UTSA set to clash with Marshall in Frisco Bowl: 3 keys to victory

UTSA is hunting for the program’s first bowl win

File photo: UTSA quarterback Frank Harris scrambles in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane in New Orleans, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

FRISCO, Texas – The UTSA football team (8-4) takes on the Marshall Thundering Herd (6-6) Tuesday night for the Roadrunners’ fourth-consecutive bowl game appearance.

UTSA is still hunting for the program’s first bowl win, meanwhile, Marshall has a 13-5 record in its long bowl history.

Recommended Videos

Here are 3 keys to the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl Game:

UTSA boasts loaded line-up, Marshall shorthanded

The Roadrunners’ offense has risen to be among the best in the Football Bowl Subdivision under head coach Jeff Traylor. This season, UTSA scored 380 points through 12 games, averaging 31.7 per contest.

Entering the Frisco Bowl, the Roadrunners have all of their players available to play — no players opted out or are ineligible. UTSA did see its star edge rusher Trey Moore, the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, enter the transfer portal. But, that’s nothing compared to what Marshall is dealing with.

The Thundering Herd will be down several key performers in the bowl game — including their starting quarterback Cam Fancher who finished the season with 2,162 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and four rushing scores. With Fancher’s departure, the program will look to redshirt freshman Cole Pennington to lead the Herd.

Overcoming Marshall’s stubborn defense

Marshall overcame a slow start to the season by winning two of its last three games to become bowl-eligible with a .500 record. The Thundering Herd are led by their defensive unit which is paced by linebacker Eli Neal who leads the team with 85 tackles, including 8.5 for loss and two sacks, while Owen Porter has racked up 15 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and five sacks.

The Thundering Herd are proven in their pass defense and blitzing the quarterback. As a team, Marshall has 75 QB hits this season and seven forced fumbles in 12 games.

“I think it’ll be a great test for us offensively,” said UTSA senior quarterback Frank Harris. “We got to go out there, not beat ourselves. Don’t make any mistakes on our own and just go with our game plan and go out there and play football.”

Soaking up the moment

One last outing. The UTSA football team is led by a senior class that is responsible for the program’s rise in success. The seniors are led by local product Harris and safety Rashad Wisdom. Earlier in the week, both Harris and Wisdom said they were going to be emotional whether they win or lose because they’ve been a part of the UTSA football program for so long.

“I’m just fortunate to go out there and play the game that I love,” said Harris, reflecting on his knee injury that almost ended his football playing career. “I just didn’t think I would play this season. I didn’t know if I would be able to walk again, so I’m just thankful to God that I’m able to do what I love.”

The Roadrunners and Thundering Herd are set to kick off at 8 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN from Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

About the Author

Mary Rominger is KSAT 12 Sports' first full-time female sports anchor and reporter. She came to San Antonio from Mankato, Minn., where she worked as a weekend sports anchor at KEYC News Now. She has a journalism degree from Iowa State University and grew up in Southern California. Mary enjoys golfing, sports and finding new spots around town.

Recommended Videos