2023 Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl Preview

Dec 06, 2023 | THE FRISCO BOWL

2023 Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl Preview

Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl (6th Edition)
UTSA (8-4) vs. Marshall (6-6)
December 19, 2023
8 p.m. CT, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX

By Troy Phillips

Last the UTSA Roadrunners were seen at the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl, quarterback Frank Harris was only in his fifth year of college. Only.

Now a seventh-year senior – yes, that’s right – Harris and UTSA have sights set on their first bowl victory (0-4) in five tries. The Roadrunners (8-4) will return to Frisco to face former Conference USA foe Marshall (6-6) on December 19 at Toyota Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. (CT) on ESPN.

UTSA joined and finished third in the American Athletic Conference this season. Harris and fourth-year coach Jeff Traylor (38-14) are synonymous with UTSA, which is 39-13 with Harris under center. UTSA has played football only 12 seasons, with Harris there for seven of them.

They’ll be a seasoned duo against Marshall, making its 10th bowl appearance in the past 11 years.

“When you make a bowl 10 of the last 11 years, that’s incredible,” Traylor said. “That’s where we want to get to here at UTSA.”

Where UTSA is now is no slouch, and keeping Harris this long has been transformative. He signed with UTSA in 2017 from Schertz Clemens, and the next seven years went something like this:

Knee injuries (both ACLs) and surgeries, redshirted (twice), starting debut in 2019, lasted three games (shoulder), more surgery, COVID season and added-year exemption, 23-5 run next two years and two C-USA titles, more knee surgery last off-season, decision to return for seventh year.

Along the way, Harris gave his mind (two degrees) and body (see above) to UTSA and its football program. He’s one of San Antonio’s most recognized and beloved citizens, idolized by thousands of kids in their No. 0 Harris jerseys.

His final-game career numbers are monstrous, with nearly 12,000 yards and 92 touchdowns passing, and 2,100 yards and 28 TDs rushing.

“Frank has done so much for UTSA and San Antonio because his love for his teammates, our university and the city is genuine,” Traylor said. “He’s been a joy to coach in my four years here, and I hope we can send him and all of our seniors off on the right foot at the bowl game. We always have a chance when No. 0 is back there under center.”

Like Harris, UTSA has similarly held onto Traylor, a seamless fit of a coach with eight years left on a 10-year contract. While navigating the NIL era of college football that never favors resource-thin Group of Five schools, Traylor is an unyielding advocate for capital improvements and other fundraising that give UTSA a fighting chance against college football’s haves.

“We’ve had a lot of success,” Traylor said. “There’s a lot of people that want to talk to us about that success – how is it happening, why is it happening. As long as we’re winning, that’s going to continue, but we still have stuff to do here.”

Bowl win No. 1 is front burner, as well as reaching a New Year’s Six Bowl. UTSA came close in 2021, going 12-2. Marshall, now in the Sun Belt Conference, likely won’t make it easy with 1,000-yard rusher Rasheen Ali (14 TDs) and six receivers with 20 or more catches.

“Coach Traylor has done a really good job with that program,” Marshall coach Charles Huff said. “They played us really well in Conference USA. (Harris) has done a phenomenal job. With his experience and amount of years, it shows on the field. He has command of that team, and they listen to him. That’s the kind of kid you want on any team.”

Harris’ favorite target, wideout Joshua Cephus, has 82 catches for 1,049 yards and nine TDs this season. Running back Robert Henry has nine rushing TDs, while safety Rashad Wisdom leads the defense with 58 tackles, (47 solo).

Fort Worth-based freelance writer Troy Phillips is a former reporter and copy editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.