnigan share the team lead with 4.5 tackles for loss. Head coach Rick Stockstill is 104-99 in his 17th season at the helm.
Series history
UTSA and Middle Tennessee will meet for the fifth time overall and third consecutive year. In fact, this will mark the third straight time the Roadrunners have opened Conference USA play against the Blue Raiders with two of the matchups occurring on a Friday night. UTSA leads the series 3-1 and has won the last three meetings. The Roadrunners ran away from Middle Tennessee 45-25 on Nov. 5, 2016, in the only previous game played in Murfreesboro.
UTSA/Middle Tennessee Series History
Date                 Result                                      Location
11/28/15         MTSU 42, UTSA 7                      San Antonio
11/5/16           UTSA 45, MTSU 25                    Murfreesboro
9/25/20           UTSA 37, MTSU 35                    San Antonio
9/18/21           UTSA 27, MTSU 13                    San Antonio
Last Meeting
UTSA held Middle Tennessee to fewer than 200 yards of offense and off the scoreboard until the final three and a half minutes in a 27-13 victory in the 2021 Conference USA opener for both teams on Sept. 18 at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners limited the Blue Raiders to only eight rushing yards and posted nine tackles for loss, including five sacks. Rashad Wisdom paced the defense with six tackles, while Charles Wiley tallied five stops, including 1.5 sacks, and a pair of quarterback hurries. Trumane Bell II led all players with two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in a four-tackle performance, and Lorenzo Dantzler had three QB pressures and his second career fumble return for a touchdown. Offensively, Frank Harris completed 24 of 39 passes for 264 yards and two TDs. Zakhari Franklin hauled in eight passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, while Joshua Cephus also caught eight balls for 84 yards and a score. Sincere McCormick topped the 100-yard mark on the ground with 105 yards on 23 rushes.
Last time out
Frank Harris and De'Corian broke school records, Chris Carpenter registered the first kickoff return for a touchdown in UTSA history and the defense came up with a pair of takeaways to help the Roadrunners race past Texas Southern 52-24 last Saturday at the Alamodome. Harris surpassed the UTSA record for individual passing yardage with 392 on 20-of-31 passing to lead an aerial attack that also eclipsed the school standard for team passing yards with 441. Meanwhile, Clark shattered the single-game record for receiving yards with 217 — the most by an FBS player this season — on nine catches and also matched his own UTSA mark with three receiving touchdowns. Carpenter returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to help give UTSA a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, stamping his name in the school's record book with the first kickoff return for a score and the longest play in the program's 12-year history. Defensively, Dywan Griffin and Avery Morris came up with UTSA's first two interceptions of the season, while Clifford Chattman led the unit with eight tackles and a pass breakup. Kelechi Nwachuku added seven stops and Jamal Ligon, Ronald Triplette and Trey Moore posted six tackles apiece, while Moore had 2.5 of his stops for a loss. Joshua Cephus turned in his third 100-yard game of the season with a career-high 114 yards and a touchdown on five receptions and Zakhari Franklin added 87 yards and a TD on six catches.
Down to the wire
UTSA is no stranger to close contests in the Jeff Traylor era, as 19 of the 30 have been one-score ballgames in the fourth quarter. The Roadrunners own a 13-6 record in those games. Dating back to last season, UTSA has seen six of the last nine contests decided in the fourth quarter or later. The first two games this season have gone to overtime, with the Roadrunners dropping a 37-35 decision to No. 24 Houston in three overtimes on Sept. 3 before rallying to beat Army 41-38 in overtime one week later. The Roadrunners broke a 17-17 fourth-quarter deadlock against Southern Miss last November with two late scores in a 10-point victory before upending UAB 34-31 on a TD pass with three seconds remaining one week later. UTSA used an interception on the final play of the game to secure a 49-41 C-USA Championship Game win over WKU on Dec. 3 and then pulled to within seven points of No. 24 San Diego State in the fourth quarter of the Frisco Bowl before dropping a 38-24 decision in the 2021 finale. The Roadrunners also saw games against Illinois (37-30), Memphis (31-28), UNLV (24-17) and WKU (52-46) come down to the final minutes last fall. In 2020, UTSA's matchups against Texas State (51-48/2OT), Stephen F. Austin (24-10), Middle Tennessee (37-35), UAB (13-21), No. 15 BYU (20-27), Army (16-28), Louisiana Tech (27-26), Southern Miss (23-20) and No. 16 Louisiana (24-31) all were one-score games in the final stanza. 
Working overtime
UTSA played back-to-back overtime games to open the 2022 campaign. The Roadrunners dropped a 37-35 decision to No. 24 Houston in triple overtime in the season opener on Sept. 3. One week later, UTSA rallied from a 14-point, second-half deficit to score a 41-38 road triumph over Army West Point in one extra period to improve to 4-3 all-time in overtime contests. That marked the first time the Roadrunners have played consecutive overtime games and the second time to have two OT games in the same season (2011). UTSA joins Bowling Green, Houston and Texas Tech as the only FBS teams to have played multiple overtime contests this year.
UTSA's All-Time Overtime Games (4-3)
Date                 Opponent                          Result
10/8/11           South Alabama                   L, 27-30 (2OT)
10/29/11         Georgia State                     W, 17-14 (OT)
11/14/15         at Charlotte                        W, 30-27 (OT)
10/22/16         UTEP                                  L, 49-52 (5OT)
9/12/20           at Texas State                     W, 51-48 (2OT)
9/3/22             Houston                             L, 35-37 (3OT)
9/10/22           at Army West Point            W, 41-38 (OT)
Roadrunners collect weekly honors
The Roadrunners have collected several weekly honors so far this season. De'Corian Clark was tabbed the East-West Shrine Bowl Breakout Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26 after piling up a school-record 217 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions in the 52-24 win over Texas Southern. Lucas Dean was named to the Ray Guy Award Ray's 8 list after averaging 60.5 yards on four punts, which included a school-record 76-yarder and a 67-yard kick, versus Texas Southern. UTSA quarterback Frank Harris picked up three awards following his performance in the 41-38 comeback win over Army in overtime on Sept. 10. He was named Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week, as well as Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week and fifth time in his career, and he also landed on the Davey O'Brien Great 8 and the Manning Award Stars of the Week lists. He completed 32 of 45 passes for a career best 359 yards and three touchdowns to help the Roadrunners rally from a 28-14 second-half deficit. Following the season opener against No. 24 Houston on Sept. 3, Harris was honored by the league office after he accounted for 400 yards of offense and four touchdowns in the 37-35, triple-overtime setback. The senior from Schertz Clemens High completed 28 of 43 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns and added 63 yards and a score on the ground. Senior place-kicker Jared Sackett also picked up C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Sept. 5 after he drilled a 37-yard field goal as time expired to tie the score at 24-all and force overtime against the Cougars. In the first extra period, the Fort Worth native split the uprights from 39 yards out to send the contest into double overtime, and he also made all three extra-point attempts on the afternoon. 
Traylor off to resounding start at UTSA
Head coach Jeff Traylor is off to a resounding start to his tenure at UTSA. The Gilmer, Texas, native has turned around the program by instilling his 210 Triangle of Toughness culture, producing results on and off the field. Taking over a team that won a combined seven games in the two seasons prior to his arrival, he has led the Roadrunners to a 21-9 record, the best record through 30 games by a UTSA head football coach. He already has mentored five All-Americans and a pair of NFL Draft picks during his time in San Antonio. In his first season, Traylor guided the Roadrunners to a 7-5 overall record, a runner-up finish in Conference USA's West Division with a 5-2 mark and an appearance in the First Responder Bowl. The Roadrunners received votes in a national poll for the first time in program history and the seven wins are the most by a first-year UTSA head coach. The Roadrunners enjoyed a record-setting campaign in his second season. The Roadrunners won their first 11 games, were nationally ranked (as high as No. 15) for the first time in school history and captured the program's first league title by winning the 2021 C-USA Championship with a 49-41 victory over WKU. UTSA capped the season with its second straight and third overall bowl appearance. Traylor was honored for his success as the 2021 C-USA Coach of the Year, the AFCA FBS Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4 and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, AFCA National Coach of the Year and George Munger College Coach of the Year Award. A member of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards Coach of the Year watch list, he was chosen as the 2021 San Antonio Express-News Sportsman of the Year.
Season No. 12
UTSA is playing its 12th season of football in 2022. The Roadrunners started their program from scratch and, following a practice year 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. The Roadrunners captured their first conference championship by claiming the 2021 C-USA crown and capped a 12-2 campaign with their third bowl game. UTSA has posted at least six wins in six of the 11 seasons in program history and it has reached the seven-win plateau four times, including in both years of the Jeff Traylor era. 
UTSA picked to win C-USA crown
The defending Conference USA champion UTSA Roadrunners have been picked to finish first in the conference this season. The Roadrunners received 14 of a possible 22 first-place votes from a panel of media members that covers all 11 C-USA schools. UAB received the remaining eight first-place votes and is slotted second in the preseason poll, followed by WKU, which UTSA beat 49-41 to claim the 2021 conference crown.
1.    UTSA (14)
2.    UAB (8)
3.    WKU
4.    Florida Atlantic
5.    North Texas
6.    UTEP
7.    Charlotte
8.    Middle Tennessee
9.    Louisiana Tech
10.  Rice
11.  FIU
UTSA senior duo earns C-USA preseason accolades
UTSA seniors Frank Harris and Rashad Wisdom have been named Conference USA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. Harris and Wisdom join C-USA Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year Brayden Narveson of WKU as preseason superlative award winners in a vote by the league's head coaches.
Roadrunners reel in preseason honors
UTSA has reeled in numerous honors leading into this season, as seven Roadrunners have landed on preseason lists. Senior quarterback Frank Harris leads the way after earning a spot on five lists — the Davey O'Brien, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose, Manning, Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards — and the Schertz Clemens high product also is a nominee for the Wuerffel Trophy. Meanwhile, senior safety Rashad Wisdom appears on watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik and Paycom Jim Thorpe Awards and Bronko Nagurski Trophy. The Converse Judson High graduate also is a nominee for the Allstate Good Works Team. Senior center Ahofitu Maka is a member of watch lists for the Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Polynesian College Football Player of the Year, while senior wide receiver Zakhari Franklin is on the Biletnikoff Award and Reese's Senior Bowl watch lists. Oscar Cardenas (John Mackey Award), Lucas Dean (Ray Guy Award) and Jared Sackett (Lou Groza Award) also made preseason watch lists.
Player — Watch List(s)
Oscar Cardenas — John Mackey Award
Lucas Dean — Ray Guy Award
Zakhari Franklin — Biletnikoff Award, Reese's Senior Bowl
Frank Harris — Davey O'Brien Award, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, Manning Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Wuerffel Trophy nominee
Ahofitu Maka — Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy, Polynesian College Football Player of the Year
Jared Sackett — Lou Groza Award
Rashad Wisdom — Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, Allstate Good Works Team nominee
Aerial attack
Under the direction of co-offensive coordinators Will Stein and Matt Mattox, UTSA boasts one of the top passing offenses in the nation this season. Led by quarterback Frank Harris and the wide receiver trio of Joshua Cephus, De'Corian Clark and Zakhari Franklin, the Roadrunners are averaging 351.5 passing yards per contest, which leads Conference USA and ranks sixth in the FBS. UTSA opened the campaign by throwing for 337 yards in the 37-35, triple-overtime loss to No. 24 Houston. The Roadrunners then aired it out for 359 yards in the 41-38 overtime triumph over Army on Sept. 10. UTSA broke the school record for passing yards in a game with 441, including a program-record 392 from Harris, in the 52-24 victory over Texas Southern on Sept. 24. Those three performances rank in the top eight on the program's all-time passing yardage chart.
UTSA's Top 10 Team Single-Game Passing Yardage
Yards    Opponent                    Date
441      Texas Southern            9/24/22
414      Charlotte                     11/26/16
372      Western Kentucky        10/9/21
369      Oklahoma State            9/7/13
367      Southern Miss              10/7/17
365      Houston                       9/28/13
359      Army West Point          9/10/22
337      Houston                       9/3/22
335      Southern                      9/16/17
332      Arizona                         9/3/15
Leader under center
During the course of his UTSA career, senior quarterback Frank Harris has developed into one of the team's unquestioned leaders. The Schertz Clemens High product, who owns a 22-10 record as the starting QB and nearly 30 school records, has thrown for 6,603 yards and a program-best 52 touchdowns on 592-of-894 passing (.662) and also rushed for UTSA records of 1,382 yards and 17 TDs as a Roadrunner. In fact, Harris is one of only 12 active FBS quarterbacks with 6,000 or more passing yards and 1,000-plus rushing yards, and he has piled up those numbers in the second-fewest number of games (32) among that group. Harris opened the 2022 campaign by piling up 400 yards of offense and four TDs, passing for 337 yards and three scores and rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown in the triple-overtime loss to No. 24 Houston. He followed that with 359 yards and three scores on 32-of-45 passing to help UTSA rally from a 14-point, second-half deficit for a 41-38 overtime triumph over Army, earning him Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week, as well as Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week accolades. Harris broke the school record for individual passing yardage with 392 on 20-of-31 passing, tossing four TD passes and adding 31 rushing yards for a school-record 423 yards of total offense in the 52-24 victory over Texas Southern on Sept. 24. He now owns four of the top five individual passing performances in program annals with three coming in the first four games this season. Harris currently leads the nation in total offense with 368.0 yards per game. The 2022 Conference USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year guided UTSA to the most successful season in program history last fall, helping lead the Roadrunners to a 12-2 record, their first conference championship and top-25 ranking and to their second straight and third overall bowl game. He set school single-season records for passing yards (3,177), completions (398), touchdowns (27), attempts (263), completion percentage (.661), passing efficiency (152.5), total offense (3,743) and touchdowns responsible for (33). He also rushed for 566 yards — a program record for a QB — and six scores and caught three passes for 36 yards and a TD en route to Dave Campbell's Texas Football Offensive Player of the Year and second-team all-conference accolades. A member of preseason watch lists for the Davey O'Brien, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose, Manning, Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards, Harris has overcome multiple season-ending injuries sustained earlier in his career to emerge as one of the top signal callers in the country.
Frank Harris School-Record Tracker

Passing Yards — 392 vs. Texas Southern (9/24/22)
Passing TDs — 6 at WKU (10/9/21)
Completions — 32 at Army (9/10/22)
Completion Percentage — .866 (13-15) vs. Lamar (9/11/21)
Rushing TDs — 3 at Texas State (9/12/20)
Rushing Yards by a QB — 123 vs. UIW (8/31/19)
Longest Rush by a QB — 71 vs. North Texas (11/28/20)
Total Offense — 423 vs. Texas Southern (9/24/22)

Passing Yards — 3,177 (2021)
Passing TDs — 27 (2021)
Completions — 398 (2021)
Attempts — 263 (2021)
Completion Percentage — .661 (2021)
Passing Efficiency — 152.5 (2021)
300-Yard Passing Games — 3 (2022)
Rushing Yards by a QB — 566 (2021)
Rushing TDs by a QB — 9 (2020)
TDs Responsible For — 33 (2021)
Total Offense — 3,743 (2021)

Passing TDs — 52
Completions — 592
Consecutive Completions — 13
Completion Percentage — .663
Passing Efficiency — 143.9
300-Yard Passing Games — 6
Rushing Yards by a QB — 1,382
Rushing TDs by a QB — 17
TDs Responsible For — 70
Total Offense — 7,985
Terrific trio
UTSA boasts arguably the most productive pass-catching trio in the FBS this season. Senior wide receivers Joshua Cephus, De'Corian "JT" Clark and Zakhari Franklin have teamed up to provide the Roadrunners with a formidable air attack. The trio has combined for 454 receptions, 5,755 receiving yards and 54 receiving touchdowns during their career. No other FBS team has a trio of active players with more receptions, receiving yards or touchdown catches. This season, the trio has totaled 88 catches for 1,222 yards and 12 TDs. They rank 1-3 in Conference USA and all three are in the top 14 nationally in receiving yards. No other team currently has more than one player on that list and Ohio State is the only other school with two in the top 15. They also all rank in the top 17 nationally in receptions per game this season, while no other team has more than one player on that chart. All three receivers were voted into the coveted single-digit jersey numbers by their teammates this season, with Cephus wearing No. 2, Clark in No. 1 and Franklin donning No. 4.
UTSA Wide Receiver Trio Career Stats
Player                    Rec.     Yards       TD
Joshua Cephus        166      1,915      14
De'Corian Clark      88        1,235      14
Zakhari Franklin      200      2,605      26
Totals                     454      5,755      54
Keeping the streak alive
The UTSA receiving duo of Zakhari Franklin and Joshua Cephus both rank near the top of the chart for consecutive games with a reception entering the 2022 campaign. Franklin has caught a pass in all 36 career contests in which he has been available dating back to 2019, good for the second-longest streak in the FBS behind Minnesota's Chris Autman-Bell, who has a reception in 41 straight games. Cephus has at least one catch in 30 consecutive games dating back to the 2020 season opener, putting him in a tie for eighth nationally.
Franklin rewriting record book
UTSA senior Zakhari Franklin has rewritten UTSA's record book for receivers. The Biletnikoff Award and Reese's Senior Bowl watch list honoree smashed UTSA single-season standards for receptions (81), receiving yards (1,027), receiving yards per game (79.0) and receiving touchdowns (12) last fall en route to first-team all-conference and second-team Dave Campbell's Texas Football All-Texas College honors. The Cedar Hill High product matched his own school mark from 2020 with four 100-yard receiving games last fall, including a season-high 155 yards on 10 grabs in the 37-30 road win over Illinois. He also owns the program's single-game record for receptions with 12, which he turned into 138 yards and a pair of scores versus Army in 2020. He started the 2022 campaign off with a bang by catching 10 passes for 100 yards against No. 24 Houston. He then hauled in 10 passes for 122 yards and a pair of TDs in the 41-38 overtime win at Army to push his school record for 100-yard games to 11 and give him eight of the top 13 single-game receiving yardage totals in program history. He caught six passes for 84 yards and a touchdown against No. 20 Texas and followed that with six catches for 87 yards and a score in the win over Texas Southern to give him 32 receptions for 393 yards and four TDs this year, and he ranks in the top 20 in the FBS in all of those categories. Franklin continues to sit atop the UTSA all-time charts for receptions (200), receiving yards (2,605) and TD catches (26). Further, he ranks third among active FBS players in receptions, fifth in receptions per game (5.56) and receiving touchdowns, sixth in receiving yards and eighth in receiving yards per game (72.4).
Sure-handed Cephus
Joshua Cephus has built a reputation as a wide receiver who does not drop anything thrown his way. The senior from Houston has been tagged with only six drops during his career — none this season — for a drop rate of 3.5% according to Pro Football Focus. He started 2022 by piling up 106 yards on seven receptions, including a 51-yard catch-and-run that opened the scoring for UTSA against No. 24 Houston. Cephus then recorded his second straight 100-yard game with 112 on 10 receptions in the 41-38 overtime triumph over Army. He caught seven passes for 80 yards and had a 45-yard TD catch wiped out by a penalty against No. 20 Texas before topping the century mark for the third time this season with a career-high 114 yards and a TD on five receptions to give him 29 catches for 412 yards this year. The Dekaney High product now has turned 166 catches into 1,915 yards and 14 touchdowns during his career, marks that rank in the top three on the program's all-time chart.
Clark creating highlight-reel catches
De'Corian "JT" Clark has emerged as one of UTSA's top receiving targets, often making catches worthy of a spot on any highlight reel. The senior from Fort Worth caught six passes for 70 yards and a pair of spectacular touchdown grabs in the season-opening setback to No. 24 Houston on Sept. 3. Clark — who gets his nickname from his middle name, John Thomas — hauled in a 15-yard pass from Frank Harris that gave the Roadrunners a 21-7 advantage in the third quarter, and he made a diving catch between two defenders on a 13-yard TD in the second overtime that helped force a third extra period. Clark provided another highlight catch with his game-winning 7-yard grab in the corner of the end zone to help lift UTSA to a 41-38 overtime triumph over Army on Sept. 10. He posted five receptions for 40 yards against No. 20 Texas and then provided more highlights in the 52-24 win over Texas Southern. Clark broke the school record for receiving yards in a game with 217 — the most by any FBS player this season — on nine receptions and was tabbed East-West Shrine Bowl Breakout Offensive Player of the Week. He caught three touchdown passes — a 31-yarder where he stretched the ball at the goal line tough the pylon, a 69-yard catch-and-run on the opening possession of the second half and a 7-yard grab over a defender in the end zone in the fourth quarter — to match his own UTSA standard set last year in the road win over Western Kentucky, and he is one of only 13 FBS players with three touchdown catches in a game this year. Clark now has 27 catches, 417 yards and six touchdowns in 2022. A product of O.D. Wyatt High School, he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for his career against the Longhorns, and he now has 1,235 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on 88 catches in 37 contests.
Cardenas a dual threat at tight end 
UTSA junior Oscar Cardenas has developed into a punishing blocker and reliable pass-catcher at the tight end position. The San Antonio Brandeis High graduate earned a spot on the John Mackey Award preseason watch list this summer after a breakout 2021 campaign. He appeared in all 14 games and made four starts last fall, catching 16 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Cardenas played a role in one of the iconic moments in UTSA's history, hauling in the game-winning TD reception after a tipped pass with three seconds left in the 34-31 victory over UAB last November. He also had a 28-yard catch on the game-winning drive in the final minute versus the Blazers to help the Roadrunners clinch the Conference USA West Division title. Cardenas, who has 34 career contests under his belt, came up big in a key road triumph over WKU last season, as well, catching a pair of passes for 19 yards, including an 11-yard TD. He caught a pair of passes in the 2022 opener against No. 24 Houston including a key 25-yard reception that set up the game-tying field goal as time expired. He added two more receptions for 18 yards in the 41-38 overtime triumph over Army on Sept. 10 and followed that with 28 yards on three catches against No. 20 Texas to give him seven catches for 82 yards this year and 26 receptions for 361 yards and two touchdowns as a Roadrunner.
Experience up front
UTSA brings back one of the most experienced offensive lines in the FBS this fall. The quartet of Kevin Davis (45 starts), Makai Hart (21), Terrell Haynes (24) and Ahofitu Maka (41) have combined for 131 career starts, which ranks fourth among all FBS schools. That foursome also has combined to play in 149 games, good for 10th nationally. With four starters returning, UTSA was tied with several other schools behind nine squads that returned all five starters this season.
Maka makes it happen on and off the field
Ahofitu Maka is back for his fourth season as UTSA's starting center, leading the way on a veteran offensive line. A second-team all-conference selection in each of the last two seasons, the Honolulu, Hawai'i, native has started 41 career games — 40 at center — as a Roadrunner after transferring from Independence Community College prior to the 2019 campaign. Dating back to the start of the 2020 season, the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy preseason watch list member has allowed only two sacks in more than 1,500 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, helping pave the way for a record-setting offense. In 2020, UTSA broke single-season program records for rushing yards (2,585), rushing yards per game (215.4), yards per rush (5.21) and rushing touchdowns (24). Maka surrendered just one sack and three hits on the quarterback in 430 pass-blocking snaps that season. Last fall, Maka — who landed on the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year watch list — started all 14 contests, allowing just one sack and three hits on the quarterback in 471 pass-blocking snaps to help UTSA set school records for total yards (6,146), total yards per game (439.0), passing yards (3,577), passing yards per game (255.5), points scored (516) and points per game (36.9). So far this season, Maka has not surrendered a sack or hit on the quarterback in 203 pass-blocking snaps. Also an excellent student, Maka is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, a three-time C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll member, a 2021 C-USA All-Academic Team pick and a C-USA Academic Medal recipient.
Give me that
UTSA has built a reputation for coming up with takeaways in the Jeff Traylor era. The Roadrunners came up with 19 turnovers (11 interceptions/eight fumble recoveries) in 2020 and followed that by recovering 13 fumbles and picking off 12 passes for 25 takeaways last fall, good for 10th nationally. Through four games in 2022, UTSA has come up with three fumbles and a pair of interceptions. Dadrian Taylor recovered a fumble in the season opener against No. 24 Houston and Caleb Cantrell and Rashad Wisdom each came up with a recovery in the 41-38 overtime win over Army. Dywan Griffin and Avery Morris picked off the first passes of the campaign for the Roadrunners in the 52-24 triumph over Texas Southern.
Wisdom in the secondary
UTSA senior safety Rashad Wisdom has been one of the team leaders since he stepped foot on campus in the spring semester of 2019. A two-time first-team all-conference performer, the Converse Judson High graduate has paced the Roadrunners in total tackles in each of the past two seasons, helping guide UTSA to 19 wins, a conference championship and a pair of bowl games during that timeframe. Last season, he recorded 88 tackles, 67 solo stops, four tackles for loss, six pass breakups and a forced fumble. The 2022 C-USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year logged 10-plus tackles three times, including a season-high 13 in the 52-46 road win over WKU, giving him eight career games with double-digit stops. A member of preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik and Paycom Jim Thorpe Awards, he opened 2022 with five tackles, including four solo stops, against No. 24 Houston, followed by a tackle and a fumble recovery in the comeback win over Army. Wisdom registered four tackles at No. 20 Texas and two more in the win against Texas Southern despite only playing one half, and he now has 239 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, five interceptions, four forced fumbles, two sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries in 42 career contests. Wisdom is ninth among active FBS players with 168 solo tackles and two interception returns for touchdowns, which also is good for a share of the school record.
Mayfield comfortable on an island
UTSA cornerback Corey Mayfield Jr. was thrown into the fire, so to speak, as a true freshman in 2018, seeing action in 10 games and drawing two starts. The Forney, Texas, native has made the most of that early playing time, developing into a steady presence at the position during the course of his career with 38 starts in 51 contests. The son of former Oklahoma and NFL defensive lineman Corey Mayfield, he has received honorable mention all-conference accolades in each of the past two seasons. Last fall, he registered 37 tackles, three tackles for loss, three pass breakups one forced fumble and an interception that he returned 49 yards for a touchdown in the 45-0 shutout of Rice. In 2020, he had a pair of interceptions and broke up a team-best six passes to go along with 37 stops and three TFLs. He started this season with six total tackles, four solo stops and a key pass breakup deep in UTSA territory against No. 24 Houston. Mayfield then registered three tackles and a key PBU in overtime of UTSA's 41-38 comeback win over Army on Sept. 10 before logging four solo stops and a PBU at No. 20 Texas. Mayfield made three tackles in the victory against Texas Southern to give him 16 tackles and a pair of breakups this year and 119 tackles, 12 PBUs, four interceptions and two forced fumbles for his career.
Linebacker leaders 
The Roadrunners are not short on leadership in the second line of defense this fall, as three players who earned one of the coveted single-digit jersey numbers lining up as starters at linebacker. The tandem of Trevor Harmanson, who is wearing No. 1, and Jamal Ligon, who is donning No. 8 for the second straight season, provides UTSA with two veterans in the middle. A super senior from Dickinson, Texas, Harmanson has recorded 203 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and a pair of recoveries in 41 career contests. Ligon, a junior out of Tyler Lee High, has registered 163 tackles, nine TFLs, five sacks, two forced fumbles, a pair of recoveries and an interception in 27 games as a Roadrunner, and he owns the program single-game tackles record with 19 against Middle Tennessee in 2020. Meanwhile, Dadrian Taylor is back in his No. 7 jersey for his final year manning the SAM linebacker spot. In 49 career appearances, the Shiner, Texas, native has logged 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions, including a pick-six versus Louisiana Tech last season.
D-line rotation keeps Roadrunners fresh
UTSA defensive coordinator Jess Loepp uses a deep rotation up front to keep the Roadrunners fresh throughout the course of a game. The Roadrunners played nine defensive linemen in the season-opening 37-35, triple-overtime loss to No. 24 Houston. Brandon Brown, Brandon Matterson and Asyrus Simon drew starts and combined to register 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Simon led that trio with seven stops, while Brown made 1.5 sacks and caused the fumble. Joe Evans (3 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks), Lamonte McDougle (2 tackles), Trumane Bell II (0.5 TFL, QBH), Christian Clayton (tackle), Zach Causey and Ronald Triplette also saw snaps against the Cougars. A total of 10 defensive linemen saw action in the 41-38 comeback triumph over Army on Sept. 10, led by Matterson (5 tackles, 0.5 TFL), McDougle (4 tackles), Bell (4 tackles, sack), Evans (3 tackles) and Nick Booker-Brown (3 tackles, sack). UTSA has rotated 10 players on the d-line in each of the past two games with Brandon Matterson's five tackles pacing the unit against No. 20 Texas and Ronald Triplette's six stops leading the way in the win over Texas Southern.
Carpenter makes history
Chris Carpenter stamped his name in the UTSA record book as the first Roadrunner to return a kickoff for a touchdown when he took one back 97 yards for a score in the 52-24 victory over Texas Southern on Sept. 24. A native of Jacksonville, Texas, who transferred from Colorado this year, his return also soared to the top of the program's list of longest plays, moving ahead of Jarveon Williams' 92-yard run versus Southern Miss in 2016. Now in its 12th season, UTSA had returned a total of 396 kickoffs without a score before Carpenter broke free for his record setter. The previous longest kickoff return before Carpenter's 97-yarder was 87 yards by Kam Jones at Florida Atlantic in 2014.
Punter from Down Under
In its brief 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. Lucas Dean has emerged as the next in that strong punting lineage. A product of Prokick Australia and the first Roadrunner 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. This season, he is averaging 47.2 yards on 13 punts with five of 50-plus yards and five inside the 20-yard line. Dean enjoyed a career day in the 52-24 win over Texas Southern on Sept. 24, breaking his own school record with a 76-yard punt late in the contest He also had kicks of 67 and 52 yards and averaged 60.5 on four punts in that contest to smash his own UTSA standard of 51.2 set against North Texas last season. As a true freshman, he averaged 40.8 yards on 65 punts and booted 12 of 50-plus yards. Dean provided quite the encore in 2020, shattering UTSA's single-season punting average record with a 46.0 mark to lead Conference USA and rank sixth nationally. He was a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, the C-USA Special Teams Player of the Year and a second-team All-American by the Sporting News that season. Last fall, Dean punted 47 times for a 45.2 average that ranks second on the program's single-season chart, earning second-team all-league accolades. The Ray Guy Award preseason watch list member now owns four of the five longest punts in UTSA history and has improved his school record career average to 44.0, which ranks ninth among active FBS punters.
Welcome back, Sackett
Not often does a college football player finish his career where he started after transferring, but UTSA senior Jared Sackett is doing just that this season. As a true freshman in 2017, he made 19 of 22 field goals (.864) for the Roadrunners to rank third in the FBS in field goals per game (1.9) and ninth in field-goal percentage (.864) despite not appearing in the season opener. Those numbers helped him become the second Freshman All-American in program history and UTSA's first Lou Groza Award semifinalist. The Fort Worth native connected on 14 of 19 field goals en route to his second straight season as a Groza Award semifinalist. After transferring to Arkansas to kick for a coaching staff that included Jeff Traylor, he sat out the 2019 season and then moved on to USF following a coaching change. Sackett made 5 of 7 field goals and all 10 extra points he tried in limited action in 2020 for the Bulls. After not kicking in any games last fall, he transferred back to UTSA for his final campaign, entering the season as a member of the Lou Groza Award watch list. He opened his second stint as a Roadrunner by drilling a pair of field goals, including a 37-yarder as time expired to send the game into overtime, and also made all three extra points and had two touchbacks on four kickoffs against No. 24 Houston. Sackett was tabbed C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week for his effort against the Cougars. Against No. 20 Texas, he made both field goal tries and two extra-point attempts, recorded three touchbacks and executed an onside kick that was recovered by Jimmori Robinson. In his last outing, he drilled a 43-yard field goal, had three touchbacks and made seven PATs in the 52-24 win over Texas Southern.
Transfers making immediate impact
UTSA has seen several first-year transfers make an immediate impact this season. Nicktroy Fortune, who last played for West Virginia, has started the first four games at cornerback and registered 10 tackles, 1.5 tackle for loss and a pass breakup. LSU transfer Joe Evans has seen much action on the defensive line and owns six stops, 1.5 TFLs and half a sack in three contests. NC State transfer defensive lineman Nick Booker-Brown made his UTSA debut in the 41-38 comeback win at Army, recording three tackles including a sack for a 5-yard loss, and now has five stops on the year. Pig Cage, a defensive back from LSU who started his career at Nicholls, has logged seven tackles and a TFL in four contests. On offense, Venly Tatafu, who came from Independence Community College, earned the starting left tackle job and has helped the offense average 478.5 yards per game. Arkansas transfer running back Trelon Smith has rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown in his first two outings while Colorado transfer Chris Carpenter became the first Roadrunner to ret7urn a kickoff for a touchdown with a 97-yarder in the victory against Texas Southern.
FBS graduates
UTSA boasts 22 graduates on its 2022 roster, a total that is tied for the third-most among FBS teams. Nebraska leads the way with 26, followed by Liberty and Rice with 23. The Roadrunners are equal with Baylor, Eastern Michigan, Fresno State, North Texas, Pitt and Texas State.
UTSA's Graduates
Trumane Bell 
Tre'Von Bradley 
Brenden Brady
Quincy Cage
Caleb Cantrell 
Clifford Chattman
Kevin Davis 
Trevor Harmanson 
Frank Harris 
Makai Hart
Terrell Haynes 
Payne He'bert
Ahofitu Maka 
Brandon Matterson 
Lamonte McDougle
Dru Prox
Jared Sackett
Gavin Sharp 
Trelon Smith
Dadrian Taylor 
Tony Wallace
Julon Williams 
Brotherly duos
UTSA has three sets of brothers on the 2022 roster in safety Pig Cage and wide receiver Quincy Cage, offensive lineman Kevin Davis and wide receiver Isaiah Davis, along with outside linebackers Dadrian and Donyai Taylor. The Roadrunners are one of only nine FBS teams with multiple sets of brothers this season.
TV birds
Saturday's game will be televised by CBS Sports Network, marking 115 straight televised/streamed appearances for the Roadrunners. The last UTSA game that was not broadcast was the 2012 season finale against Texas State. 
Sixteen Roadrunners in super senior season
A total of 16 UTSA seniors have elected to take advantage of their extra year of eligibility this fall as a result of an NCAA blanket waiver for all 2020 fall sports student-athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brenden Brady
Caleb Cantrell
Clifford Chattman
Kevin Davis
Trevor Harmanson
Frank Harris
Makai Hart
Ahofitu Maka
Brandon Matterson
Corey Mayfield Jr.
Dru Prox
Jared Sackett
Gavin Sharp
Trelon Smith
Dadrian Taylor
Tony Wallace
Duo in seventh season of college football
UTSA seniors Clifford Chattman and Dru Prox are in rare company as two of only 23 FBS players who are in at least their seventh season of college football. In fact, that duo makes UTSA the only school on the list with two current seventh-year players.
A focus on recruiting Texas
UTSA's 112-man roster features 87 players — 78% — who hail from the state of Texas. Louisiana stands second with five players, while there are three each from California, Florida and Mississippi and two apiece from Georgia and Tennessee. Hawai'i, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia each have produced one current Roadrunner, while Lucas Dean is the lone UTSA player from Australia.
Keeping them home
UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor and his staff have placed an emphasis on recruiting the city of San Antonio and thesurrounding area. The current roster includes 26 players from Greater San Antonio with a team-high five hailing from perennial power Converse Judson High School.
Player (High School)
Rudy Aleman Jr. (Warren)
Brenden Brady (Steele)
Oscar Cardenas (Brandeis)
Cade Collenback (O'Connor)
Frank Harris (Clemens)
Caden Holt (New Braunfels Canyon)
Xion LaGrant (Cornerstone Christian)
Ethan Laing (Boerne Champion)
Caleb Lewis (Steele)
De'Anthony Lewis (Judson)
Deandre Marshall (Central Catholic)
Frankie Martinez (East Central)
Brandon Matterson (Brandeis)
Trey Moore (Smithson Valley)
Matthew O'Brien (New Braunfels)
Xavier Player (Steele)
Jalen Rainey (Brandeis)
Jaren Randle (Johnson)
Robert Rigsby (Judson)
Ben Rios (Central Catholic)
Justin Rodriguez (Johnson)
Kamron Scott (Judson)
Xavier Spencer (Judson)
Dre Spriggs (Harlan)
Julon Williams (Judson)
Rashad Wisdom (Judson)
UTSA's 210 Triangle of Toughness
Since his arrival in December 2019, UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has instilled into the program his 210 Triangle Of Toughness Culture Pillars: Integrity, Passion, Mental & Physical Toughness, Selfless and Perfect Effort. As part of that 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. The numbers 2, 1 and 0 — San Antonio's area code — 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 — De'Corian Clark, Trevor Harmanson
2 — Joshua Cephus, Corey Mayfield Jr.
3 — Brandon Matterson 
4 — Clifford Chattman, Zakhari Franklin
5 — Brenden Brady, Lucas Dean
6 — Kelechi Nwachuku
7 — Dadrian Taylor
8 — Jamal Ligon
9 — Brandon Brown, Oscar Cardenas
Offensive linemen Kevin Davis (61), Makai Hart (77), Terrell Haynes (58) and Ahofitu Maka (55) also received the necessary votes but cannot change to a single-digit number due to their position.
Leadership Council elected
Prior to the season, UTSA elected a Leadership Council made up of representatives from each position group.
Quarterbacks — Frank Harris
Running Backs — Brenden Brady
Wide Receivers — Joshua Cephus
Tight Ends — Oscar Cardenas
Offensive Line — Ahofitu Maka
Defensive Line — Brandon Brown
Inside Linebackers — Jamal Ligon
Outside Linebackers (S) — Dadrian Taylor
Outside Linebackers (W) — Trey Moore
Safeties — Kelechi Nwachuku, Rashad Wisdom
Cornerbacks — Corey Mayfield Jr.
Specialists — Caleb Cantrell, Lucas Dean
Up next
UTSA will return home to host Western Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Alamodome and the game will air on ESPN+ and Ticket 760 AM.