The UTSA Roadrunners look to rebound after their loss to Army when they travel to Tennessee to play the Volunteers on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Central.
• UTSA will face Tennessee for the first time on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville.
• The Roadrunners are 3-0 in games played in the state of Tennessee, beating Middle Tennessee in 2016 (45-25) and 2022 (45-30) and rallying for a 31-28 victory at Memphis in 2021.
• This will mark UTSA’s third game against a team from the Southeastern Conference, as the Roadrunners previously have faced Texas A&M in 2016 and 2019.
• The Roadrunners will face a nationally ranked team for the 13th time on Saturday when they play No. 23/20 Tennessee. UTSA is 0-12 all-time against ranked squads, including 0-11 versus top-25 FBS teams.
• With a listed capacity of 101,915 at Neyland Stadium, UTSA could play in front of 100,000-plus fans for the fourth time in the program’s 13-year history.
• UTSA is 5-7 all-time in games played in the Eastern time zone.
• The Roadrunners are 31-12 under Jeff Traylor, including a 24-7 mark dating back to the 2021 season, tied with Cincinnati for the fifth-best win total among FBS teams during that span behind only Georgia (32), Michigan (28), Alabama (26) and Ohio State (25).
SETTING THE SCENE
UTSA will close out the nonconference slate on Saturday, Sept. 23, against No. 23/20 Tennessee. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Central time at Neyland Stadium and the game will be televised on SEC Network. The Roadrunners dropped to 1-2 on the year following a 37-29 setback to Army West Point on Friday night at the Alamodome. The Volunteers fell to 2-1 after a 29-16 road loss at Florida on Saturday night. This will mark the first meeting between the two teams and UTSA’s fourth trip to the state of Tennessee, where they own a 3-0 record after wins at Memphis in 2021 and at Middle Tennessee in 2016 and last season. The Roadrunners will face a ranked team for the 13th time in program history on Saturday in Knoxville.
This weekend will be a homecoming for a pair of Roadrunners from the Volunteer State. Senior wide receiver Tykee Ogle-Kellogg hails from Alcoa, which is only 15 miles from Neyland Stadium. He was the 2016 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards Class 3A Player of the Year and an all-state performer for Alcoa High School. Meanwhile, Martavius French started his collegiate career at Tennessee in 2020 but did not appear in any games for the Volunteers. The Memphis native was an all-state performer at Whitehaven High School.
ROADRUNNERS VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS
The Roadrunners will play their 13th game against a nationally ranked opponent when they face Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville. The Volunteers are ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press Top 25 and 20th in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll. UTSA is 0-12 all-time against ranked foes, including 0-11 versus top 25 FBS teams.
The Volunteers fell to 2-1 on the season with a 29-16 road setback to Florida. Tennessee opened the campaign with a 49-13 victory over Virginia and registered a 30-13 home triumph over Austin Peay on Sept. 9 before suffering its first loss of the season last Saturday in Gainesville. The Volunteers are averaging 31.7 points and 447.3 yards of offense per game while allowing 18.3 points and 296.3 yards per contest. Joe Milton III has completed 62 of 97 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns against only one interception. Jaylen Wright is the leading rusher with 296 yards on 41 attempts (7.2 ypc), while Squirrel White (13-143), Bru McCoy (12-166) and Ramel Keyton (11-157) are the top pass catchers. Defensively, Wesley Walker has 13 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack, while Tyler Baron has recorded 3.5 TFLs and three sacks. Head coach Josh Heupel is 20-9 in his third year at the helm.
Saturday will mark the first meeting on the gridiron between UTSA and Tennessee. The Roadrunners have faced one other team from the Southeastern Conference in Texas A&M, dropping both contests, 23-10, on Nov. 19, 2016, and 45-14, on Nov. 2, 2019, in College Station. UTSA is 3-0 all-time in games played in the state of Tennessee, winning both matchups with Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, 45-25 on Nov. 5, 2016, and 45-30, on Sept. 30, 2022, as well as rallying for a 31-28 victory at Memphis on Sept. 25, 2021.
Now in their 13th season of play, the Roadrunners will play the 150th game in program history on Saturday when they face Tennessee. UTSA is 76-73 all-time and 44-30 on the road. By comparison, Tennessee has been playing football since 1891 and owns six national championships and an all-time record of 869-410-53, tied with USC for the 10th-most wins in FBS history.
PLAYING IN FRONT OF 100K
Neyland Stadium has a listed capacity of 101,915, which means UTSA could play in front of 100,000-plus fans for the fourth time in the program’s 13-year history. Last September, the Roadrunners faced Texas with 102,520 fans in attendance at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. UTSA also has played in front of more than 100,000 in both previous meetings with Texas A&M on Nov. 19, 2016 (102,502) and on Nov. 2, 2019 (100,635) at Kyle Field.
ON EASTERN TIME
The Roadrunners will play a game in the Eastern time zone for the first time this season and 13th time in program history when they face Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville. UTSA is 5-7 all-time in games played in the Eastern time zone with road wins against Georgia State in 2012 in Atlanta, Charlotte in 2015, Old Dominion in 2019, Army West Point in 2022 and FIU in 2022.
LAST TIME OUT
Eddie Lee Marburger passed for 239 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start and Martavius French posted a career-high 10 tackles, but Army West Point held off a second-half UTSA rally in a 37-29 decision last Friday night in front of 27,138 fans at the Alamodome. The Black Knights (2-1) built an early 14-0 lead and kept the Roadrunners (1-2) at bay by using a 44:25-15:35 edge in time of possession, running 83 offensive plays compared to 49 for UTSA and rushing for 254 yards on an opponent-record 65 attempts. Marburger completed 17 of 25 passes in his first career start for the injured Frank Harris, finding seven different receivers paced by Joshua Cephus’ eight catches for 84 yards. Facing a 20-7 deficit with time running out in the first half, Marburger and Tykee Ogle-Kellogg connected on a 46-yard, Hail Mary pass to make it a one-score contest at the break. Army kicker Quinn Maretzki drilled his third field goal of the night from 36 yards to make it 23-14 at the 9:13 mark of the third quarter. UTSA answered when Cephus turned a short screen pass into a 44-yard scoring play. Chase Allen’s extra point pulled the home team within 23-21 with 7:04 left in the third. However, the Black Knights covered 80 yards in only two plays, a 55-yard pass from Markel Johnson to Isaiah Alston on a trick play followed by a 25-yard TD catch by Noah Short, to push the lead back out to nine less than one minute later. Army increased its advantage to 16 when Bryson Daily scored on a 3-yard quarterback keeper with 6:45 left to play, only to have UTSA respond quickly on a 72-yard touchdown catch by true freshman Devin McCuin. Marburger then found McCuin open for a successful two-point conversion to make it 37-29 with just over six minutes to play. UTSA’s defense came through with a three-and-out on the next possession, forcing a punt. However, Army returned the favor with a sack on a third-down play to force a UTSA punt. The Black Knights then ran out the clock with a pair of first downs to secure the victory.