No. 23 USTA tops North Texas 48-27 in C-USA title game
SAN ANTONIO - Frank Harris threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 49 yards and another score, lifting No. 23 UTSA to its second-straight Conference USA championship with a 48-27 victory over North Texas on Friday night at the Alamodome.
UTSA knocked off North Texas for the second time in six weeks. In a game on Oct. 21, it took Harris’ 10-yard pass to De’Corian Clark with 15 seconds remaining to give UTSA a 31-27 victory.
Not wanting a repeat of its regular-season finale a week earlier in which UTSA found itself in a 24-0 hole against UTEP, the team came out firing from the start, scoring on the opening possession.
After falling behind 10-7, the Roadrunners reeled off 17 unanswered points, including 10 in the final 1:12 of the first half to take a 24-10 lead at the break and never trailed again.
Harris and the offense, which has scored at least 30 points in 12 of 13 games this season, kept the pressure on, rolling up 571 yards of total offense. Harris had scoring passes of 32, 14, and 39 yards to senior Zakhari Franklin, and his fourth - a 16-yard toss to junior tight end Oscar Cardenas - sealed the victory with 4:07 left.
Junior quarterback Austin Aune, who engineered a scoring drive that got North Texas within 34-27 early in fourth quarter, threw for 194 yards and score, but was picked off twice.
The Roadrunners, who ran the table in conference play this season, improved to 11-2 and will await a bowl invitation. Projections include a potential bid from the New Orleans Bowl. North Texas fell to 7-6 and is bowl-eligible.
The title game marked the final Conference-USA game for both programs, which are set to join the AAC beginning next season. UTSA leaves with back-to-back crowns and UNT bows out with two straight losses in the title gamet. The Mean Green lost to Florida Atlantic 41-17 in the 2017 C-USA championship.
WILL HE, WON’T HE?
Harris, a sixth-year senior who will still have one year of eligibility, has not decided if he will come back next season as the Runners’ signal caller. He set UTSA passing records for yards in season (3,865), career (9,158) and TDs in a season (31) and career (73).
QBS FOR THE BOOKS
While Franklin was setting a UTSA record for career touchdowns, UNT’s Aune’s lone scoring toss gave him a UNT season-record 32 touchdowns passes.