UTSA Registers First Bowl Win With 35-17 Victory Over Marshall

Scooter's Coffee Frisco Bowl - UTSA v Marshall

Photo: Sam Hodde / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Joshua Cephus caught seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and Kam Alexander had a 57-yard interception to help seal a 35-17 victory for UTSA over Marshall in the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl, as the Roadrunners registered the program’s first bowl on Tuesday night at Toyota Stadium. 

The Roadrunners found themselves trailing 14-0 early in the contest, but they outscored the Thundering Herd, 35-3, the rest of the way to improve to 1-4 all-time in bowl games.  

Cephus and Alexander, who also broke up a pair of passes and had a tackle for a loss, were named Offensive and Defensive MVP, respectively, to help UTSA finish head coach Jeff Traylor’s fourth season with a 9-4 record, the third consecutive year with nine or more victories.  

Cephus’s output sent him past Zakhari Franklin to the top of UTSA’s single-season receiving yardage list, as the senior from Houston wrapped up his final campaign with 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns on 89 catches, pushing his career-record totals to 313 receptions and 3,639 yards to go with 28 TDs. 

UTSA piled up 386 yards of offense behind Cephus and the arm of redshirt freshman quarterback Owen McCown, who made his first start as a Roadrunner in the place of the injured Frank Harris. McCown completed 22 of 31 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 38 yards. 

Meanwhile, the defense held the Thundering Herd (6-7) to 367 yards, including only 109 rushing. Ken Robinson paced the unit with seven tackles, including one of nine stops behind the line of scrimmage for the Roadrunners, who finished with a school record 99 on the year. UTSA also came up with six sacks on the night to push the season total to 46, breaking the previous school standard set in 2021 by 13. 

Jamal Ligon added six tackles, including four assisted stops to make him the program’s all-time leader with 148. Martavius French and Kelechi Nwachuku pitched in with five tackles apiece, while Nick Booker-Brown posted a pair of tackles for loss, including a sack. 

Marshall took advantage of an interception deep in UTSA territory to get on the board first. Eli Neal picked off a pass that was broken up by Ahmere Foster and returned it to the UTSA 7-yard line. Two plays later, Ethan Payne found the end zone to give the Thundering Herd the early lead. 

The Herd pushed their lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter when Rasheen Ali broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown scamper down the left sideline. 

UTSA stormed back to tie things up at 14-all with a touchdown on back-to-back possession. 

Owen McCown connected with Tykee Ogle-Kellogg on a 41-yard pass down the left sideline to set up Robert Henry for a 3-yard TD plunge to get the Roadrunners on the board at the 11:26 mark of the second quarter. 

On UTSA’s next possession, McCown found Joshua Cephus open for a short pass that the senior wide receiver turned into a 44-yard scoring play. Chase Allen’s extra point knotted the score at 14-14 with 8:53 left in the half. 

Marshall reclaimed the lead on a 44-yard field goal by Rece Verhoff but the Roadrunners took a 21-17 advantage into the locker room after Henry’s second TD of the night, a 1-yard rush that capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive. 

UTSA struck again at the 4:49 mark of the third quarter when David Amador II recorded his first career touchdown on a 19-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline one play after a touchdown pass to Tykee Ogle-Kellogg was called back due to a penalty. 

Alexander’s 57-yard interception return helped provide the final margin, as his second pick of the season stopped a Marshall drive deep in UTSA territory and set up Rocko Griffin’s 17-yard touchdown run on the next play. Allen’s extra point made it 35-17 with 8:39 left to play. 

Cole Pennington threw for 258 yards on 15-of-33 passing to lead Marshall’s offense. Jayden Harrison caught six passes for 132 yards, while Ali rushed for 92 yards on only nine carries. 

The Roadrunners will open the 2024 season on Aug. 31 at home against Kennesaw State. 

Scooter's Coffee Frisco Bowl - UTSA v Marshall

Head coach Jeff Traylor of the UTSA Roadrunners celebrates with his team after they scored a touchdown during the second half of the Frisco Bowl against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Toyota Stadium on December 19, 2023 in Frisco, Texas. Photo: Sam Hodde / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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