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Texada fuels 45-28 victory for football over Florida Atlantic

Texada fuels 45-28 victory for football over Florida Atlantic

Texada fuels 45-28 victory for football over Florida Atlantic
October 05
19:04 2022

Football defeated Florida Atlantic University 45-28 on Saturday for its seventh-straight Conference USA victory.

“We played good complimentary football,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “We hadn’t really put it together at the same time on all three phases, which I felt like we did a much better job of today.”

North Texas (3-3, 2-0 C-USA) started by forcing a three-and-out on defense then drove 75 yards down the field for a touchdown. Junior quarterback Austin Aune threw the 25-yard score to junior receiver Jyaire Shorter. The pair connected for all three of the Mean Green’s offensive touchdowns in the first half. 

Florida Atlantic (2-4, 1-1 C-USA) responded with a 75-yard drive of its own, capped off with a 12-yard touchdown run from graduate student quarterback N’Kosi Perry. Perry ended with 295 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. 

Sophomore cornerback Ridge Texada returned both of Perry’s picks. The second-year defensive back broke up a potential touchdown to force a 40-yard field goal attempt, which was missed. Texada followed up on the Owl’s next drive with a 58-yard pick-six, the first interception of his career.

“I knew it was coming, I knew I had to make the play,” Texada said. “Soon as [the ball] stuck to my gloves, I had to go to the house with it.”

Following a 53-yard run from sophomore running back Ayo Adeyi later in the second quarter, Aune threw a third touchdown to Shorter from 25 yards out. After Florida Atlantic gave the ball back to North Texas, Aune threw a pick-six to Owl’s junior safety Teja Young. Florida Atlantic scored a touchdown on its next drive with nine seconds left in the first half, making it 28-21 going into halftime. 

North Texas opened the second half with a touchdown drive ending on a direct snap to sophomore running back Ikaika Ragsdale for a one-yard score. Ragsdale led the Mean Green in rushing yards with 119 of the team’s 300. Ragsdale, Adeyi and sophomore running back Oscar Adaway III all rushed for more than 70 yards in the contest. 

“We lost some of our momentum in that half through some of our mistakes,” Littrell said. “That was a big possession for us, got us back to [a] 14 [point lead]. Defense stepped up and made a lot of big-time plays in the second half.”

The Owls’ next drive saw Texada pick off Perry a second time. Texada was brought down one yard short of the end zone on what would have been his second pick-six of the day. 

“It was awesome to see a guy like that make those plays,” Littrell said. “When he got the ball in his hands, I was impressed — he can go a little bit. He used to be a good returner so we may have to get the ball in his hands a little more.”

Sophomore running back Isaiah Johnson finished Texada’s return with a one-yard rush into the end zone to extend the Mean Green lead to 42-21.  The Owls scored one more time on a 13-yard pass from Perry to sophomore receiver LaJohntay Wester, who finished with 10 catches and 113 yards. 

Aune ended the day with 181 passing yards, three touchdowns and a 70 percent completion percentage. Senior middle linebacker KD Davis and right-side linebacker Larry Nixon III complimented Texada’s two pick performance with 10 tackles each. Davis is third in Conference USA in tackles with 43.

North Texas has its bye before playing Louisiana Tech University in Denton on Oct. 15.

Featured Image: Sophomore defensive back Ridge Texada returns his second interception of the day versus Florida Atlantic University on Oct. 1, 2022. Photo by Matt Iaia

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James Carroll

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