The University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners kept hold of first place in Conference USA with a comeback victory Saturday over their rivals, the North Texas Mean Green, 31-27 in the Alamodome.
The Roadrunners pulled out the win with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Frank Harris to De’Corian “JT” Clark with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter. It was the fifth lead change in the fourth quarter. UTSA’s final drive took one minute and 23 seconds and went 75 yards in seven plays.
UTSA scored just 80 seconds after North Texas had gone in front 27-24 with 1:38 left in the game. It was another example of the Roadrunners’ strong two-minute offense that has helped them to a 16-6 record in one-score games under head coach Jeff Traylor.
“We always practice [two-minute drives],” UTSA quarterback Harris said. “I think we’re pretty good in tempo. We’re out there executing. We like to play fast, and I think we definitely went out there and executed at a great pace.”
By beating North Texas, the Roadrunners gave Traylor his 25th win at UTSA and his 200th career win, including his time at Gilmer High School.
It’s possible the Roadrunners had a little help from above on their final drive.
At his postgame press conference, Traylor placed a towel with a cross and the initials “MC” on it. The MC stood for Matt Camp, a childhood friend of Traylor’s who served as the school board president and radio broadcaster at Gilmer and helped Traylor build that program up. Camp died after a battle with melanoma just a few days after Traylor won his 100th game in 2009.
“He was one of my very best friends in the world,” Traylor said. “On my 100th win, he was dying, and he got in the Winnebago and he came to the call and he called my 100th win. He passed away that next Wednesday. I still have the voicemail. He told me, ‘Bro, there was no way I was going to miss your 100th win. I don’t know how many more I’m going to see,’ he said, ‘but when you win No. 300, I’m going to have the best seat in the house.’
“Tonight was No. 200 for me,” Traylor said. “I’m 100 away, brother. I’m going to get there.”
The early stages of the game did not portend how it would end. The two teams could manage only field goals in the first half. North Texas made two, and UTSA made one of two attempts.
The Roadrunners looked to have a chance to try a long field goal before halftime but referees ran the clock all the way down even after it appeared UTSA had stopped the clock with a spiked ball with eight seconds left.
Even Traylor was confused.
“That’s about as mad as I’ve been in a long time,” Traylor said. “We supposedly, upstairs, inadvertently stopped the clock on eight, so therefore they said they had to go ahead and put it on zero. I still don’t understand it. I was just trying to beg for common sense. Obviously I lost my argument.”
After the dust settled on the first half, North Texas took a 6-3 lead into halftime.
UTSA forced a turnover on the Mean Green’s first possession of the third quarter. The Roadrunners took their first lead of the afternoon with 9:26 left in the third quarter when running back Brendan Brady scored from 3 yards out.
North Texas answered 80 seconds later with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Austin Aune to Jake Roberts that gave the team a 13-10 lead. That lead stood until the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, UTSA retook the lead at the 13:09 mark when Brady scored his second touchdown of the afternoon to put the Roadrunners up 17-13.
The Mean Green retook the lead about three and a half minutes later when Aune threw a 44-yard pass to Var’Keyes Gumms.
The Roadrunners went back in front 24-20 with 2:36 left in the fourth quarter, setting up a final 120 seconds of the game in which the lead changed two more times.
UTSA’s win over North Texas improved the Roadrunners’ record to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in Conference USA. The Roadrunners will have a bye next week before heading to Alabama to face the University of Alabama at Burlington on Nov. 5.