UTSA beats Charlotte 30-27. Game recap:
Dramatic Comeback: UTSA trailed 7-0 at the half with just 83 yards of offensive production. Then in three plays in the third quarter, UTSA drove 91 yards to tie the game. UTSA and Charlotte then proceeded to combine for 34 points in the wild third quarter. Entering the final stanza, UTSA trailed 21-20. Following a Charlotte 41 yard field goal, QB Dalton Sturm scrambled around and found WR Aaron Grubb for the go-ahead touchdown. Charlotte would rally in their own right for a game-tying FG to force the game into overtime. UTSA would then get into long field goal range. Place Kicker Victor Falcon was selected to take the 52 yard game-winning attempt instead the wind instead of regular kicker Daniel Portillo, who has struggled from long distances in outdoor elements. Falcon’s attempt was no good and the game went into overtime. In the extra period, UTSA intercepted Charlotte and ran straight ahead to setup the game-winning field goal.
Overtime Drama: On a low snap, Daniel Portillo kicked a 22 yard game-winning field goal. Portillo, who missed a PAT and a 44 yard FG earlier in the game, said after the game the moment for him was surreal for him. Before UTSA’s offensive possession in overtime, Charlotte quickly drove toward the goal line and looked like they were poised to score a touchdown. Charlotte then dodged a huge bullet on a strange fumble/non-fumble/fumble that was reviewed and deemed to be recovered by UTSA but recovered out of bounds. The play gave UNCC the ball at the 5 yard line. One play later, UTSA Safety Nate Gaines jumped a route and intercepted a pass in the endzone to setup the win for the ‘Runners.
Williams Sets Record: On the back of a 68 yard rush out of halftime, RB Jarveon Williams shook off a rough start to set a program record for the most rushing yards in a single game. Jarveon ran 19 times for 181 yards with 1 touchdown. The 181 yards eclipses the 170 yard record that Williams set earlier in the season vs Colorado State. UTSA leaned on Williams heavily Saturday. The local product was not 100% as he’s been battling a shoulder issue the last few weeks.
Sturm Struggles, Gets It Done: QB Dalton Sturm threw three interceptions vs Charlotte. It should have been four and could have easily been six. While Sturm did struggle with some experience issues throughout the game, no one can question his mental toughness. After throwing a high pass that should have been ruled an interception, Sturm rebounded by throwing his two best passes of the day. On third and long, Sturm escaped heavy pocket pressure and somehow found WR Aaron Grubb for a 26 yard touchdown strike. The pass came as Sturm was on the run as he threw across his body. It was as impressive of a play as Sturm has made all season long. The score gave UTSA a 27-24 lead in the fourth quarter. Sturm’s final line: 133 yards on 18 for 33 passing with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Hard Hat D Good Enough: UTSA’s defense held Charlotte scoreless on five of their first six possessions of the game. With the offense struggling, the defense’s early effort kept the ‘Runners in the game in the first half. While things got a little loose in that crazy third quarter, the Hard Hat D came up with just enough plays to help get the win. Charlotte’s 16-play drive late in the fourth quarter looked like it could turn into a game-winning drive but the defense forced them into a game-tying field goal instead. An in overtime, the defense was on their heels before Gaines’ interception stopped their drive.
POST GAME QUOTES
Head Coach Larry Coker
On the game:
“We’ve been on the ropes the last few weeks but the guys hung in. Our guys never gave up.”
On the resiliency of the team:
“I can’t say enough about them (the players). This week we got it done.”
On the final drive:
“We wanted to give ourselves a chance to win, that’s what we did on Daniel’s field goal.”
Place Kicker Daniel Portillo
On rebounding from his missed PAT:
“It was more so my teammates, they told me we’ve all had our ups and downs, they helped me get through it.”
Safety Nate Gaines
On his touchdown-saving interception:
“It was just play-recognition, I got beat on that play against ODU. I didn’t think he was going to throw it, I was in shock when I got that interception.”
On the season:
“We never stopped believing in each other. We’re going to fight and play for each other all the way to the end of the season.”
RB Jarveon Williams
On the second half offense
“It was just execution. Coach chewed us out and we came out in the second half drove it done their throat.”