North Texas converted three first-half fumble recoveries into 21 points and rushed for 340 yards in a 45-23 victory over UTSA on a cool and rainy Saturday afternoon at Apogee Stadium.
The Mean Green (6-6, 5-3) ended the Roadrunners’ perfect season, dropping the Conference USA West Division champions to 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the league. The loss also snapped UTSA-record streaks for consecutive overall and conference wins at 11 and 10, respectively.
Frank Harris rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown and threw for 59 yards, while Brenden Brady and Sincere McCormick added 71 and 60 yards on the ground, respectively.
UNT, which saw Ikaika Ragsdale rush for 142 yards and two touchdowns and DeAndre Torrey go for 108 and three scores, used the three first-half takeaways to build a 31-13 halftime lead.
After a 34-yard field goal by Ethan Mooney on the game’s opening possession gave the Mean Green a 3-0 lead, UNT recovered a fumble at the UTSA 26-yard line on the ensuing kickoff return. Four plays, later DeAndre Torrey found the end zone from two yards to make it 10-0.
Hunter Duplessis split the uprights from 29 yards with 5:05 left in the opening quarter to get the visitors on the board.
UTSA turned it over again deep on its own end of the field, this time on a muffed punt that UNT recovered at the 15-yard line. Four plays later, Torrey found paydirt again from four yards out to help increase the lead to 17-3.
The Roadrunners pulled to within 17-6 after Duplessis kicked a 27-yard field goal early in the second stanza. After the defense forced a punt, Harris scrambled and broke several tackles on his way to a 69-yard touchdown to help cut the Mean Green advantage to four midway through the second.
UNT answered with an eight-play, 77-yard march that resulted in a 15-yard TD run by Ragsdale.
The Mean Green then came up with their third recovery of the half at the UTSA 25. Two plays later, Torrey broke a tackle in the backfield and scampered 19 yards to the end zone to help provide the 18-point halftime margin.
UNT upped its lead to 45-13 in the third quarter after a 10-yard touchdown run by Ragsdale and a 42-yard dash by Ayo Adeyi.
Duplessis made his third field goal — his fourth game this season with three makes — from 42 yards to make it 45-16 with 8:35 left to play.
Eddie Lee Marburger hit Tre’Von Bradley on a 67-yard TD pass in the final minutes and Duplessis made his second extra point of the day to make it 45-23.
Jamal Ligon, Antonio Parks, Jahmal Sam and Rashad Wisdom registered six tackles apiece to pace the UTSA defense.
The Roadrunners will host the winner of the Marshall/WKU contest in the 2021 Ryan Conference USA Championship Game next Friday, Dec. 3. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at the Alamodome