On Saturday, the UTSA Roadrunners brought their patented 'Triangle of Toughness,' to Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, providing an early punch while delving into their bag of tricks early. However, despite the Jeff Traylor-led squad's best effort, the Longhorns were able to ride the wave, ultimately delivering the counterpunch knockout with a 41-20 victory.
Shortly after the start of the second quarter, already with a 10-7 lead over the Longhorns after quarterback Frank Harris had been picking apart the defense with short, quick throws, Jeff Traylor decided to roll the dice with a surprise onside kick. The Roadrunners were able to recover the kick and then dove deeper into their bag of tricks with a running back pass, as Brenden Brady found Zakhari Franklin on a 35-yard touchdown pass, which was misplayed by Texas's secondary. With UTSA's lead being extended to 17-7 with 9:36 left in the second quarter, the momentum swung in a big way... ironically in favor of the Longhorns. In fact, following this play, the Longhorns outscored the Roadrunners 34-3.
Seemingly putting the team on his back, Texas running back Bijan Robinson found his way to the end zone on three separate occasions, including one 78-yard touchdown rush with 11:56 left in the third quarter. Battling a shoulder injury, Robinson had gotten off to a slow start on Saturday, however the junior tailback found a way to ultimately rush for 183 yards on the night. Additionally, with Robinson's performance against UTSA, the Longhorn running back eclipsed the 2,000 career rushing yard mark.
Although the Texas defense had its fair share of miscues, including multiple missed tackles in the secondary which extended drives for the Roadrunners, it came up big when it needed to. With a four-point lead heading into the end of the third quarter, Texas defensive back Jahdae Barron capitalized on an errant pass and recorded a pick-six touchdown for the Longhorns with just 18 seconds left in the quarter. This defensive play ended up being the pivotal moment in the contest as it just about ended any chance that the Roadrunners had of staying competitive. Following Barron's interception, the Longhorns piled on the points with a Bijan Robinson rushing touchdown and a Bert Auburn field goal, his second of the game.
In addition to Texas's stellar game on the ground (the team rushed for 298 total yards), the Longhorns were aided by UTSA's self-inflicted wounds as the Roadrunners shot themselves in the foot time and time again with pre-snap penalties. Texas's defense was also impacted by the officials as DeMarvion Overshown was flagged for targeting after sacking UTSA quarterback Frank Harris, which would have ended their drive. As a result, the Longhorns will have to appeal this call in hopes to have Overshown available for the entirety of next weekend's game against Texas Tech, instead of just having him available for the second half.
While the Roadrunners were not able to exit Austin with a win, they certainly will have opened some eyes after their performance. Other than Harris's crucial interception, the senior quarterback had out-passed the Longhorns with 222 yards through the air and a 116.1 QBR. Moreover, the surprise onside kick caught the Longhorns off guard and set up UTSA in a great position to take advantage. Ultimately, UTSA failed to muster enough magic in the second half and they paid the price for it.
Although the team was able to regroup after suffering several blows early from the Roadrunners, it is important that the Longhorns do not adopt the habit of finding themselves in a hole early. Following the game, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian discussed the need for his team to remain motivated regardless of the opponent and that they be "thermostats," and not "thermometers." This mentality will be needed next weekend, when the Longhorns will travel to Lubbock to open up conference play against in a rowdy atmosphere. Next Saturday's game against Texas Tech will kickoff at 2:30 P.M (CT) and be aired nationally on ESPN.
- QB Hudson Card: 15/23, 161 passing yards, 1 TD
- RB Bijan Robinson: 20 carries, 183 rushing yards, 3 TDs
- RB Roschon Johnson: 11 carries, 81 rushing yards, 23 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
- LB Jaylan Ford: 15 tackles, 1 FF
- DB Jahdae Barron: 6 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD