For the first time in program history, the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners are 6-0 to start a season as they return to the Alamodome to face the Rice Owls in a Conference USA matchup. It’s the homecoming game for UTSA, which has urged alumni and local fans to “pack the ‘Dome” for the contest.
UTSA Roadrunners (6-0, 2-0 conference) vs. Rice (2-3, 1-0):
Kickoff: 5 p.m.
How to watch: ESPN+
Rice comes into the game off a bye week. Before the off week, the Owls defeated Southern Mississippi 24-17 to win their second consecutive game.
The Roadrunners defeated Western Kentucky in a shootout that ended when UTSA linebacker Clarence Hicks made a game-saving interception to seal a 52-46 victory.
What they’re saying:
UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor: “They’re [Rice] very complex on offense and defense. They do a lot of stuff. Everybody knows how smart their kids are. They’ve got a bunch of really smart players and high-character players. … [The athletic department] has done a great job reaching out to alumni trying to get them to come [to Saturday’s game]. I think once they come, they will really enjoy it and be shocked at how selfless our team is, with how they cheer for each other and are into the game with each other. It is refreshing. They are a breath of fresh air.”
Rice Head Coach Mike Bloomgren: “It was a great week because we were able to get healthier. We got some guys back and we got young guys some work. It allows us to move some of them up the depth chart and get them more involved this year. … A lot of our kids have played with or against their guys and have known them for years. We love the fact that they are an in-state as well as a conference opponent.”
UTSA is one of 13 undefeated bowl-eligible teams and the only one not ranked in either the Associated Press or USA Today Sports AFCA Coaches poll. The Roadrunners have won their last five games against Rice. The Roadrunners are averaging 37.5 points per game to along with 453.5 yards per game on offense. Defensively they have held their opponents to 22.33 points per game and are allowing 360.8 yards per game.
Two of Rice’s three losses have been to currently ranked opponents: No. 25 Texas (58-0) and No. 17 Arkansas (38-17). The Owls are 1-0 in conference play after their victory over Southern Mississippi. After giving up an average of 43.5 points in its first four games, the Rice defense buckled down against the Golden Eagles, holding them to 19 points.
Players to watch:
UTSA quarterback Frank Harris’ performance against Western Kentucky earned him Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week honors. He threw for 349 yards on 28-of-38 passing, threw for six touchdowns, ran for 51 yards, and caught a touchdown pass on a trick play from wide receiver Joshua Cephus. Harris is averaging 245.83 passing yards per game and has totaled 1,475 passing yards this season.
The Rice offense is led by quarterback Jake Constantine, who in three games has completed 46 of 60 passes for 543 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Jordan Myers is utilized in Rice’s running game, especially in red-zone situations. He has run for five touchdowns and leads the team in total touchdowns with six.