UTSA becomes bowl eligible with 33-14 victory against Charlotte
SAN ANTONIO — UTSA became bowl eligible for the first time in program history with a 33-14 victory against Charlotte in Conference USA action on Saturday night at the Alamodome.
With the historic win, the Roadrunners ended the regular season at 6-6 and finished second in the league's West Division with a 5-3 ledger.
UTSA piled up 520 yards of offense and held the 49ers (4-8, 3-5 C-USA) to just 237 yards in a game that saw the home team hold the ball for a season-best 38:21.
Starting quarterback Dalton Sturm completed 18-of-33 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, while senior signal-caller Jared Johnson came off the bench in the fourth quarter to throw for 128 yards and another score on 5-of-7 passing.
Kerry Thomas Jr. set a program record with 145 receiving yards on five catches, including a 73-yard TD on the third play from scrimmage to help stake the Roadrunners to an early lead.
The 49ers responded quickly on their first possession, as Austin Duke took a short crossing route from Hasaan Klugh 76 yards to paydirt to knot the score at seven with barely more than two minutes burned off the clock.
UTSA took a 10-7 lead late in the opening stanza after chewing 7:45 off the clock on a 15-play, 74-yard scoring march that was capped by 21-yard field goal from Victor Falcon.
The Roadrunners extended their lead to 17-7 in the second quarter after Sturm hit Brady Jones on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 3:08 left until halftime.
Falcon split the uprights from 26 yards out to push UTSA's lead to 20-7 late in the third quarter.
The first play of the fourth quarter gave new life to Charlotte, as UTSA mishandled the snap on a punt inside its own 5-yard line. The fumble was scooped up by Juwan Foggie, who rambled in from three yards for a touchdown that helped bring the visitors to within one score.
Johnson engineered a seven-play, 76-yard scoring drive in his first action of the night. He hit Jarveon Williams — who finished with 48 yards on the ground and 54 receiving — on a screen pass that the senior running back took 33 yards down the sideline to the Charlotte 23. Three plays later facing third down and seven, Johnson found Marquez McNair in the end zone on a perfectly thrown ball for a 20-yard TD pass to put UTSA up 26-14.
The Roadrunners put the game out of reach on their next possession, as Johnson completed passes of 26 yards to McNair, 14 to Thomas Jr. and 35 to JaBryce Taylor to set up Jalen Rhodes for a 2-yard touchdown plunge, his program-record ninth of the season. Falcon's extra point provided the final margin, 33-14.
Josiah Tauaefa led the defense with six tackles, including a sack, while Ben Kane also registered a sack as part of his five stops.
UTSA now will await word of a bowl invitation on or before Sunday, Dec. 4.