No. 22 UTSA will have a chance to claim some program firsts on Friday in the Cure Bowl in Orlando. The Roadrunners will be going for their first win in a bowl game as well as the first win over a ranked opponent when they take on the 23rd-ranked Troy Trojans. A victory also would give the Roadrunners a second straight 12-win season and match last season’s program-best 11-game winning streak. In the only bowl game featuring two conference champions, both UTSA and Troy enter the contest having won 10 in a row.
UTSA Roadrunners (11-2) vs. Troy University Trojans (11-2)
Location: Exploria Stadium, Orlando
Kickoff: 2 p.m. Friday
How to watch: ESPN
UTSA won its second straight Conference USA championship on Dec. 2 by beating North Texas 48-27 in front of the third largest crowd in UTSA program and Conference USA championship game history. Quarterback Frank Harris threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns, completing 32 of 37 passes on the way to being named the game’s most valuable player.
Troy won the Sun Belt championship on Dec. 3 at home against Coastal Carolina, 45-26. The Trojans built a 31-0 lead before the Chanticleers finally got on the board.
What they’re saying:
UTSA running back Kevorian Barnes on Troy’s defense: “They play fast and physical. They are like our defense. They do everything crisp. They want to win, too. It’s going to be a dogfight.”
Troy Head Coach Jon Sumrall: “Really honored to be playing in the Cure Bowl. Very excited to play a quality opponent. The matchup in our game has to be one of the most intriguing bowl games.”
UTSA will be playing in its third straight bowl game and the fourth bowl game in program history, but all have been losses. The Roadrunners fell to the University of New Mexico in the 2016 New Mexico Bowl, the University of Louisiana in the 2020 First Responders Bowl and to San Diego State in last year’s Frisco Bowl.
Troy is making its ninth bowl appearance in program history and is playing its first bowl game since the 2018 Dollar General Bowl. The Trojans have won four straight trips to bowls. Their last bowl loss came in the 2009 GMAC Bowl against then-No. 25 Central Michigan.
Players to watch:
UTSA wide receiver Joshua Cephus needs just 15 yards to reach 1,000 receiving yards this season and join Zakhari Franklin (1,100 yards this season) as the only receivers in UTSA history to have 1,000 receiving yards in a season. Franklin became the first UTSA receiver to have 1,000 yards in a season last year when he finished with 1,027 yards.
Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson has completed 193 of his 310 pass attempts for 2,705 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. In the Sun Belt championship game, he threw for 318 yards on just 12 completions, so he’s capable of making big plays.