After 59 minutes and 54 seconds, UTSA put the game in the hands, or foot, of a freshman walk-on. Spoiler alert, Jared Sackett deserves a scholarship.
The 9-7 win, its sixth of the season, makes the Roadrunners bowl eligible for the second year in a row.
The Roadrunners (6-4 overall, 3-4 C-USA) started quick, giving fans hope that this game may be different from recent ones. But the 16-play, 75-yard drive ended in disappointing fashion – a field goal.
But points were points and though it wasn’t known at the time, they would be at a premium. The first quarter would end with Marshall (7-4, 4-3) down 3-0.
The second quarter sped by quickly as the Roadrunner offense began to slow down. Until its final drive of the half when it drove another 64 yards in 14 plays only to be stopped on third down. The freshman walk-on kicker Jared Sackett was beating Marshall 6-0 at half.
Both teams remained flat on offense after the half. Until Marshall quarterback Chase Litton threw an interception that put the Roadrunners in scoring position. After a big throw from Dalton Sturm to Kerry Thomas Jr., they had the ball on the six. But a Tyrell Clay fumble gave Marshall the ball again.
Each team traded punts the next few drives and with a 6-0 lead in the fourth quarter, UTSA needed just one more score to put it out of reach.
The Roadrunners drove down field and got to the red zone once more, with just under five minutes left.
On fourth down, UTSA faked a fourth down attempt, but a false start moved the ball back. Coach Frank Wilson’s squad brought out the kicking team to essentially put the game away, but that would be too easy. The holder dropped the snap and was brought down by the Thundering Herd.
The defense stepped up for the first two plays, but allowed a pass to Thundering Herd receiver Obi Obiala for a first down. Marshall eventually moved sand got down to the 20-yard line. Litton dropped back on the next play and with 1:31 left on the clock delivered a dime to receiver Hyleck Foster.
The Thundering Herd were in the lead for the first time in 58:29 seconds of game play.
The lead lasted all of one minute and 30 seconds. With 1:29 left, the Roadrunner offense had to maneuver down field, something its defense had full confidence in.
“We’ve done this so many times at the back end of practice, two-minute drill,” defensive end Marcus Davenport said. “They’ve gone against us and they’ve marched it all the way down the field and done the same thing before. We have the utmost confidence in our offense. It’s a team thing. You’ve got to believe in your team to win.”
The UTSA offense drove 52 yards and with six seconds left, opted to kick. Timber Creek high school alum Jared Sackett. Sackett didn’t disappoint as the 40-yard kick went right through the uprights and gave UTSA the win on senior night.
“He’s a great player, a young player and he’s done really well for himself,” defensive end Marcus Davenport.
Coach Wilson said he believed in and knew his kicker could seal the win.
“I just simply said to them, you guys were made for this moment; you were built for this,” Wilson said of what he told the kicker, snapper and holder before the game-winner. “This is exactly how it’s supposed to end with it in your hands. So do what you do best; let’s go deliver.”
UTSA will look to finish the regular season on a high note next week against Louisiana Tech.
Gerald Tracy is an assistant editor of Texas football for TexasHSFootball, covering prep football in the San Antonio region. Follow Gerald on Twitter, @GTracySports, and read more of his content here.
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