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UTSA shocks Illinois in shootout 37-30

The Roadrunners halt Bret Bielema’s momentum with a surprising win.

NCAA Football: Texas-San Antonio at Illinois
UTSA Roadrunners running back Sincere McCormick is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Roderick Perry II in the first half of Saturday’s game at Memorial Stadium.
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Harris threw for 280 yards and a score, while RB Sincere McCormick added 117 yards on the ground as the UTSA Roadrunners shocked the Illini Fighting Illini 37-30 to halt Bret Bielema’s momentum from an upset win over Nebraska in Week 0.

UTSA was a 4.5-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook, and was picked to finish second in the West Division of Conference USA in 2021. The Illini appeared to have some early season momentum under new coach Bret Bielema after their 30-22 win over Nebraska last Saturday, but the Illini take a step back in Champaign.

The Roadrunners jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, but Illinois fought back to make in 20-14 in favor of UTSA at halftime. James McCourt hit a 52-yard field goal to cut the deficit to three.

Harris found WR Zakhari Franklin to give UTSA a 30-20 lead late in the fourth quarter to continue his strong day. After the Illini countered with a field goal, Brenden Brady found the endzone from 33 yards out for his second touchdown of the day. UTSA ultimately wouldn’t relinquish this advantage en route to a shock win.

The unexpected loss completely halts Bielema’s trajectory after a win over Nebraska last week. The Illini looked a lot like a team struggling to build a program instead of a well-oiled machine from a week ago. Bielema will have some work to do with Virginia and Maryland next on the schedule.