Frank Harris returned to the lineup to throw for 338 yards and three touchdowns to help lead UTSA to a 49-34 victory over Temple in the Roadrunners’ inaugural American Athletic Conference game on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
Harris completed 25 of 33 passes to help the Roadrunners pile up season highs of 49 points and 495 yards of offense to improve to 2-3 on the season and a perfect 3-0 in conference debuts. UTSA also ran its record to 8-4 all-time on league openers and 21-3 in regular season conference games under fourth-year head coach Jeff Traylor.
Harris, who topped 10,000 career passing yards, tossed passes to six different receivers paced by Joshua Cephus’ seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. The senior from Houston tied Zakhari Franklin’s career receptions mark of 262 and he now owns 2,874 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns as a Roadrunner.
Devin McCuin hauled in six passes for 94 yards and a TD, Oscar Cardenas caught five balls for 51 yards and Tykee Ogle-Kellogg had three receptions for 83 yards and a score.
On the ground, Robert Henry rushed for 78 yards and two TDs on only 11 carries, while Kevorian Barnes added 62 yards and a score on 11 totes.
Defensively, Martavius French led the way with 10 tackles, while Avery Morris logged a career-high nine stops. Ken Robinson made seven tackles, while Kam Alexander and Jimmori Robinson recorded six stops apiece.
The Owls scored on their opening possession, marching 75 yards in 14 plays with E.J. Warner connecting with David Martin-Robinson for a 7-yard touchdown pass to cap a drive that took 6:43 off the clock.
Following a three-and-out by UTSA, the Roadrunners came up with their second takeaway of the season when Dywan Griffin stripped the ball loose from Joquez Smith and Brandon Brown recovered it near midfield. Three plays later, Barnes found paydirt from 14 yards out on a quick drive that was keyed by a 36-yard pass from Harris to McCuin.
Temple answered on the ensuing possession as David-Robinson hauled in his second TD pass of the day, this one for 33 yards to put the home team up 14-7 late in the opening frame.
UTSA scored on back-to-back drives to take a 21-14 lead at the 10:17 mark of the second stanza. Harris found Cephus open in the end zone on a 17-yard pass to put an exclamation point on an 11-play, 65-yard march. The defense then forced a punt and UTSA drove 57 yards on seven snaps, the last a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Harris to give the Roadrunners their first lead of the afternoon.
The Owls tied things up again with a 31-yard touchdown pass on a flea-flicker from Warner to John Adams with 6:14 left until halftime.
The Roadrunners reclaimed the lead thanks to a second takeaway of the half when Jimmori Robinson’s strip-sack led to a fumble recovery by Ronald Triplette at the Temple 6-yard line. On the next play, Robert Henry dashed six yards up the middle, while Chase Allen’s extra point made it 28-21 with three minutes remaining until the break.
Temple threatened to trim the deficit just before halftime but Camden Price’s 41-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
UTSA wasted little time extending the lead to start the second half, as Ogle-Kellogg hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Harris over the middle to help make it 35-21 in favor of the visitors to cap a six-play, 92-yard drive to open the third quarter.
The Owls pulled within one score early in the fourth quarter when Warner found Peter Clarke open in the end zone on a fourth-and-goal play from the 2-yard line. Temple chose to go for two points and was stopped short of the goal line, leaving the score at 35-27 with 10:15 on the clock.
The Roadrunners responded on the next drive, as Henry broke loose for a 43-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to two scores, 42-27.
Temple scored again on a 13-yard touchdown reception by Smith with 6:29 left to play, but UTSA iced it with a 29-yard TD catch by McCuin followed by a defensive stop in the red zone in the final minutes.
Warner threw for 472 yards and five touchdowns on 42-of-65 passing to help the Owls tally 542 yards of offense. Adams had 10 catches for 127 yards and Martin-Robinson piled up 112 yards on eight receptions.
The Roadrunners will return home to host UAB next Saturday, Oct. 14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Alamodome