UTSA storms past Middle Tennessee, 45-25

UTSA stormed past Middle Tennessee, 45-25 (Photo courtesy UTSA)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. Jarveon Williams led a potent ground attack with 109 yards and UTSA stormed past Middle Tennessee, 45-25, in Conference USA action on Saturday afternoon at Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium.

Williams topped the 100-yard mark for the seventh time in his career and the program's all-time leading rusher increased his career tally to 2,073. The senior from Converse Judson also scored three touchdowns on the ground to tie the school's single-game record and push his career mark to 17, which ranks second all-time behind David Glasco II (20/2011-14).

Fellow running back Jalen Rhodes added 81 yards and a score to move the sophomore into a tie atop UTSA's single-season rushing TD list with eight.

All totaled, the Roadrunners (5-4, 4-2 C-USA) registered 270 yards on the ground en route to scoring their most-ever points in a road game, bettering the 38 recorded at Georgia State back on Sept. 15, 2012.

Meanwhile, the defense held the Blue Raiders (6-3, 3-2 C-USA) to 110 yards rushing, forced four turnovers for the second straight contest and turned in six tackles for loss, including five sacks (Middle Tennessee had surrendered just five for the year coming into Saturday). La'Kel Bass posted a team-high nine stops with two sacks, a forced fumble and fumbler recovery, while Michael Egwuagu pitched in with his sixth career interception, one of three on the day for the visitors, to go along with eight stops.

UTSA built a 28-10 halftime advantage behind a strong running game that piled up 152 yards and a stingy defense that limited Middle Tennessee to 161 total yards, including just 16 rushing, in the first 30 minutes.

On the game's opening possession, the Roadrunners marched 66 yards in 11 plays to take an early lead after Williams found paydirt from six yards out.

The Blue Raiders responded with a quick scoring drive, going 75 yards in just a minute and 25 seconds and only five plays, the last a 16-yard TD pass from Brent Stockstill to Dennis Andrews.

UTSA reclaimed the lead late in the first quarter when Rhodes dashed 26 yards up the middle to the end zone to cap a 43-yard drive, all on the ground.

The visitors extended their advantage to two touchdowns in the second quarter after Williams punched it in from two yards out to put an end to a 15-play, 70-yard march that burned 6:55 off the clock, their longest drive of the year by time. In fact, UTSA controlled the time of possession throughout with 37:50 to just 22:10 for the Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee backup quarterback John Urzua, who was forced into action after an second-quarter injury to Stockstill, was picked off by Jordan Moore at the Blue Raiders' 40-yard line. Nine plays later, Dalton Sturm found Josh Stewart in the corner of the end zone for a 16-yard scoring connection to help put UTSA up 28-7 with less than two minutes to play in the second stanza.

The home team cut the deficit to 18 on a 30-yard field goal by Canon Rooker as time expired in the half.

The two teams traded touchdowns to start the third quarter.

On the home team's first possession of the second half, Richie James hauled in a 53-yard touchdown pass from Urzua to make it 28-17, but UTSA answered with a 22-yard TD scamper by Williams with 10:55 left in the frame.

UTSA then forced a pair of turnovers but was unable to capitalize after throwing two interceptions in the end zone.

However, the Roadrunners still managed to extend their lead to 42-17 when Sturm scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak late in the third quarter.

The Blue Raiders cut into the UTSA lead on a 1-yard touchdown rush by Terelle West and a two-point conversion pass from Urzua to CJ Windham midway through the fourth quarter, but that was as close as Middle Tennessee got the rest of the way.

Victor Falcon booted a 38-yard field goal with 4:10 left to play to provide the final 20-point margin.

The Roadrunners will travel to Louisiana Tech (7-3, 5-1 C-USA) next Saturday, Nov. 12. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised in San Antonio on KMYS-CW 35.