Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas vs. UTSA football preview: Possible heartbreak or keeping with status quo

Julius Shieh

Week three of the 2024 college football season will mark the second time the Texas Longhorns face the UTSA Roadrunners, with their only meeting being in 2022. The Longhorns won the inaugural matchup 41-20. Since their last time on the Forty Acres, however, much has changed for the UTSA Roadrunners. 

In his fourth season with the program, UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has brought the Roadrunners from a fledgling Group of Five school to a future playoff contender. Going 39–14 during his tenure, Traylor captured two conference titles and the program’s first bowl win in the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl last December. 

Entering their second season in the American Athletic Conference, many veteran figures have departed from the Roadrunners’ roster. Seven-year quarterback Frank Harris exhausted his NCAA eligibility, leaving his mark as the program’s leader in touchdowns, yards and completions. 

Receivers Tykee Ogle-Kellog and Joshua Cephus, the all-time leader in receiving yards, put their names in the 2024 NFL draft this spring. On the defensive side of the ball, the Roadrunners lost three key players to graduation and the transfer portal. 

Safety and defensive captain Rashad Wisdom departed after graduating this spring, and senior cornerback Kam Alexander transferred to Oregon. Junior edge rusher Trey Moore, the AAC defensive player of the year, bolted to the Longhorns just before UTSA’s bowl game in December and will line up opposite the Road Runners in 2024. 

Traylor has been vocal about his thoughts on the transfer portal during his time as the Roadrunners’ head coach. His brief two years as a special teams and tight ends coach and associate head coach at Texas earned him a Big 12 Recruiter of the Year nod in 2016 and his recruiting prowess has not stopped.

During this transfer window, UTSA picked up 15 players from the portal. 

The Roadrunners brought in former five-star prospect cornerback Denver Harris from LSU to replenish the secondary. Additionally, UTSA poached former four-star senior linebacker Kendrick Blackshire from the Longhorns just after the Orange-White spring game. Blackshire played at Alabama last season but had transferred to Texas in the winter. 

The Roadrunners also brought in Blackshire’s teammate, fellow Alabama linebacker Ian Jackson. The addition of senior receiver JJ Sparkman from Texas Tech and sophomore receiver DJ Allen from TCU will add depth to the Roadrunner receiving core. 

Questions still remain at the quarterback position. Junior quarterback Eddie Lee Marburger has been the primary backup for the past three seasons, coming in for Harris during an early season injury against Texas State and starting versus Tennessee. 

Sophomore quarterback Owen McCown took over the reins as primary backup after Marburger’s poor performance against Tennessee and later started the bowl game when Harris went down in the season finale. Marburger and McCown switched off with the first team during the Roadrunners spring game. 

Whoever is named the starter should not worry about who they will have to pass to. Sophomore receiver Devin McCuin had a breakout freshman season in 2023, earning himself Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Offensive Freshman of the Year. 

Senior tight end Oscar Cardenas will return to UTSA for his final year of eligibility and all three running backs will come back for the 2024 campaign after having combined for 23 touchdowns for 1,786 yards last season.  

These early-season matchups can set the tone for a season or ruin it completely before it starts. Returning home from Ann Arbor the week before, junior quarterback Quinn Ewers and his team better keep a tight watch on a hungry UTSA team looking to prove themselves and spoil the Longhorns’ title ambitions.

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About the Contributor
Julius Shieh, Associate Photo Editor
Julius is a third year student from Avon, Connecticut, studying History. He currently serves as the Texan's Associate Photo Editor.