The University of Texas at San Antonio improved to 5-0 for the second time in school history with a 24-17 win Saturday over the University of Nevada Las Vegas. This marks UTSA’s best start to a season since the team started 5-0 in 2012. 

The Roadrunners took a 24-10 lead into the fourth quarter against the winless Rebels, but UNLV scored on Justin Rogers’ 9-yard pass to wide receiver Zyell Griffin to cut the lead to 7 points with 6:43 to play in the Alamodome. The UTSA defense helped preserve the win in the game’s final minute with a fourth-down sack of quarterback Cameron Friel by linebackers Clarence Hicks and DeQuarius Henry, ending the Rebels’ last-chance drive. 

“You have to win these kinds of games to get to the other side,” UTSA Head Coach Jeff Traylor said. “… We did a lot of good things. We can’t get so harped up on the few bad, we did a lot of good stuff too.”

The Roadrunners offense put up 382 total yards and the defense forced three turnovers. Quarterback Frank Harris completed 24 of 30 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver De’Corian Clark had seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. 

“There’s nothing better than being home, and you get to play in front of your fans and they’re all in it, just like we’re all in it. There’s no better feeling,” linebacker Dadrian Taylor said. “You just want to step up to the plate and deliver it any chance you get.” 

UTSA linebacker Trevor Harmanson (15) and safety Kelechi Nwachuku (11) pressure UNLV quarterback Cameron Friel (7) at the Alamodome on Saturday. Credit: Nick Wagner / San Antonio Report

Wide receiver Steve Jenkins led the way for UNLV with five catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. The Rebels had 351 yards of total offense, and Friel completed 25 of 37 passes for 307 yards and a touchdown, but he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

The Roadrunners got on the board first with a 92-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Harris to wide receiver Joshua Cephus. The Rebels answered on the next play with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Friel to wide receiver Steve Jenkins.  After both teams traded field goals, UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen intercepted Friel’s pass to give the Roadrunners the ball on the UNLV 49-yard line. The Roadrunners capitalized on the favorable field position with a touchdown by running back Sincere McCormick on fourth down at the 1-yard line to make the score 17-10 at halftime. 

Another interception with 4:18 left in the third quarter by sophomore safety Jahmal Sam led to a 31-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Clark to stretch the lead to 24-10 before the Rebels mounted their comeback attempt in the fourth quarter.

“It [starting 5-0] means a lot to us, we’re going to enjoy the moment for tonight and then tomorrow after we watch the film, we have to learn from it,” Harris said. 

UTSA was without star wide receiver Zakhari Franklin due to an undisclosed injury.

The announced attendance at the Alamdome was 20,154. The Roadrunners are back on the road next week as they travel to Western Kentucky (1-3) for a Conference USA matchup.

Alejandro Martinez

Alejandro Martinez is a San Antonian studying finance at the University of Texas at San Antonio.