No. 25 UTSA, No. 24 Troy tangle in Orlando

Field Level Media

December 12, 2022 at 5:38 pm.

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris will return for a seventh season at the school, but his immediate focus is on achieving a program first.

The No. 25 Roadrunners will face No. 24 Troy on Friday in the Cure Bowl at Orlando, Fla., in a matchup of programs with 10-game winning streaks, tied for third nationally behind Georgia (15) and Michigan (13).

The Roadrunners (11-2) control games with their offense while the Trojans (11-2) are sturdy on defense.

Harris was named Conference USA Player of the Year this season by passing for 3,865 yards, 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He thought about his future and decided returning to the school in San Antonio was his best option. He’s hoping to provide the program’s first bowl win this week.

“I’m not going to lie. At first I had no desire to come back,” Harris said. “I’ve been here for a very long time, but I thought about it and prayed about it. It was best for me to play one more season and see how it plays out.”

Harris has passed for 9,158 yards, 73 touchdowns and 21 interceptions during his career. He also has 1,808 yards and 24 scores on the ground.

He’s the prime reason why UTSA ranks 12th nationally in scoring offense (38.7 points per game) and ninth in total offense (486.1 yards per game) entering the program’s fourth-ever bowl contest.

The Trojans will look to slow the Roadrunners with a defense that ranks eighth in scoring defense (17.5) and is tied for 19th in total defense (325.3). Troy has 39 sacks as it seeks to notch its fifth consecutive bowl win.

The defense features linebacker Carlton Martial, who has 121 tackles and was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and also earned first-team all-conference honors for the fourth time. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound Martial holds the FBS all-time record of 563 tackles and also has 10 1/2 sacks, eight forced fumbles and six interceptions in his career.

Offensively, Gunnar Watson has passed for 2,705 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Kimani Vidal is the leading rusher with 1,059 yards and nine scores.

The Trojans’ losses were to Ole Miss (28-10 score) and Appalachian State (32-28).

“We’re going to Orlando with the intention of winning a football game, but we’re also going to make sure that our players have a great time and are rewarded for a championship season,” said Troy coach Jon Sumrall.

UTSA’s losses were to Houston (37-35 in triple overtime) and Texas (41-20).