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UTSA Football: 2022 Roadrunners Season Preview and Prediction

Frank Harris, UTSA Roadrunners Football

Frank Harris and the Roadrunners are ranked No. 65 in Athlon Sports' Top 131 for the 2022 college football season

After a 12-2 season, coach Jeff Traylor has UTSA thinking big once again in 2022. Running back Sincere McCormick departed for the NFL, but the Roadrunners could be the favorite to win Conference USA, especially after UAB coach Bill Clark announced his retirement in June. Quarterback Frank Harris and a deep receiving corps leads the way for UTSA's offense, and there are plenty of talented pieces to fill in a defense returning only five starters. The early slate - Houston, at Army and at Texas - is challenging, but Traylor's team is in good shape to push for double-digit wins once again.

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2022

Previewing UTSA's Offense for 2022

Running back Sincere McCormick took his various All-America honors and moved on to the NFL. Fear not, however, as the Roadrunners were not nearly as run-dependent as one might think. UTSA's passing offense went from a national ranking of No. 90 in 2020 to No. 43 in 2021 and will likely rise even higher in head coach Jeff Traylor's third season. Senior quarterback Frank Harris and his three productive senior wideouts are all back, which means the offense may sincerely move forward without Sincere. Harris (3,177 passing yards, 27 TDs, six INTs, plus 566 rushing yards) improved his accuracy last season, and WRs Zakhari Franklin, Joshua Cephus and De'Corian Clark all had at least 750 yards, with Franklin earning first-team All-C-USA honors.

Four starters are back on the offensive line, but the one who departed — left tackle Spencer Burford — was the best in school history. Center Ahofitu Maka was a second-team All-C-USA selection.

If senior Brenden Brady, newcomer Tye Edwards and De'Anthony Lewis form a capable backfield and Harris and Co. continue to progress in the passing game, UTSA could produce even more than its 36.9 points per game (11th in the nation).

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Previewing UTSA's Defense for 2022

Five starters are back spread evenly across the three levels, so there may be some on-the-job training under second-year defensive coordinator Jess Loepp.

Sophomore nose guard Brandon Brown, an honorable mention All-C-USA performer in 2021, and Lamonte McDougle are two players who give the staff confidence at that spot. Senior DE Brandon Matterson has starting experience sprinkled in across his career, and Asyrus Simon and Trumane Bell II will man the other defensive end spot.

Two inside linebackers return after honorable mention all-league seasons in Jamal Ligon and Trevor Harmanson, while the outside 'backers will be rather green. The secondary, which boasts the team's best defender in safety Rashad Wisdom, needs to improve. Wisdom led the team in tackles and was second in pass breakups. Returning corner Corey Mayfield Jr. had two picks, returning one for a score.

Related: Conference USA Football 2022 Predictions

Previewing UTSA's Specialists for 2022

Kicker Jared Sackett had two good seasons at UTSA in 2017 and 2018. He transferred to Arkansas and then USF, where he was unable to secure the first-string job at either school. Sackett has returned to UTSA for a fifth college season and looks to regain his old form with the Roadrunners. Punter Lucas Dean was a second-team All-C-USA performer last season, averaging 45.2 yards per kick.

Final Analysis

UTSA could be close to as good as 2021's 12–2 squad, but the record might not reflect it. UTSA opens against Houston, Army and Texas. The Roadrunners also face a tough WKU team in league play. The offense should be productive, but will it have to put up big numbers each week as the defense takes shape? Either way, another 10-win season for Traylor could put him in line for a Power 5 job sooner rather than later.

National Ranking: 65

Podcast: Previewing and a Deep Dive + Predictions on the Group of 5 Conferences for 2022