Hunter Duplessis’ field goal as time expired capped a second-half comeback for the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners, who bounced back from a 21-0 deficit to defeat the Memphis Tigers 31-28 Saturday and remain unbeaten.

The Roadrunners (4-0) dealt Memphis (3-1) its first home loss since Oct. 13, 2018, and the comeback was the largest in UTSA history.

With the game tied at 28 late in the fourth quarter, the Roadrunners converted a crucial third down when running back Sincere McCormick broke off a 22-yard run, helping UTSA get into field goal range for Duplessis, whose 42-yard kick sailed through the uprights at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, ending Memphis’ 17 game home winning streak. 

Sincere McCormick ran 42 times for 184 yards and three touchdowns and caught three passes for 33 yards, and senior quarterback Frank Harris completed 18 of 28 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown.  

UTSA running back Sincere McCormick looks to the sideline referee for the touchdown signal on a run against the Memphis Tigers at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 25, 2021.
UTSA running back Sincere McCormick looks to the sideline referee for the touchdown signal on a run against the Memphis Tigers at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Credit: Courtesy / Joe Rondone – The Commercial Appeal

“We just don’t go away,” UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor said in a postgame interview with “You gotta fight. That’s what our kids did. … It was a heavyweight fight. It was a blast to be a part of it.”

UTSA got off to a tough start when, on the first play of the game, Harris mishandled a snap in the end zone that was recovered by Memphis defensive lineman Wardalis Ducksworth for a touchdown. Memphis kept things going with a 7-yard touchdown run by running back Rodrigues Clark, and a 60-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Seth Henigan to wide receiver Calvin Austin III put the Tigers up 21-0.

After giving up 168 yards in the first quarter, the Roadrunners got back into the game by holding Memphis to seven points and 230 yards the rest of the game. 

The Roadrunners regrouped in the second quarter and answered with an 87-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown run by McCormick.

UTSA kept the momentum going after halftime as McCormick scored on an 8-yard run to get UTSA within a touchdown with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter. But Memphis put together a 73-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown by freshman running back Brandon Thomas with 2:44 left in the quarter.

A quick 7-yard touchdown pass from Harris to wide receiver Zakhari Franklin to start the fourth quarter cut the Tigers’ lead to 28-21 with 13:35 left in the game. The defense followed that up with a sack by linebacker Clarence Hicks that forced a fumble recovered by defensive lineman Lorenzo Dantzler. Dantzler returned the fumble 12 yards to the Memphis 7-yard line, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by McCormick to tie the game at 28 with 10:03 to play.  

Two Memphis drives failed to break the tie, and UTSA got the ball back with 2:46 remaining and put together the winning drive.

“No game is easy in college football,” McCormick said. “It’s a tough game and it’s hard to be 4-0. It’s a good accomplishment to go back to UTSA with.”

UTSA, which is 4-0 for the first time since 2012, will be back in the Alamodome next weekend to host UNLV, which is coming off a 30-38 loss to Fresno State. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. 

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Alejandro Martinez

Alejandro Martinez is a San Antonian studying finance at the University of Texas at San Antonio.