Frank Harris sets records, keeps UTSA in AAC driver's seat with senior night win for Roadrunners

UTSA athletics

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SAN ANTONIO – Saint Frank. Sub Zero. Old Man. Call Frank Harris whatever you want, just make sure to include greatest of all times. At least in the history of UTSA football. And he saved his best for last. 

Combine his careers at nearby Schertz Clemens and UTSA, and he’s the most impactful football player in the history of San Antonio football. Outside of Spurs such as Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and now Victor Wembanyama, Harris the most recognizable athlete in the 210. 

The moment was never too big for UTSA quarterback Harris in his historic career as a Roadrunner. He led comeback attempts. He’s won two conference titles – the first ever for football at UTSA. He relished in the moment again on Friday, this time on senior night as the local hero passed breaking his own school record for total yards in a game with 523 in the 49-21 win over South Florida on Friday night in the Alamodome to improve to 8-3 on the season and 7-0 in AAC play. 

"It hasn't even hit me yet, to be honest," Harris said of his record-setting senior night. "It is bittersweet to play in the Alamodome for the last time. I'm going to miss the cookies. The ones in here are the best." 

Harris finished with 411 yards and three touchdowns through the air and 112 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground. It was the only time he ran for and passed for three touchdowns in the same game during his career. He became only the 15th player in FBS history to pass for over 400 yards and rush for over 100 yards in the same game. 

Harris holds 38 school records, including 13 season records and 14 career records. He’s one of only two active FBS quarterbacks with over 11,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing. His 51 starts are fifth-most amongst active quarterbacks behind Bo Nix, Sam Hartman, and Jayden Daniels. Harris arrived in 2017 and missed his first two seasons with injury before earning the starting job in 2019. He only lasted four games before suffering a season-ending injury.

Harris almost quit football after the 2019 season, but he received a call from Jeff Traylor when the former Gilmer head coach landed the job as head man of the Roadrunners. Not many people in the coaching room believed in Harris, but Traylor always did. Harris returned for 2020 and has started in 46 of UTSA’s last 50 games. UTSA is 38-13 in that span. 

The adversity never ended for Harris during his journey. He suffered through four surgeries on his left knee during the offseason. He’s underwent 10 surgeries because of football dating to his high school career – seven on his left knee alone. Harris didn’t throw a football after the 2022 bowl loss to Troy until July. The ordeal almost medically retired Harris from football. 

"You couldn’t have written a better script to send Frank Harris off," Traylor said. "We let him go out in style. He looked like the old Frank Harris to me." 

Harris was one of 18 seniors honored before the game, including Harris, Rashad Wisdom, Oscar Cardenas, and Joshua Cephus. The group raised the Roadrunners to new heights. Harris registered his 51st start in the game. Wisdom is at 54. Cephus set the school record for receiving yards in the win. The victory was the 17thstraight conference win for the group. The Roadrunners have won 21 of their last 23 at home and are 17-0 in the Alamodome against conference foes in the four-year Jeff Traylor era. They are 13-1 in November. 

The story wasn’t about the seniors entering the contest. News broke late Thursday night that Traylor interviewed with Texas A&M. South Florida led 7-0 after the first drive and 14-7 in the second quarter as concerns mounted in the crowd that their Roadrunners were distracted and unprepared. The Roadrunners, thanks mostly to Harris, scored the next 35 points to lead 42-14 at one point in the third quarter. 

UTSA was 45-61 with one bowl appearance in the eight seasons before Traylor arrived. UTSA is 38-13 since and will reach its fourth consecutive bowl game after the season. He’s one win away from coaching in his third conference championship game in a row. 

Life as a G5 fan means one of two realities – either you want your coach fired, or another team wants to pay your favorite school millions of dollars to poach him. The constant rumors that Traylor might leave for bigger, and greener, pastures is a nuisance, but it beats the alternative. Success breeds attention, and it is a compliment to the UTSA program that Traylor will be hot name in multiple coaching searches over the next month. 

UTSA must overcome those distractions one more time to reach the AAC championship game in its first season as a member. The Roadrunners are in a three-way tie with Tulane and SMU. They play the Green Wave in New Orleans on the Friday after Thanksgiving in a contest airing on ABC. It is the biggest showcase game for the Roadrunners in the programs 12-season history. 

"We're in a new conference and we are one win away from playing in another conference championship game," Harris said. "This is a testament to coach Traylor." 

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