HOUSTON — Kevorian Barnes posted his sixth career 100-yard rushing game, Joshua Cephus had a career-high 123 receiving yards and Trey Moore and Donyai Taylor combined for five tackles for loss, but it was not enough as UTSA dropped a 17-14 decision at Houston in the season opener on Saturday night at TDECU Stadium.
Playing in their first game as a member of the American Athletic Conference, the Roadrunners displayed a balanced offense with 208 rushing yards and 209 passing yards against the Cougars, who were making their Big 12 Conference debut. Barnes rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per tote. Dating back to last season, it marked the third straight 100-yard output for the redshirt sophomore from San Augustine, Texas.
Cephus caught nine passes in registering his top receiving yardage total and fifth 100-yard game as a Roadrunner. The senior from nearby Dekaney High School hauled in a pass over the middle late in the contest, juked a defender and found the end zone to help pull UTSA within 17-14 with 5:42 left to play.
Taylor, a senior from Shiner, Texas, recorded five total tackles with three behind the line, including one of three sacks turned in by the visitors. Moore, a sophomore out of Smithson Valley High, also made five stops with two TFLs and one sack.
Kam Alexander paced the defense with six tackles along with a pass breakup and quarterback hurry in his UTSA debut, while Avery Morris, Ken Robinson and Rashad Wisdom contributed five stops apiece. The Roadrunners held the Cougars to 334 yards of offense, including only 101 on the ground.