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Undefeated No. 22 UTSA gears up to face UAB in showdown

Nov 13, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; UTSA Roadrunners tight end Leroy Watson (1) runs in for a touchdown in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; UTSA Roadrunners tight end Leroy Watson (1) runs in for a touchdown in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 Texas-San Antonio can clinch its first Conference USA West Division title and a berth in the league championship game when it hosts dangerous Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday afternoon in a Conference USA dustup in the Alamo City.

To reach those benchmarks, UTSA will have to be at its best. UAB is in a position to win their fourth straight division championship with a win over the Roadrunners this week and UTEP at home in its regular-season finale.

The Roadrunners (10-0, 6-0 in C-USA) are two wins away from a perfect regular season and are one of just three FBS teams that remain undefeated. UTSA has already established a record for points scored in a season (386) with a pair of games still on its schedule. Its 10-game winning streak, its six wins in six conference games and eight straight victories at home are all new program marks.

UTSA’s most recent game was a 27-17 home win over Southern Miss on Nov. 13 in which the Roadrunners forced three turnovers in the final seven minutes to secure the victory. Hunter Duplessis kicked a 24-yard tie-breaking field goal with 4:39 remaining before UTSA added a clinching touchdown three plays later on 9-yard TD run by Sincere McCormick.

Frank Harris passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 54 yards in the win.

UTSA has just two wins over teams with a winning record but has found ways to win tight games against its stronger opponents and easily beat the teams it was expected to dominate. The Roadrunners’ resume has been impressive enough for them to earn a spot in the College Football Rankings the past two weeks.

“We’ve got a terrible, terrible taste in our mouth from last year when we left Birmingham (after a 21-13 loss),” UTSA coach Jeff Traylor said. “We know we’re a much better team. UAB is a really good team.

“To be a champ, you have to beat the champs, and the champs are coming here Saturday. They’ve won it three times in a row. To win the first one is always the hardest one. We’re smart enough to realize it’s a bigger game than normal.”

UAB (7-3, 5-1 C-USA) will be a formidable opponent for the Roadrunners. The Blazers have won two straight games, most recently a 21-14 road victory over Marshall on Nov. 13 in a rematch of the 2020 C-USA title game.

Dylan Hopkins has passed for 1,723 yards and 11 scores this season while DeWayne McBride leads UAB’s ground attack with 945 yards and 10 touchdowns on 145 carries. Gerrit Prince is the Blazers’ top receiver with 26 catches for 571 yards and seven TDs.

“This game has always been on our radar and now it is finally here,” Blazers’ safety Grayson Cash said. “They are undefeated, unbeaten and we know what we have ahead of us and we are ready for it. We’ve been saying every week is a championship week, and we have another one this week, so we will be ready to go.”

UAB leads the overall series, 4-1, and has won the last four meetings by an average margin of 20 points.

–Field Level Media