UTSA Prepares For Western Kentucky

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Fresh off their win over Middle Tennessee, the UTSA Roadrunners are preparing to tangle with Western Kentucky on Saturday night.

Here's some information to get you ready for the big game:

Opening drive 

• UTSA and Western Kentucky will face off in what will be a rematch of the 2021 Conference USA Championship Game won by the Roadrunners 49-41 last Dec. 3 at the Alamodome. 

• The Roadrunners and Hilltoppers will meet for the fourth time overall and third time in the last year. 

• UTSA leads the series 2-1 after winning both matchups in 2021. 

• The Roadrunners are 13-3 in C-USA games under third-year head coach Jeff Traylor. 

• UTSA has won 11 of its last 12 home games and is 13-2 at the Alamodome in the Jeff Traylor era.  

• The Roadrunners have won 18 of their last 23 contests dating back to November 2020. 

• UTSA is 22-9 under Jeff Traylor, the best record for a head coach through 31 games in program history. 

• UTSA has drawn 30,000-plus fans to four of the last five home games, including 41,148 for the 2021 C-USA Championship Game versus WKU. 

• Senior quarterback Frank Harris leads the FBS in total offense (383.4 ypg). 


Setting the scene 

Winners of two straight games, UTSA will host Western Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff in the rematch of the 2021 Conference USA Championship Game is set for 5 p.m. at the Alamodome and the game will air live on ESPN+ and Ticket 760 AM. This will mark the fourth matchup between the Roadrunners and Hilltoppers, and it is the third time in the last year that the two teams will meet. The two teams enter Saturday’s contest with identical overall (3-2) and conference (1-0) records. 


Tuning in 

Saturday’s game will air on ESPN+ and is available on WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app. Lincoln Rose (play-by-play) and LaDarrin McLane (analyst) have the call. The contest will air live on Ticket 760 AM in the San Antonio area. Andy Everett (play-by-play), Jay Riley (analyst) and Pat Evans (reporter) will call the action. The pregame show will begin at 3 p.m. and there will be a 45-minute postgame show. The radio broadcast also can be heard online at Ticket760.com and via the iHeartRadio and The Varsity Network apps. 


Championship rematch 

UTSA and Western Kentucky will meet for the first time since the two teams squared off in the 2021 Conference USA Championship Game on Dec. 3 at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners built a 29-point lead and held off the Hilltoppers in the final seconds in a 49-41 victory to secure their first conference title. UTSA drew the third-largest home crowd in program history for that matchup, as 41,148 fans packed the Alamodome to see the Roadrunners win their second meeting of the season against WKU. 


Home Sweet Dome 

UTSA has been tough to beat at the Alamodome during the Jeff Traylor era. The Roadrunners have won 11 of their last 12 home contests and are 13-2 at the facility under the third-year head coach. UTSA reeled off a school-record 10-game win streak that started with a 27-26 victory over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 24, 2020, and ran through the 49-41 win against Western Kentucky in the 2021 Conference USA Championship Game on Dec. 3 before it was snapped in triple overtime against No. 24 Houston in the 2022 season opener on Sept. 3. The Roadrunners are 39-29 all-time in the Alamodome. 


Packing the Dome 

UTSA fans have packed the Alamodome during the last year, as three of the program’s seven-largest home crowds have been recorded during that span of time. The final three home contests of last season all topped the 30,000-fan plateau, and the Roadrunners drew 37,526 for the 2022 season opener versus Houston on Sept. 3. On Nov. 20, 2021, a total of 35,147 fans saw the Roadrunners pull out a 34-31 thriller against UAB to claim the Conference USA West Division title. Two weeks later, UTSA secured its first league crown with a 49-41 triumph over Western Kentucky in front of 41,148 fans, the third-largest crowd for a UTSA game at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners also beat Southern Miss in front of 30,105 fans on Nov. 13 and led C-USA in average home attendance last fall with an average of 26,643 for seven home games. UTSA set NCAA modern startup program records in its first season by drawing 56,743 fans to the inaugural game against Northeastern State on Sept. 3, 2011, and by averaging 35,521 fans for six home contests that season.  


UTSA’s Top 10 Home Crowds 

Attendance      Date                 Opponent 

56,743             9/3/11             Northeastern State 

42,071             9/8/18             Baylor 

41,148             12/3/21           Western Kentucky 

40,977             9/7/13             Oklahoma State 

39,032             11/24/12         Texas State 

37,526             9/3/22             Houston 

35,147             11/20/21         UAB 

33,517             9/24/11           Bacone 

33,472             9/4/14             Arizona 

32,886             10/8/11           South Alabama 


Traylor successful in league play 

UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has experienced immediate success in league games during his time in San Antonio. The 2021 Conference USA Coach of the Year has guided the Roadrunners to 13 wins in 16 conference games during his tenure. Last season, Traylor led UTSA to a 7-1 league mark and the program’s first-ever league crown with a 49-41 victory over Western Kentucky in the C-USA Championship Game. The Roadrunners registered a 5-2 record in C-USA play in Traylor’s first season at the helm in 2020. 


Who’s counting? 

Now in their 12th season of play, the Roadrunners will play the 138th game in program history on Saturday when they face Western Kentucky. UTSA is 67-70 all-time and 39-29 at the Alamodome.  By comparison, WKU has been playing football since 1913 and owns an all-time record of 599-419-31. 


Scouting Western Kentucky 

The Hilltoppers dropped to 3-2 overall after a 34-27 home loss to Troy last Saturday. Western Kentucky, which is 1-0 in league play after shutting out FIU 73-0 on Sept. 24, is averaging 43.4 points and 501.0 yards of offense per game while allowing 22.2 points and 352.6 yards per contest. Austin Reed has completed 144 of 200 passes for 1,669 yards and 17 touchdowns and his favorite target is Daewood Davis, who has 34 receptions for 476 yards and four scores. Kye Robichaux paces the ground game with 315 rushing yards and a TD on 47 carries. Defensively, JaQues Evans has registered 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and a pair of quarterback hurries, while Kaleb Oliver and Upton Stout have a pair of interceptions apiece. Head coach Tyson Helton is in his fourth season at the helm and owns a 26-17 record in Bowling Green. 


Series history 

Saturday will mark the fourth meeting between UTSA and Western Kentucky and the third time in the last year that the two teams will face off. UTSA swept both matchups last season with a 52-46 win on Oct. 9 in Bowling Green and a 49-41 triumph in the C-USA Championship Game on Dec. 3 at the Alamodome. The Hilltoppers scored a 45-7 home victory in the inaugural meeting on Nov. 22, 2014. 


UTSA/WKU Series History 

Date                 Location                       Score 

11/22/14         Bowling Green             L, 7-45 

10/9/21           Bowling Green             W, 52-46 

12/3/21           San Antonio                 W, 49-41 


Last Meeting 

Sincere McCormick rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns and Jahmal Sam intercepted a pass as time expired to help lead UTSA to a 49-41 victory over WKU in the 2021 Ryan Conference USA Championship Game on Dec. 3 in front of 41,118 fans at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners captured their first conference title in beating the Hilltoppers for the second time in 2021. McCormick’s 200-yard game came on 36 carries, and a 218-yard, two-touchdown night from quarterback Frank Harris helped propel an offense that piled up 556 yards. Meanwhile, Sam had one of two interceptions and three takeaways, as Donyai Taylor recovered a muffed punt and Antonio Parks picked off a pass on back-to-back possessions early in the second half to help UTSA build a 29-point advantage. UTSA’s defense held the Hilltoppers to a C-USA Championship-Game record minus-9 rushing yards. 


Last time out 

Frank Harris passed for a school-record 414 yards and Jamal Ligon registered a season-high 10 tackles to lead UTSA to a 45-30 victory over Middle Tennessee in the Conference USA opener for both teams on Friday night at Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium. The defending conference champion Roadrunners ran their record to 3-2 on the season while piling up 590 yards of offense against the Blue Raiders, who fell to 3-2 and 0-1. Harris completed 27 of 36 passes and tossed two touchdowns while also rushing for 31 yards and a pair of scores to break his own program records for passing yardage and total offense set less than one week earlier against Texas Southern. The senior from Schertz Clemens High School also became the program’s career leader in passing yards with 7,017, surpassing Eric Soza’s school standard of 6,952 set from 2011 to 2013. He completed passes to eight different receivers, led by De’Corian Clark’s eight receptions for 139 yards. Joshua Cephus hauled in seven passes for 91 yards and Zakhari Franklin had 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns on five catches. Meanwhile, Brenden Brady nearly reached the century mark on the ground, rushing for 98 yards and a key 25-yard TD in the fourth quarter that provided the final margin to help UTSA churn out a season-best 167 rushing yards. Ligon paced a UTSA defense with double digit tackles including four solo stops, while Kelechi Nwachuku and Trevor Harmanson registered eight and seven tackles, respectively. The Roadrunners limited the Blue Raiders to only 84 rushing yards and came up with four tackles for loss, including a 10-yard sack by Trey Moore. 


UTSA improves in conference openers 

The Roadrunners improved to 7-4 all-time in conference openers, including 6-4 as a member of Conference USA, following the 45-30 road triumph over Middle Tennessee last Friday night. UTSA has come out on top in three straight and four of its last five league lid-lifters, beating Middle Tennessee 37-35 in 2020 and 27-13 last season and also scoring a 30-21 decision over UTEP in 2018. The Roadrunners now are 6-3 in conference openers that have been played in the month of September. 


UTSA’s Conference Openers (7-4) 

Date                 Opponent                                Result 

9/29/12           at New Mexico State                 W, 35-14 

9/21/13           at UTEP                                     W, 32-13 

9/27/14           at Florida Atlantic                     L, 37-41 

10/3/15           at UTEP                                     W, 25-6 

9/24/16           at Old Dominion                       L, 19-33 

10/7/17           Southern Miss                          L, 29-31 

9/29/18           UTEP                                        W, 30-21 

9/21/19           at North Texas                          L, 3-45 

9/25/20           Middle Tennessee                    W, 37-35 

9/18/21           Middle Tennessee                    W, 27-13 

9/30/22           at Middle Tennessee                W, 45-30 

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