The UTSA Roadrunners are preparing to take on the Houston Cougars in the season-opener on Saturday.
• UTSA will open its 13th season of play, fourth under head coach Jeff Traylor and first as a member of the American Athletic Conference on Saturday at Houston.
• The Roadrunners and Cougars, who left The American for the Big 12 Conference this summer, will meet in a season opener for the second straight and third time overall.
• Houston leads the series, 2-1, after outlasting the Roadrunners, 37-35, in triple overtime last year at the Alamodome.
• UTSA won the only previous meeting in Houston with a 27-7 decision on Aug. 29, 2014, in the first game played at TDECU Stadium.
• The Roadrunners are 30-10 under Jeff Traylor, including a 23-5 mark over the last two seasons, the fourth-best win total among FBS teams during that span behind only Georgia (29), Michigan (25) and Alabama (24).
• UTSA is receiving 64 votes in the AP Top 25 and 59 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.
• The Roadrunners have won three of their last four season openers and are 9-3 all-time.
• UTSA is 32-19 versus teams from the state of Texas.
• The Roadrunners are 4-2 in games played in the city of Houston.
• The Greater Houston Area is home to 26 current Roadrunners.
SETTING THE SCENE
UTSA will open the 13th season in program history on Saturday, Sept. 2, against Houston. Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. at TEECU Stadium and the game will air on FS1 and KTKR-AM Ticket 760. The Roadrunners — who are receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll — and the Cougars are meeting in both teams’ season opener for the second straight and third time overall. Houston outlasted UTSA, 37-35, in triple overtime on Sept. 3, 2022, at the Alamodome in the last meeting, while the Roadrunners scored a 27-7 road victory on Aug. 29, 2014, in the first game played at TDECU Stadium. The matchup pits teams playing their first game as a member of a new league with UTSA moving from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference and Houston leaving The America to join the Big 12 Conference.
Frank Harris passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another, but Clayton Tune threw for 206 yards and three TDs and scored on an 8-yard two-point conversion in the third overtime to lift Houston to a 37-35 victory on Sept. 3, 2022, in front of 37,526 fans at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners built a 21-7 lead that lasted into the fourth quarter, but the Cougars rallied to tie things up with 12:26 left to play. Houston then took a 24-21 lead in the final minute after a Bubba Baxa 35-yard field goal. Harris then marched UTSA 55 yards down the field in less than 20 seconds, keyed by a 25-yard completion over the middle to Oscar Cardenas that set up Jared Sackett’s 37-yard field that knotted the score as time expired. Both teams settled for field goals in the first overtime to send the game into a second extra period tied at 27-27. Tune found the end zone on a 1-yard keeper and then connected with Nathaniel Dell on the required 2-point conversion attempt to make it 35-27. The Roadrunners answered with a 13-yard TD catch by De’Corian Clark followed by a Harris plunge to paydirt that forced triple overtime, which consists of alternating two-point conversion attempts. UTSA’s boisterous crowd helped forced a false start on Houston, but Tune scrambled to his right and dove into the end zone to put the visitors up by two. The Roadrunners had one more shot to tie it up, but the pass sailed out of bounds, as Houston held on to hand UTSA its first loss in a season opener at home and first setback in a season lid-lifter since 2018.
UTSA has won three of its last four and is 9-3 all-time in season openers. The Roadrunners defeated UIW 35-7 in the 2019 season opener, outlasted Texas State 51-48 in double overtime three years ago in Jeff Traylor’s debut and upended Illinois 37-30 in 2021 before dropping a 36-35 triple-overtime decision to No. 24 Houston last year. Saturday’s matchup with Houston is the third time the two teams have faced off in a season opener. The Roadrunners were slated to open the 2017 campaign versus Houston, but Hurricane Harvey forced that game to be canceled. This also marks the third time in the last four years and ninth time overall that UTSA will open a season on the road.
UTSA in Season Openers (9-3)
Date Opponent Score
Sept. 3, 2011 Northeastern State W, 31-3
Sept. 1, 2012 at South Alabama W, 33-31
Aug. 31, 2013 at New Mexico W, 21-13
Aug. 29, 2014 at Houston W, 27-7
Sept. 3, 2015 at #22 Arizona L, 32-42
Sept. 3, 2016 Alabama State W, 26-13
Sept. 9, 2017 at Baylor W, 17-10
Sept. 1, 2018 at Arizona State L, 7-49
Aug. 31, 2019 UIW W, 35-7
Sept. 12, 2020 at Texas State W, 51-48 (2OT)
Sept. 4, 2021 at Illinois W, 37-30
Sept. 3, 2022 #24 Houston L, 35-37 (3OT)
Saturday’s matchup at Houston will mark the ninth time UTSA has opened a season on the road. The Roadrunners are 6-2 in such contests and have won their past two with the 51-48 double-overtime victory at Texas State in 2020 and the 37-30 triumph over Illinois the following year. Overall, UTSA has won three consecutive road openers under Jeff Traylor after the 41-38 overtime victory at Army in the second game last season to move to 7-5 all-time.
UTSA VERSUS IN-STATE FOES
The Roadrunners are 32-19 all-time against teams from the state of Texas including a 12-3 mark under third-year head coach Jeff Traylor. Houston will mark the first of four opponents from the Lone Star State on the 2023 schedule, joining Texas State (Sept. 9), North Texas (Nov. 4) and Rice (Nov. 11).
UTSA vs. Texas teams
1-2 vs. Baylor
1-2 vs. Houston
1-0 vs. Lamar
0-1 vs. McMurry
6-5 vs. North Texas
7-3 vs. Rice
0-1 vs. Sam Houston
1-0 vs. Stephen F. Austin
0-1 vs. Texas
0-2 vs. Texas A&M
1-0 vs. Texas A&M-Commerce
1-0 vs. Texas Southern
4-0 vs. Texas State
1-0 vs. UIW
8-2 vs. UTEP