North Texas Daily

Football’s conference win streak snapped by Texas-San Antonio

Football’s conference win streak snapped by Texas-San Antonio

Football’s conference win streak snapped by Texas-San Antonio
October 23
16:31 2022

Football had its eight-game Conference USA win streak broken by the University of Texas-San Antonio by a score of 31-27 on Saturday.

A  drive led by redshirt senior quarterback Frank Harris in the final 1:28 of the contest won the game for Texas-San Antonio (6-2, 4-0 C-USA).  The game-winning drive followed a late scoring drive by North Texas (4-4, 3-1 C-USA) in a back-and-forth game.

“It is devastating honestly,” junior linebacker Mazin Richards said. “The preparation we had throughout the week and the momentum we have been building the last couple of weeks, we felt like we earned that game — we had it, it came down to the last play.”

Sophomore defensive back Ridge Texada got North Texas started by picking Harris on the third play of the game. Senior kicker Ethan Mooney turned the interception into three points with a 49-yard field goal. 

Richards sacked Harris on Texas-San Antonio’s next drive for a six-yard loss. Sophomore defensive lineman Enoch Jackson recorded his first sack of the season on fourth and eight, causing a turnover on downs for the Roadrunners. 

After a three-and-out from the Mean Green offense, Richards got another sack with help from sophomore defensive lineman Tom Trieb. The drive ended with a missed field goal by Texas-San Antonio.

On the following drive, junior quarterback Austin Aune completed a 58-yard pass to junior receiver Jyaire Shorter to set up another Mooney field goal. The only other score in the half was a 32-yard field goal from Roadrunners redshirt senior kicker Jared Sackett. 

Texas-San Antonio was driving late in the second quarter when Harris completed a pass to senior receiver Joshua Cephus with eight seconds left. Having no timeouts, the Roadrunners ran to snap the ball, but the clock had inadvertently stopped and allowed them time to spike the ball and stop the clock. After review, the officials deemed the clock stoppage was a mistake as they ended the half.

The second half featured seven combined touchdowns after none in the first half. Aune threw an interception on the third play of the Mean Green’s opening drive. Texas-San Antonio senior running back Brendon Brady capitalized with a touchdown run to give the Roadrunners their first lead of the game.

North Texas responded with a three-play touchdown drive capped off by a 19-yard touchdown catch by sophomore tight end Jake Roberts. Aune hit junior receiver Roderic Burns for a 54-yard gain the play before to set up the score. Burns led the team in receiving with six catches for 139 yards. 

Brady ran in another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to take a 17-13 lead for Texas-San Antonio. The Mean Green countered with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Aune to redshirt freshman tight end Var’Keyes Gumms. 

With 2:31 left to play, Harris found Cephus for a touchdown, giving the Roadrunners a  24-20 advantage. Aune answered by completing a 46-yard pass to Gumms, putting the Mean Green at the Texas-San Antonio three-yard line. Sophomore running back Isaiah Johnson scored from a yard out on a shovel pass, completing the 50-second drive and giving North Texas a 27-24 lead. 

“When it is crunch time, you sink into your preparations,” Roberts said. “You do not rise to the occasion — that stuff we practice, we did not have to do anything superhuman.”

Getting the ball back with 1:28 to play and no timeouts, Harris and the Roadrunners started at their own 25. A Harris keeper to midfield followed by a short rush and an incomplete pass set up a short-yardage fourth down at the Mean Green 47. A quick pass to senior receiver Zakhari Franklin appeared to be short of the line of gain, which would have given North Texas the victory. The Mean Green sideline and on-field players began celebrating what they thought was a win.

“They said it was not a stop, so I have to believe what they call off the review,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “I thought we had it, I thought we did.”

After Franklin was ruled past the first down marker, Texas-San Antonio completed two quick plays — a pass up the seam and a fade into the end zone to senior receiver De’Corian Clark with 15 seconds left — to win the game. Harris finished with 341 total yards — 238 through the air and 103 rushing.

Aune threw for 325 yards, three touchdowns and completed 15 of his 31 throws. Brady ran for 112 of the Roadrunner’s 257 ground yards and two touchdowns, while Harris threw for 238 yards and two scores. 

“We are resilient,” Richards said. “Five weeks later we are right back playing those guys [in the conference championship] for sure.”

Image Source: UTEP Athletics

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James Carroll

James Carroll

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