Ask any pigskin player, coach, or fanatic that has roots in the heartland of Texas and they’ll tell you firsthand just how tough it is to run a successful program at any level in the vast body politic that is our nation’s second-largest commonwealth. While results tend to differentiate based on homegrown talent, and, at the core, bodies to suit up from pee-wee to the FBS-DI level, the small fish in a big pond that is the UTSA Roadrunners have quickly become the story of college football this fall.
A program that finished its fourth campaign at or above .500 last fall in just it's nine prior years of existence, the 10-0 Roadrunners, led by the vehement, passionate voice of head coach Jeff Traylor, have represented all that is good in college football. A four-time Texas High School Coach of the Year, where the Texas-born Traylor posted a 175-26 record (.871 win %) over 20 seasons coaching at the prep level, Traylor has been a similar case of a coach having to “pay his dues” within the coaching ranks. After initially breaking into the CFB scene in 2015 as a special teams coordinator at the University of Texas, where Traylor was also labeled as one of the top recruiters in the country, Traylor enjoyed stops at SMU and Arkansas, before ultimately landing in San Antonio to become the third coach in UTSA’s program history.
A 7-5 finish in his first year pressing the buttons, Traylor ultimately missed the Roadrunners’ bowl game against Louisiana-Lafayette due to complications from COVID, leaving a sour taste in the mouth of UTSA’s driving force. Despite suffering a loss to the then 9-1 Ragin’ Cajuns, it was UTSA’s second-ever bowl appearance and a positive sign of the strides the program took in Traylor’s debut campaign.
Fast forward to today as Traylor preps for the unranked UAB Blazers, and if he’s done anything from the first whistle of spring practice to now, he’s making up for lost time, which in turn has introduced one of the country’s most unheralded groups as we approach bowl season.
Headlined by a running back talent among the country’s best in Sincere McCormick, the Roadrunners go as McCormick does, as the 5-foot-9 talent has made it a habit to reach paydirt early and often this fall. With five rushing touchdowns in just the last three games in which McCormick has totaled 372 yards in victories over Louisiana Tech, UTEP, and Southern Miss, don’t fall victim to helmet scouting with the undersized McCormick. A talent with elite-level burst and the ability to wiggle his way through traffic at the second level, his projection as a pro down the road has become increasingly intriguing considering the current trend among NFL circles that have opted to allot draft selections outside of day one in search of impact ball-carriers.
But, UTSA isn't a one-man show.
A passing game headlined by the duo of Zakhari Franklin and Joshua Cephus, the two upperclassmen each have amassed more than 650 receiving yards in 10 games, serving as the top two targets for quarterback Frank Harris, whose dual-threat ability has wreaked havoc among opposing defenses. An offense that totals nearly 40 points a contest, their success has been equal to that on the other side of the ball, where a ball-hawking defense has allowed a conference-leading 19 points per game, recorded nine interceptions, and have been proved opportunistic with the ball on the turf, recovering 10 fumbles (tied for third-best in the country).
The man in charge of a now nationally-ranked program, Traylor and his high-powered Roadrunners have nowhere to go but up. On the heels of a sparkling new contract extension that will keep him in San Antonio until 2031, an unblemished mark so far this fall has the Roadrunners demanding national attention.