North Texas Daily

ICYMI: Football back in the win column after defeating Texas Southern

ICYMI: Football back in the win column after defeating Texas Southern

ICYMI: Football back in the win column after defeating Texas Southern
September 12
10:02 2022

After losing in week one to Southern Methodist University, football defeated Texas Southern University 59-27 at home Saturday night.

“Taking the next step after a loss is always challenging,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “I felt like our kids responded this week. I thought it was a good bounce back.”

North Texas (2-1, 1-0 Conference USA) capped its first drive with a 44-yard field goal from senior kicker Ethan Mooney. Redshirt freshman linebacker Sifa Leota recorded his first tackle and sack of his career when he brought down sophomore Tigers quarterback Andrew Body and forced a punt.

In the following play, sophomore running back Ayo Adeyi ran for a 59-yard touchdown to give the Mean Green an early 10-0 lead. Adeyi’s run was the longest score of his career and his first touchdown of the season.

Texas Southern (0-2, 0-1 SWAC) responded with a field goal of its own. In turn, the Mean Green countered with a 35-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Austin Aune to redshirt freshman receiver Ja’Mori Maclin on the first play of the second quarter.

The two teams traded touchdowns on the next four possessions, starting with a 39-yard score from junior running back Ladarius Owens. Aune came back with another touchdown pass, this time to junior receiver Jyaire Shorter. The catch was Shorter’s first touchdown since 2019 after being sidelined due to an injury three games into the 2020 season.

The Tigers marched down the field on their next drive and scored on a pass that was deflected into the hands of junior receiver AJ Bennett in the end zone. Aune followed with a 70-yard touchdown to junior receiver Roderic Burns, the longest catch of his career. Burns has now recorded a catch in 19 consecutive games.

Sophomore running back Oscar Adaway III’s two short-yardage touchdowns came before the end of the second half, extending the lead to 45-17 at halftime. Adaway finished with 85 yards in the contest.

The second half featured some North Texas players further down the depth chart, such as freshman running back Preston Landis. North Texas sophomore quarterback Grant Gunnell entered the game in the third quarter, finishing the night 2-for-4 with an interception. 

“The more guys you can rely on the better you are,” Littrell said. “[We have] got to continue to help those guys grow and coach them up. It’s awesome watching some of these guys get some of their first reps and seeing how they react, it’s fun.”

The Mean Green defense allowed 10 points in the second half, a one yard touchdown rush from junior Tiger running back Jacorey Howard and a 39-yard field goal from junior kicker Richard Garcia. North Texas tallied one turnover and 81 tackles on the day, 15 of which came from junior linebacker Larry Nixon III.

“[The win] gets confidence growing,” Nixon said. “I know we’re ready for next week now.”

Offensively, the team totaled 607 yards, 348 of which came on the ground. Adeyi led the charge with 135 yards. Aune finished with 218 yards and four touchdowns.

North Texas faces the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in week three with its first winning record through three games since 2018.

Featured Image: North Texas Wide Receiver Damon Ward runs with the ball against Texas Southern Tigers at Apogee Stadium on Sept. 10, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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James Carroll

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