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Football upsets No. 22 UTSA 45-23, gains bowl eligibility

Football upsets No. 22 UTSA 45-23, gains bowl eligibility

Football upsets No. 22 UTSA 45-23, gains bowl eligibility
November 27
19:47 2021

After starting 1-6 this season, North Texas football reached bowl eligibility Saturday afternoon with their sixth win of the season over No. 22 the University of Texas-San Antonio.

The win was North Texas’ first win over a ranked opponent since 1974 when the Mean Green defeated No. 19 ranked San Diego State University at Fouts Field behind legendary head coach Hayden Fry.

Coming into the game 11-0, UTSA (11-1, 7-1 Conference USA) were favored by -8.5.

North Texas (6-6, 5-3 C-USA) beat the line, winning by a score of 45-23, continuing their dominance on the ground by compiling 340 total rushing yards for six touchdowns.

“All the adversity we’ve faced throughout the year, it’s been a real challenge and these guys stuck together,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

After receiving the ball to start the game, North Texas got on the board first with a 34-yard field goal courtesy of junior kicker Ethan Mooney.

On the ensuing kickoff, Mooney would then make an impact with his athleticism, as the kicker ran down the field and recovered his own kick off of a UTSA fumble forced by sophomore defensive back Keelan Crosby.

Senior running back DeAndre Torrey would extend the Mean Green’s lead to 10 with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

The Roadrunners cut the North Texas lead to one possession with 5:05 to go in the first quarter with a 29-yard field goal off the foot of senior kicker Hunter Duplessis.

Responding immediately, the Mean Green got on the board once again with Torrey’s second rushing touchdown of the game.

A tumultuous first quarter ended with North Texas holding a 17-3 lead over the No. 22 ranked team in the College Football Playoff.

Duplessis scored the first points of the second quarter with his second made field goal of the game.

UTSA showed life with 8:20 to go in the half when senior quarterback Frank Harris took the ball 69-yards for the Roadrunners’ first touchdown of the contest.

Freshman running back Ikaika Ragsdale dominated the following drive, pushing North Texas up the field before finishing the drive with a 15-yard rush in which the Las Vegas native blasted through the defensive line and accelerated.

UTSA’s fumble troubles continue right before the half as Harris dropped a snap which was recovered by redshirt freshman defensive lineman Gabriel Murphy. Torrey scored his third touchdown of the half as a result of the turnover.

North Texas went into halftime with a 31-13 lead.

“From the first run play, we set the tone,” Torrey said. “Our emphasis this week was just hitting somebody in the mouth, [and] if you keep hitting them in the mouth, they’ll lay down.”

North Texas did not take their foot off the gas in the third quarter with a 14-0 run with two rushing touchdowns–Ragsdale’s second and freshman running back Ayo Adeyi’s first, which was a 42-yard blast.

Holding a sizeable lead, the Mean Green coasted the victory in the fourth quarter, surrendering a touchdown and field goal before the game’s end.

Elation was evident as North Texas players flooded from the sideline, rolling and sliding on the wet, soggy field.

For many on the Mean Green, the game was their last in the green and white. Fifth-year senior Dion Novil relished the moment, waving a large North Texas flag as “Glory to The Green and White” serenaded the team.

“This group of seniors is one of the biggest reasons we didn’t quit,” sophomore quarterback Austin Aune said. “They didn’t let the younger guys quit…they didn’t let the older guys quit.”

From 1-6 to 6-6 via way of a five-game winning streak, North Texas football is now bowl bound.

“Coming into this week having to win this game against a ranked opponent in order to get bowl eligible…it was special,” Littrell said with his family looking on. “It’s been a lot of fun to work with these guys.”

Featured Image:Mean Green quarterback Austin Aune (2) dives for the end zone at Apogee Stadium on Nov. 13, 2021. Photo by Zach Del Bello

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

Senior Sports Writer.

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