Frank Harris passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns and Dadrian Taylor registered a pair of sacks, as UTSA held off UNLV 24-17 to equal the best start in program history on Saturday at the Alamodome.
The Roadrunners built a 24-10 second-half lead but had to hold off the Rebels (0-5) in the final minute, using a sack from DeQuarius Henry and Clarence Hicks on fourth down to seal the win and match the 2012 team’s 5-0 start as the best in school history. UTSA’s eighth win in the last nine games also improved second-year head coach Jeff Traylor to 12-5.
Harris completed 24 of 30 passes in logging his third 200-yard passing game of the year. Joshua Cephus was his favorite target, catching eight passes for 84 yards and a TD, while De’Corian Clark recorded his first 100-yard receiving game with 109 yards and a score on seven receptions. Sincere McCormick added 89 rushing yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s two sacks led a six-sack night for the UTSA defense, which posted nine total tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Shiner native had seven total stops, five solo.
Rashad Wisdom led all Roadrunners with eight tackles, while Antonio Parks and Jamal Ligon turned in six tackles apiece to help the defense hold UNLV to 35 rushing yards, the fourth straight game holding an opponent to fewer than 100 yards on the ground.
Clark hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone with 2:55 left in the third quarter to stake UTSA to a 14-point advantage.
However, UNLV pulled within one score with 6:46 remaining in the game after Justin Rogers avoided pressure on fourth down and found Zyell Griffin open in the end zone for a 9-yard scoring connection.
The Roadrunners had a chance to go back up by two scores but a 45-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right, giving the ball back to the visitors with 1:34 on the clock.
The Rebels marched to the UTSA 36-yard line, but three straight incompletions set up fourth down and nine. Cameron Friel scrambled right but was sacked by Henry and Hicks for a nine-yard loss to secure the win.
Friel threw for 307 yards and a TD on 25-of-37 passing, while Steve Jenkins had a game-high 114 receiving yards and a score on five catches to lead UNLV.
The two teams traded touchdown passes in the opening quarter. Harris found Cephus open over the middle for a 9-yard score to put the Roadrunners on the board first, capping a 14-play, 92-yard drive. The Rebels responded with a 63-yard TD pass from Friel to Jenkins on the first play of the ensuing possession.
UNLV took its first lead of the day on a 34-yard field goal by Dani Gutierrez with nine minutes remaining in the first half, only to see UTSA knot the score at 10-all on a 25-yard field goal by Hunter Duplessis.
The Roadrunners took a 17-10 lead into the locker room after 1-yard scoring plunge by McCormick right before the break.
The Roadrunners will hit the road to face WKU next Saturday, Oct. 9. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in Bowling Green, Ky.