College Football

North Texas Ends No. 15 UTSA's Bid for Perfect Season in Blowout

After a 1-6 start, the Mean Green have won five straight games

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Grayson Murphy #9 and Gabriel Murphy #11 of the North Texas Mean Green celebrate after sacking quarterback Josh Adkins #8 of the UTSA Roadrunners in the third quarter at Apogee Stadium on Nov. 27, 2021 in Denton, Texas.

No. 15 UTSA's undefeated season ended in a blowout as North Texas running backs DeAndre Torrey and Ikaika Ragsdale combined for five touchdowns in a 45-23 rout of the Roadrunners on Saturday.

Quarterback Frank Harris had two of UTSA's three lost fumbles among six overall before sitting the second half at UNT's rain-soaked Apogee Stadium, a 10-year-old facility where a Top 25 team had never played.

UTSA (11-1, 7-1 Conference USA), which never started with more than five consecutive wins in the program's first nine seasons, is still hosting the conference championship game Friday night against either Western Kentucky or Marshall. No. 1 Georgia and fourth-ranked Cincinnati are the remaining undefeated FBS teams.

The Roadrunners, ranked 10th nationally in rushing defense, had given up six touchdowns on the ground all season. The Mean Green (6-6, 5-3) matched that late in the third quarter of their fifth consecutive victory that followed a six-game losing streak as UNT earned bowl eligibility.

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Ragsdale, a redshirt freshman, had a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns as North Texas' conference-leading rushing offense finished with 340 yards a week after UTSA allowed its previous season-high of 220 in a last-second victory over UAB.

Torrey's third and final TD run was a spectacular 19-yarder where he broke a tackle in the backfield and dashed between two more defenders while still behind the line. He finished with 108 yards, easily outplaying UTSA's Sincere McCormick (60 yards) in a matchup of two of the top 10 active career rushers in FBS.

The Roadrunners were called for pass interference on their first defensive play, fumbled the kickoff after North Texas drove to an opening field goal and muffed two punts, losing possession on the first.

Harris' 69-yard touchdown run pulled UTSA within 17-13 in the second quarter, but the senior later lost a fumble when he dropped the slick ball trying to make a quick throw on third down. Torrey's dazzling 19-yard score came two plays later as part of 28 consecutive points for UNT.

Josh Adkins replaced Harris to start the second half, but the Roadrunners were hopelessly behind before the offense finally got moving again on a 56-yard run by Brenden Brady early in the fourth quarter.

THE TAKEAWAY
UTSA: Regardless of the wet conditions, the Roadrunners didn't protect their quarterbacks. The Mean Green had five sacks of Harris and Adkins, and both were running from quick pressure plenty of other times.

North Texas: Coach Seth Littrell's future was in question after the losing streak put the Mean Green at 1-6. Not so much now after UNT improved to 2-47 against ranked opponents. The only other victory was 14-9 over No. 20 San Diego State on Nov. 2, 1974, at old Fouts Field, which was across the interstate from the new stadium.

UP NEXT
UTSA: The Western Kentucky-Marshall winner from late Saturday advances to the conference championship game.

North Texas: The Mean Green will await word on a bowl bid that wasn't even a consideration a month ago.

Copyright Associated Press