UTSA forced three turnovers and Kevorian Barnes rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns to help the Roadrunners become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season with a 37-29 victory over North Texas in American Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon at DATCU Stadium.
The Roadrunners ran their winning streak to five games and their record to 6-3 on the season, staying in a tie atop the league standings at 5-0. UTSA also extended its stretch of wins against conference opponents to 15, including 13 in a row in the regular season and seven straight on the road.
UTSA came up with three takeaways, including key second-half interceptions by Trey Moore and Donyai Taylor that helped thwart Mean Green drives deep into Roadrunners territory.
Armed with a 27-13 halftime advantage, UTSA withstood a rally to win its third straight against North Texas (3-6, 1-4).
Moore came up with his first interception of the season on a pass that was deflected by Nick Booker-Brown at the line of scrimmage in plus territory. That pick ended an interception-free streak of 288 consecutive passes thrown by UNT quarterback Chandler Rogers. Allen then knocked through his third field goal of the afternoon from 28 yards to push the lead to 30-13 with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
The Mean Green opened the final frame by pulling to within 30-21 after Blair Conwright hauled in a 20-yard TD pass followed by a two-point conversion reception by Trey Cleveland with 14:01 left to play.
Later in the fourth, UNT was driving deep into UTSA’s side of the field, but the defense again came up with an interception off a deflected pass, this time a batted ball by Martavius French that was collected in midair by Taylor and returned 78 yards to the Mean Green 9-yard line. Two plays later, Barnes bulled his way into the end zone for his second TD of the afternoon and Allen’s PAT made it 37-21 with 9:32 on the clock.
Cleveland caught a TD pass with just under six minutes left to play and the two-point conversion attempt was good on a QB keeper by Rogers to cut the deficit to 37-29, but the Roadrunners ran out the clock on the ensuing possession to secure the win.
UTSA piled up a season-high 287 rushing yards as part of a 421-yard output for the offense on the strength of Barnes’ third 100-yard game of the season. Rocko Griffin added 65 yards and a TD on 10 carries, Robert Henry tacked on 43 and a score on 10 totes and Frank Harris dashed for 53 yards while throwing for 134.
Meanwhile, Ken Robinson led the defense with six tackles, while Kam Alexander, Elliott Davison, French, Jimmori Robinson and Rashad Wisdom added five apiece. Wisdom, who broke UTSA’s career tackles record today, had one of three sacks on the day, joining Brandon Brown and Brandon Matterson, as the Roadrunners recorded five total stops behind the line.
UTSA flexed its muscle on the ground on its opening possession, marching 62 yards for the game’s first touchdown with Barnes supplying 51 of the yards, the last three on a dash up the middle to paydirt.
The defense came up with a takeaway on UNT’s next drive deep inside UTSA territory. Wisdom forced a fumble that was recovered by Trumane Bell II at the 5-yard line. The Roadrunners then padded their lead on a 40-yard field goal by Chase Allen at the 4:15 mark of the opening period.
The Mean Green got on the board on the first play of the second stanza when Noah Rauschenberg drilled a 25-yard field goal to cap a 14-play, 67-yard drive.
The Roadrunners responded with a 75-yard scoring drive that ended with an 11-yard TD scamper by Henry. Allen’s PAT made it 17-3 with 12:09 left in the opening half.
Oscar Adaway III got loose for a 32-yard touchdown dash up the middle on UNT’s next possession to pull the home team to within seven.
UTSA pushed its advantage back to two scores with 3:38 left to play in the second quarter when Griffin reached paydirt from seven yards to put an exclamation point on a 12-play, 75-yard drive.
The two teams traded field goals in the final minute of the half as Rauschenberg was good from 33 yards with 52 seconds on the clock and Allen split the uprights from 43 as time expired to make it 27-13 in favor of the visitors.
Rogers passed for 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead UNT, while Ayo Adeyi rushed for 105.
The Roadrunners will return home to host Rice next Saturday, Nov. 11. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Alamodome.