Frisco Bowl 2023 Film Breakdown

Film Breakdown: Frisco Bowl 2023 vs Marshall

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If you’re a UTSA fan you’d probably have a hard time dreaming up a better storybook ending for UTSA’s first bowl victory. Without Frank Harris available at quarterback, freshman Owen McCown overcame a nightmare start to lead a come from behind victory against an incredibly tough defense. The Roadrunners’ depth and resiliency were tested in this victory, showing a glimpse towards a new era for the Roadrunners. Let’s take a look at how UTSA was able to pull off the big win.

Owen McCown’s bounce back and Kam Alexander’s spotlight plays drew the headlines, but it was the furious play of the defensive line that led UTSA to victory in the Frisco Bowl. Brandon Brown set the tone from the jump with this QB pressure on the first play of the game for the UTSA defense. Brown’s quick hands allow him to shed the block and force Pennington out of the pocket, while Jamal Ligon’s pursuit from the linebacker spot creates an unsuccessful play for the Thundering Herd.

Oscar Cardenas had a really rough bowl game, capping a frustrating and confusing regression of a season for the veteran tight end. The Brandeis product finished his season with a season-low 45.6 PFF rating, a score you rarely see from a full-time senior starter. PFF certainly assigned the blame for this interception to Cardenas, an assessment I agree with, as the ball hit Oscar in the hands perfectly in stride. I hope Oscar returns next year, drops some weight, and returns to form for a proper send-off.

Clarence Hicks had 22 quarterback hurries but 0 sacks in 2020. He learned how to finish a sack over the offseason, then set what was then a program record for sacks with 13 in 2021. Jimmori Robinson is on a similar trajectory and is poised to put up Trey Moore numbers in 2024 should his development continue at its current rate.

Owen McCown’s second interception was a much more questionable throw than his first pick. While Owen did underthrow this ball a bit, and Tykee Ogle-Kellogg could have done a better job of fighting the defender, this was a really good play from Marshall’s cornerback.

This poor blocking effort from Dan Dishman had me FIRED. UP. in my seat in Toyota Stadium. Dishman is typically a very willing and effective blocker so to see him completely mail in a critical block was head scratching. Just another example of UTSA’s offense looking directionless in the first quarter without Frank Harris under center. Thankfully Jeff Traylor and staff were able to get the guys locked in during the second quarter.

Marshall might have gotten away with a few holds on Rasheen Ali’s long touchdown run, but it was a poor angle of pursuit from a UTSA safety that gave Ali a clear path to the end zone.

UTSA’s fortunes began to turn with this deep shot to Tykee Ogle-Kellog on 3rd and long. Owen McCown makes a great pre-snap read on this play. Marshall brings their strong safety down, leaving the free safety over the trips receivers to the field side of the play. This puts Tykee Ogle-Kellog in a 1:1 matchup with a cornerback. Owen sees the middle linebacker blitz so he knows Tykee will stay in single coverage given how far away the free safety is. UTSA picks up the blitz and Owen places the ball within stride for Tykee, setting up UTSA’s first score of the night.

I say it time and time again — downfield blocking is what separates good offenses from great ones. Huge block from Tykee deep down the field here, and Rocko Griffin also runs all the way from the backfield to the ten yard line to secure the touchdown from Josh Cephus on the easy pitch and catch.

One of many great plays from Jamal Ligon in the Frisco Bowl. Ligon actually played a fair bit of outside linebacker as UTSA looked to replace Trey Moore’s impact. On this play Ligon quickly identifies the inside zone play call and splits past the blocker to blow up the play for a loss.

This pass break up from Kelechi Nwachuku was a big-time play that flew under the radar for me a bit when it happened. UTSA’s pass rush fails to generate any pressure, giving Pennington a ton of time to sit back and wait for the post route to develop. Kelechi reads the route correctly and attacks the ball to prevent a big play that would have set up Marshall to re-take the lead.

This 4th down stop on the next play started to put the game away for the Roadrunners. Jess Loepp calls for an all-out blitz, sending eight defenders into the backfield. Martavius French times the snap count perfectly to blow up the play alongside Owen Pewee.

Whew, Dime City from Owen McCown on this roll-out strike to Tykee in the end zone for a touchdown. Great throw and catch, but the play was called back due to UTSA having a lineman downfield. These types of slow-developing run-pass options are risky play calls when the officials are watching for it.

Who doesn’t love a nice bowl game wrinkle? Freshman receiver David Amador lines up as a running back in the backfield on this play action boot from the Roadrunners. I wonder if Amador slipped up a bit here, as he runs in front of Rocko Griffin before Griffin can execute the fake. Not sure if it’s intentional, but it sure confused the defense. UTSA was lucky McCown kept himself upright despite the messy mesh point. A quick dump off to Amador cleared a path for him to show his speed and scamper into the endzone. Love the creativity to get the ball to a playmaker in space.

Really pitiful throw from the Marshall quarterback here but Alexander did an amazing job jumping the route and attacking the ball at the high point. Incredible performance from the SHSU transfer in the bowl game.

UTSA capped off the scoring to secure their first bowl victory with this split zone run. Rocko Griffin makes a very small adjustment to side step Oscar Cardenas who is a little late on his block. This slight hesitation gives Terrell Haynes time to get to the second level and pancake the middle linebacker. From there Griffin just outruns the safety to get into the endzone. Marshall’s fatigue is apparent on this play.

Game Balls

Owen McCown – Bravo to the redshirt freshman on posting just under 300 total yards of offense in his first start at UTSA. This Marshall defense meant business and forced McCown to earn every yard.

Ken Robinson – This guy has been so underrated by UTSA fans for so long. Robinson was all over the field in the bowl game, providing a critical blanket to the defense after Rashad Wisdom went down. Robinson did a fantastic job bringing down ball carriers in this game.

Kam Alexander – One of the best single-game performances we’ve ever seen from a UTSA cornerback. The man couldn’t be beat in Frisco.

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