ALAMODOME - After red-shirting his freshman season and losing his sophomore campaign to an ACL tear, junior quarterback Frank Harris finally took the field at the Alamodome for his first collegiate game Saturday afternoon.
"Was it worth the wait for you?" UTSA head coach Frank Wilson asked at the postgame podium.
"Yes, it was," Harris responded.
Leading UTSA against UIW in the first edition of the "Hometown Showdown," Harris dazzled, completing 28 of his 36 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 123 yards in a dominant 35-7 victory.
"It was a great experience going out there and playing my first college game," Harris said. "Just knowing I have the trust of my coaches and teammates, it was amazing. I'm humbled to be out there and it's a blessing."
"I thought it was a beautiful thing to see a young man who was born and raised in this city to go through a spirit walk and have everyone in this community celebrate him for what he has accomplished in our city," Wilson said. "For him to have the opportunity to go out and represent UTSA is a beautiful thing. It's why we start our recruitment in this city. I certainly understand how Frank feels, and how his family feels, to be able to rejoice after going through so many setbacks early in his career. I'm very happy for him and his family."
From start to finish, the Roadrunners controlled the flow of the game, amassing 490 yards of total offense, converting 8 of their 14 first downs and possessing the ball for over 40 minutes. The gaudy numbers are a stark contrast from 2018, when UTSA finished as the worst offense in Division I college football. In fact, this victory marks the first time the Roadrunners have won on their home turf since September of last season. The turnaround is not lost on Wilson, but he remembers the mistakes all the same.
"We were a football team that was the worst in the nation a year ago in offensive play, point-blank. We wore that and owned it, unfortunately. So, I get the excitement. I'm pleased with the offensive performance, but there's room for improvement in so many ways."
The Cardinals, meanwhile, never got going offensively. Their lone spark came early in the second quarter. Sophomore quarterback Jon Copeland hit Jaelin Campbell for a 45-yard completion, then found running back Ameer King in the flat for an 11-yard touchdown, which cut the Roadrunners lead at the time in half, 14-7. But for the remainder of the game, UTSA's defensive line proved to be too much for the Cardinals to handle, recording four sacks and seven tackles-for-loss. As a result, UIW's offense was held to 209 total yards without a single third down conversion.
"I never felt any kind of momentum for our squad," head coach Eric Morris said. "We got the one explosive play and scored right after, but after that, we never got clicking or found any rhythm on offense. That starts with me. We've got to get that corrected for our kids."
Regardless of the outcome, the "Hometown Showdown" was an opportunity for the city of San Antonio to relish in the pride of it's two Division I football programs. The fans delivered.
"Everybody's friends and families are here, so everybody came out to the game," said running back Brenden Brady. "The atmosphere was great, it was loud and it was ultimately the football atmosphere you want to play in."
UTSA will next hit the road to face the Baylor Bears Saturday, Sept 7 at 3 p.m. UIW will host Texas Southern that same Saturday at 6 p.m. at Gayle & Tom Benson Stadium.
Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.