Aired on KNTU Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016
Final score — UTSA 31 UNT 17
SAN ANTONIO (KNTU) Bowl hopes remained alive for North Texas, but there was a major hit when the Mean Green (4-4, 2-2) committed a season high four turnovers and struggled to get running back Jeffrey Wilson going in a 31-17 loss to the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Wilson was held to just 43 yards on 19 carries for a meager 2.3 yards per carry average. He also failed to score a touchdown.
UTSA (4-4, 3-2) rode a solid performance from running back Jalen Rhodes, who racked up 74 yards on the ground along with two touchdowns. Quarterback Dalton Sturm also had a successful night, going 10/19 through the air with a pair of scores.
The win was big for a fatigued UTSA team, which is just two wins away from being bowl eligible for the first time in school history despite losing 52-49 in five overtimes a week earlier against UTEP.
The Roadrunners struck first with 5:34 to play in the opening quarter on a 7-yard pass from Sturm to wideout Kerry Thomas Jr., the only score for either school in the first frame.
UTSA made it 14-0 less than four minutes into the second quarter after Sturm connected with Josh Stewart for a 21-yard touchdown.
The 14-0 mark would stand up to halftime, the first time since a 32-0 loss against Florida that North Texas was shut out in a half and just the second time all season.
However, on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, North Texas tacked on its first touchdown of the game thanks to an 80-yard run from true freshman quarterback Mason Fine.
Fine finished as the leading rusher for the Mean Green, picking up 91 yards on 12 carries. His 80-yard scoring run was also the longest of the year for North Texas by any player.
UTSA responded less than four minutes later with a 33-yard field goal from kicker Victor Falcon. Then it wasn’t too long before Rhodes punched in a 9-yard score to extend the Roadrunners lead to 24-7.
North Texas kicker Trevor Moore connected on a 20-yard chip shot field goal in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to cut the UTSA lead to 24-10, though Rhodes added another score for the Roadrunners with 9:51 left in the game to put UTSA on top 31-10.
Mean Green wideout Kenny Buyers collected a 10-yard pass from Fine with just less than six minutes to play in the game to pull within 14.
On the ensuing kickoff, North Texas recovered a onside kick and pressed down the field thanks to three quick pass completions and a targeting penalty on UTSA that resulted in the ejection of Roadrunners’ defensive lineman Marcus Davenport.
However, an offensive pass interference called on North Texas in the end zone slowed and eventually killed the North Texas drive, allowing UTSA to avoid a scare and clinch the victory.
North Texas returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 5, when Louisiana Tech will be in Denton to play at Apogee Stadium.