Roadrunners beat Zappe, Hilltoppers, 49-41, for C-USA title
Fri, Dec 3, 2021
NCAAF News (AP)
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Sincere McCormick rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns and the UTSA Roadrunners escaped another prolific outing by Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe to beat the Hilltoppers 49-41 and claim their first Conference USA championship on Friday night at the Alamodome.
Zappe completed 36 of 59 passes for 577 yards and four touchdowns. He set a single-season school record with 5,545 yards passing, surpassing Brandon Doughty.
UTSA had its most inspiring victory less than a week after its most humiliating outing in a 45-23 loss to North Texas last week.
Leading 49-41 with a minute remaining, the Roadrunners stopped the Hilltoppers at their own 6-yard line when Jahmal Sam intercepted a desperation throw by Zappe as time expired.
Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris responded to one of his worst outings last week by completing 19 of 28 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns against the Hilltoppers.
The third largest crowd in school history at 41,148 watched anxiously as UTSA struggled to maintain an early lead.
The Roadrunners held the Hilltoppers' prolific offense to 289 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
Zappe could not be contained in the second half, though.
He completed 20 of 34 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. Zappe has 56 touchdowns this season, moving within four of matching the single season record set by LSU's Joe Burrow during the Tigers' national championship season in 2019.
UTSA safety Rashad Wisdom was disqualified for targeting with 5:18 remaining the third quarter after hitting Malachi Corley near the sideline on an incomplete pass. Losing their leading tackler and vocal leader was difficult to overcome.
Zappe led Western Kentucky to 21 straight points after Wisdom's ejection to cut UTSA's lead to 42-34 with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
The Roadrunners responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 28-yard pass by Harris to De'Corian Clark in the back right corner of the end zone.
Zappe and Harris also exchanged scores to open the game.
Zappe tossed a 60-yard touchdown to Mitchell Tinsley 56 seconds into the game. Harris responded a little more than two minutes later with a 24-yard scoring run to cap a 75-yard drive.
The Roadrunners scored touchdowns on their first four possessions in building a 28-13 lead at the half.
McCormick had a rushing touchdown in each of the first three quarters, scoring from 2 yards, 65 yards and 17 yards.
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