The UTSA Roadrunners have started their 2021 season as well as anyone could have hoped. After claiming just their second P5 win in program history last week, UTSA returned to San Antonio and blanketed FCS opponent Lamar University 54-0 for a 2-0 start to the season.
The Roadrunners have started 2-0 or better before, but the way this record was accomplished should be especially impressive for fans of the program. UTSA was praised for playing a near-complete game against Illinois last week and this week they managed to play even better. The Roadrunners never punted the ball, scored on every possession they had, forced 2 turnovers, and gained 427 yards of total offense while limiting Lamar’s offense to just 122 total yards. UTSA fans were also treated to the return of quarterback Josh Adkins and the debut of true freshman quarterback Eddie Lee Marburger. And UTSA notched two additional school records: the first recorded shutout in program history, and the largest win in program history, eclipsing the previous record by one point.
It started with a punt return. Lamar’s first drive went well but the it ended with a punt and wide receiver Sheldon “Sticks” Jones took the return for a 76-yard touchdown. It was UTSA’s second punt return in program history, and it electrified the home crowd to start the game.
The rest of the first quarter was all UTSA defense as Lamar went 3-and-out on its next four possessions. But UTSA’s offense struggled to find the end zone and the Roadrunners settled for two Hunter Duplessis field goals, taking a 13-0 lead.
The offense fully awakened in the second quarter when running back Sincere McCormick scored his first touchdown of the season on an 18-yard run with 14:04 left to play in the half. Lamar’s offense started picking up on their next drive, but the Cardinals fumbled a high snap and linebacker Charles Wiley returned the fumble 44 yards into the end zone. Lamar again stalled on offense and UTSA again scored, this time on a five-yard touchdown run from McCormick. With that run, McCormick became UTSA’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, and UTSA took a 34-0 lead into halftime.
UTSA started the second half with possession and head coach Jeff Traylor elected to have backup quarterback Josh Adkins lead the offense. Adkins played well last year before he sustained an upper body against UAB. Indeed, Adkins wasted no time showing everyone that he was back. Less than two minutes into the half Adkins completed a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Zakhari Franklin. Adkins would continue to lead UTSA’s offense for the third quarter, which included another Duplessis field goal and a first down conversion on fourth and nine.
Lamar’s offense continued to struggle and UTSA’s defense did not let up the pressure. The Cardinals’ first drive ended with a three-and-out while their second drive ended with a fumble, courtesy of Lamonte McDougle. It was McDougle’s first fumble recovery as a Roadrunner after transferring this offseason to UTSA from Washington State University.
The third quarter ended with a 44-0 UTSA lead.
Adkins opened the fourth quarter exactly as he did the third with a quick touchdown throw and score, this time to wide receiver De’Corian “DJ” Clark for 16 yards. It capped off an impressive return for Adkins. He completed 11 passes for 134 yards and two TDs in his 2021 season debut.
Coach Traylor elected to insert true freshman Eddie Lee Marburger at quarterback for UTSA’s next possession. Marburger is from McAllen, Texas and was highly touted as a recruit. He seems to have lived up to some of that hype after he was praised for his talent and skill during the offseason. And in his college debut Marburger showed exactly why fans are excited. On his second pass he connected with wide receiver Cade Stoever for 60 yards, 30 of which came from Stoever after the catch because Marburger evaded pressure and waited until Stoever’s route opened. Marburger did not find the end zone, but he did lead UTSA’s offense down the field for the final score of the game—a 23-yard field goal from backup kicker Everett Ornstein.
Lamar’s final drive ended with a 3-and-out. Marburger would take UTSA’s final drive, converting a first down and kneeling the rest of the time to end the game. His night ended with 2 completions for 69 yards and UTSA ended the game 54-0.
Beating Illinois showed that UTSA has the talent and the tenacity to win big games on the road. Beating Lamar this week showed that UTSA is dialed in for the season and will take care of business in games they are favored to win.
UTSA was heavily favored to win this game. Nevertheless, the win is meaningful because it demonstrated that last week’s win was not a fluke. UTSA has, in the past played, down to their competition and Lamar could have easily been a trap game if the Roadrunners weren’t careful. That didn’t happen and, instead, UTSA added some new records to their record book. That’s the type of win that is important for a team with championship aspirations.