The University of Texas at San Antonio closed out the nonconference portion of its football schedule Saturday afternoon with a 52-24 win over Texas Southern University before a crowd of 22,562 in the Alamodome.

It was a record-setting day for the UTSA Roadrunners. Quarterback Frank Harris moved into the top spot on the school’s all-time touchdown list and set a school record for passing yards in a game with 392. Wide receiver De’Corian Clark set a school record for receiving yards in a game with 217 yards.

The biggest moment of history for the Roadrunners came in the first half when Chris Carpenter went 97 yards for the school’s first-ever kickoff return for a touchdown. 

UTSA wide receiver Chris Carpenter (15) celebrates with fans after a kick return touchdown during Saturday’s NCAA college football game against Texas Southern at the Alamodome. Credit: Nick Wagner / San Antonio Report

Even with all that history made, the Roadrunners after the game felt like they had room to improve.

“There’s some things I’m really, really proud of,” UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor said. “There’s some things I’m very disappointed in.”

Among the aspects UTSA will need to improve as it heads into conference play will be the running game. The Roadrunners managed only 112 yards rushing and a Harris touchdown on the ground against the Texas Southern Tigers’ defense. 

UTSA was able to have more success in the passing game, with 441 yards and five touchdowns. Eddie Lee Marburger came in at quarterback in the fourth quarter and led the Roadrunners on their final touchdown drive, going three-for-three for 49 yards and a 7-yard touchdown pass to Clark that made the score 52-24.

The Roadrunner defense had to adjust to Texas Southern’s offense. The Tigers racked up 235 yards rushing and 229 yards passing. Both of the Tigers’ touchdowns were scored on the ground by their quarterback, Andrew Body.

“He’s a great player. Whenever you have a great quarterback, your team always has a chance,” UTSA safety Kelechi Nwachuku said. “He was a lot to stop. He’s so dangerous with his legs. A true dual-threat quarterback. But much respect to him.”

UTSA never trailed against Texas Southern although the Tigers did tie the score at 7-7 when Body scored his first touchdown of the afternoon on a 4-yard run. That was at the 3:31 mark of the first quarter.

The ensuing kickoff was caught by UTSA’s Carpenter at the 3 and returned 97 yards for a touchdown. In addition to the first kick returned for a touchdown in UTSA history, it was the longest play in program history. 

UTSA went up 21-7 later in the second quarter when Harris connected with Clark for the first of two touchdowns they would score together. Texas Southern continued to hang around and sent the game into halftime with no change to the scoreboard.

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris (0) celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Joshua Cephus (2) during an NCAA college football game against Texas Southern at the Alamodome on Saturday. The Roadrunners defeated the Tigers 52-24.
UTSA quarterback Frank Harris (0) celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Joshua Cephus (2) during Saturday’s game. Credit: Nick Wagner / San Antonio Report

Harris opened the third quarter scoring with a 69-yard pass to Clark with 14:13 left in the third quarter to put UTSA up 28-17. Another UTSA touchdown on a 23-yard pass from Harris to Joshua Cephus nine minutes later made it 35-17.

Texas Southern scored on a 33-yard screen pass from Body to Jacorey Howard to cut the Roadrunner lead to 35-24 with 1:25 left in the third quarter. 

UTSA was able to put the game away with two touchdowns and a field goal in the fourth quarter — all of those points unanswered.

The Roadrunners (2-2) will open conference play Friday night, when they travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to take on a Middle Tennessee State team (3-1) that upset No. 25 Miami on Saturday afternoon.

Stephen Whitaker has been covering UTSA athletics since the fall of 2008. He is a 2013 graduate of UTSA.