The UTSA Roadrunners lost the battle of defenses to the Troy University Trojans, 18-12, in the Duluth Trading Co. Cure Bowl at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on Friday night.

In the matchup between the respective conference champs, Troy emerged victorious and forced the University of Texas at San Antonio into a season-high five turnovers, then cashed them in for 15 points.

UTSA got on the board first with a safety at 3:58 in the first quarter. The Roadrunners scored their first and only touchdown early in the second quarter with a 2-yard pass from quarterback Frank Harris to Zakhari Franklin. Jared Sackett added a 42-yard field goal just before the break to put the Roadrunners up, 12-0.

Troy responded with a 2-yard rushing touchdown with 50 seconds remaining to get on the board and go into the half down by five, 12-7.

Defense domination carried both teams through the game and into the final quarter. UTSA sacked Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson a season-high six times for a total loss of 34 yards. The vaunted Troy defense forced four-straight UTSA drives to end in turnovers.

Troy came from behind to score 18 unanswered points with the final touchdown coming with less than 3 minutes in the 3rd on a 12-yard pass to RaJae’ Johnson.

“We can say all we want to say, but let’s be real. Those are some big penalties that we had there, especially in the drive in the second,” UTSA linebacker Trey Moore said. 

“Who knows? You can’t really play the game like that,” Moore said. “Hindsight is 2020. But if we didn’t have too many penalties, you don’t really know what the outcome would have been without ‘em. We tried to be disciplined and be smart out there.”

The Roadrunners put up 345 yards of offense to Troy’s 153, but turnovers kept Troy in the game.

“To hold these guys to 12 points, I don’t know what to say,” Troy head coach Jon Sumrall said. “Defensively, we stayed together all year, and I could not be more proud. The two-point conversion was big. The fake punt was big there at the end. That added some excitement, huh? I wanted to get a touchdown there and put it away, but we hung in there.”

UTSA turned it over on downs just inside the 10-yard line with less than 8 minutes in the fourth quarter, trailing 18-12. Harris tossed two incomplete passes, one on third down, where the receiver dropped it in the endzone, and the other on fourth down.

“It is always rough when you lose a game when it comes down to the last play,” UTSA running back Kevorian Barnes said. “Nobody feels good about this, especially on offense. I feel like we left a lot out there but there’s nothing to say about that. We are where we are and we are down.”

Troy leveled uncharacteristic pressure on Harris, but UTSA did not switch to a running game and had only 147 yards to Troy’s 56.

Both teams rode 10-game win streaks into the game and were tied for the third-longest active Football Bowl Subdivision streak. With the win, Troy extended its streak. 

With 12 points scored, the game marked UTSA’s lowest offensive output all season.

“Congrats to Coach Sumrall and Troy,” UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor said. “Great football team, great season, really great hard-fought football game. We thought we’d be a low scoring NFL-type football game and that’s about what it was.”

After  three consecutive bowl appearances under Traylor, the Cure Bowl being the fourth overall for the program, UTSA has yet to find a win.

Traylor, the two-time Coach of the Year, and his Roadrunners will move to the American Athletic Conference next year. Harris will return as quarterback for his seventh year.

Erin Gallegos Reid

Erin Gallegos Reid graduated from Southern Methodist University, then a graduate program at Georgetown University. She has worked at the network level (NBC, CBS, ESPN/ABC Sports, Turner Sports), local...