Coming off a last-second victory over the University of Alabama-Birmingham that secured the Conference USA West championship, the University of Texas at San Antonio will need to avoid a letdown Saturday on the road against the University of North Texas. It’s the Roadrunners’ opportunity to make history by finishing off a perfect regular season. UTSA is No. 15 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll and 20th in the USA Today coaches poll.
UTSA Roadrunners (11-0, 7-0 conference) vs. North Texas Mean Green (5-6, 4-3):
Location: Apogee Stadium
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
How to watch: ESPN+
In a game that qualifies as an instant classic, UTSA needed the final play of the game in order to defeat the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Tight end Oscar Cardenas snagged quarterback Frank Harris’ 1-yard pass in the end zone to lift the Roadrunners to a 34-31 victory in the Alamodome.
North Texas defeated Florida International University 49-7 on the road for the Mean Green’s fourth consecutive victory. At 5-6 overall, North Texas needs one more win to be eligible for a bowl game.
What they’re saying:
UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor: “North Texas can ruin our season. … They have been beat by good teams. They’re hot right now, but guess what? We can ruin their season, too, so that’s [going to be] our mantra.”
North Texas Head Coach Seth Littrell: “Anyone who says this isn’t a rivalry game, they’re lying to you. … I know they [UTSA] have a lot to be playing for, being
undefeated and looking to go play in the conference championship. … They absolutely have a lot on the line, but so do we.”
UTSA remains among the best in the Football Bowl Subdivision at stopping the run, allowing just 101.7 rushing yards per game, 10th best in the nation. The Roadrunners offense is producing more than 36 points per game, good for 13th in the nation. If UTSA completes a perfect regular season, it will be the first non-Power Five conference team to do so since the University of Central Florida went 12-0 in 2017 as a member of the American Athletic Conference.
Averaging almost 237 yards per game on the ground, UNT has the fourth-best rushing offense in the FBS. The Mean Green rolled up a season-best 378 rushing yards against Florida International last week. In its six losses, UNT has given up an average of 38.5 points a game, but has held opponents to just over 15 per game in its five wins.
Players to watch:
With three touchdowns against UAB, quarterback Frank Harris broke UTSA’s single-season record for touchdown passes, racking up 23 this season. Receiver Zakhari Franklin leads the Roadrunners’ single-season touchdown receptions list with 10 after catching two more TD passes last week. Harris, linebacker Clarence Hicks and placekicker Hunter Duplessis swept the C-USA player of the week awards for UTSA in each category for their performance against the Blazers. Duplessis had field goals of 51 — matching a career long — and 49 yards in the victory.
Running back DeAndre Torrey leads all rushers for North Texas with 1,107 yards on 225 carries this season and 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Austin Aune has completed 126 of 246 passes for 1,647 yards, throwing for nine touchdowns and running for two more.