North Texas Daily

Football ends six game skid versus Rice Saturday afternoon

Football ends six game skid versus Rice Saturday afternoon

Football ends six game skid versus Rice Saturday afternoon
November 02
15:54 2021

North Texas ended their six-game skid Saturday afternoon, outlasting Rice University 30-24 in an overtime shootout. 

The Mean Green were short in the secondary after losing junior defensive backs Quinn Whitlock and John Davis to injury versus Liberty, North Texas’ (2-6, 1-3 Conference USA) defense still found a way to hold the Rice offense to 24 points. 

The defensive performance against Rice (3-5, 2-2 C-USA) was led by junior linebacker KD Davis, who recorded a career high 18 tackles on the day.

“I wanted to be on defense because I want to set the tone and show them that we can get the stops,” Davis said. “It was a great feeling just going out there and getting the stops.”

After a slow offensive start to the game for both teams, North Texas took a slim 3-0 win into the second quarter, with the field goal coming off the foot of junior kicker Ethan Mooney after the veteran missed last week. 

Wiley Green would exit for Rice in an air cast after a sack in the first quarter. Green left the game on a cart, surrounded by players on both teams. Jake Constantine played in Green’s place for the remainder of the game. 

The second quarter was dominated by a Rice possession that saw the Owls run 19 plays and take 12 minutes off the clock. After a pass interference call on freshman defensive back Ridge Texada, Rice had the ball at the North Texas eight. Multiple penalties on both squads, including two unsportsmanlike penalties on North Texas that followed two third-down stops would result in Rice running 12 plays on goal down before settling for a field goal. 

With the North Texas offense patiently waiting to retake the field and lead on the sidelines, sophomore quarterback Austin Aune said that the offense stayed prepared.

“We just had to stay locked in,” Aune said about the long Rice drive. “That’s how they play, so we just had to stay locked in and stay loose on the sidelines.”

The Mean Green offense ran the two-minute drill once the offense got the ball back, marching down the field with Aune connecting with sophomore Bryson Jackson II for 38-yards to get into the redzone. With 15 seconds remaining in the half, senior running back DeAndre Torrey punched the ball in to give North Texas the lead going into the half. 

At the 6:45 mark in the third quarter, Rice tied the game at 10 on a Jordan Myers 1-yard rush for a touchdown. 

North Texas responded quickly, driving down the field and finding the endzone with a 5-yard rush by freshman running back Ayo Adeyi. 

The next drive saw sophomore defensive lineman Grayson Murphy leave the game due to injury. Murphy would not return for the remainder of the contest. 

Rice tied the game once again to begin the fourth quarter after wide receiver Jake Bailey caught a 17-yard touchdown from Constantine.

Freshman running back Isaiah Johnson gave North Texas the lead with just over three minutes to go, which would require a quick Owls response. Rice responded, with Constantine finding Cedric Patterson for a 14-yard score with 16 seconds left to tie the game, effectively forcing overtime.

North Texas won the coin toss and decided to play defense first in overtime, a call that proved beneficial for the Mean Green.

Forcing three incomplete passes, the secondary forced Rice to attempt a 48-yard field goal that hooked left.

With a chance to win in a walk-off fashion, North Texas’ offense took the field. After six rushes, the seventh saw Adeyi rush in for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Mean Green a 30-24 victory.

“To be able to help the team get a victory, it’s amazing,” Adeyi said about his game-winning touchdown. “[The victory] gives us more and more confidence to win the rest of the season.”

North Texas travels again this weekend to take on another C-USA competitor, the University of Southern Mississippi. The contest starts at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Featured Image: Mean Green wider receiver Roderic Burns (14) catches the ball at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas on Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Zach Del Bello

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

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