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Wilson bounces back to lead North Texas to bowl-clinching win over La. Tech

Wilson bounces back to lead North Texas to bowl-clinching win over La. Tech

November 04
19:19 2017

It was a situation all too familiar for North Texas. Once again, the Mean Green faced a deficit in the middle of the fourth quarter and again the team stepped up on both sides of the ball.

Having trailed Louisiana Tech University since the 12:17 mark in the second quarter, senior running back Jeffery Wilson regained the lead for North Texas with a 14-yard touchdown run at the 6:04 mark of the fourth quarter.

The score essentially sealed a 24-23 win for the Mean Green on Saturday night in Ruston, Louisiana. Both sides of the ball for the Mean Green (6-3, 5-1) locked in late to secure a bowl-clinching victory.

“It’s a great group that really fights hard,” head coach Seth Littrell said of his team. “We still have a long way to go, but it’s great to get a win on the road and become bowl eligible.”

After Wilson’s touchdown run, senior defensive lineman Andy Flusche broke through for a tackle for loss on the ensuing possession to push La. Tech back to the North Texas 36-yard line with under three minutes left.

The Mean Green forced a missed 53-yard field goal that would have given the Bulldogs a two-point lead, and they took over on downs with 2:39 remaining.

La. Tech (4-5, 2-3) had two timeouts left and both teams knew Wilson would be getting the ball in hopes of running down the clock. In the end, it didn’t matter. Wilson picked up 34 yards in four plays on the final drive, leaving La. Tech helpless as time finally expired.

On a day where sophomore quarterback Mason Fine struggled at times with his accuracy, completing 22-of-36 passes with one interception and one TD, Wilson stepped up to carry the offense.

The star running back bounced back from an anemic performance against Old Dominion University last week to put up his first 100-yard game in the month of November since his freshman season.

Wilson totaled 165 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per carry, and went for two scores.

“That’s a really good defense,” Littrell said. “[Coach] Skip [Holtz] and La. Tech are a really good football team, so getting a win is good enough for me.”

Junior defensive lineman Roderick Young was disruptive, racking up five tackles, three TFL and one sack.

Filling in for an injured Joshua Wheeler, redshirt freshman Joe Ozougwu stepped in and had six tackles in the win.

The Mean Green defense held Louisiana Tech to just six points in the second half. The 23 points is the lowest total North Texas has allowed since its Week 1 win against Lamar University.

“We’ve been a poor third quarter

,” Littrell said. “I felt like we were much better in the [second half]. We won the [third] quarter 7-3, so I’m just really proud of this group.”

After yet another win that came down to the wire, North Texas is staring at a favorable schedule going forward. Its final two conference games come against the University of Texas at El Paso (0-8, 0-4) and Rice University (1-8, 1-4).

With a bowl game in hand, the Mean Green’s new task is staying focused and securing a spot in the conference championship.

“It’s one of our goals preseason to make a bowl game and win it,” Fine said. “We have to be excited to play in practice and games and just finish out the season.”

Featured Image: North Texas senior running back Jeffery Wilson runs into the end zone and scores a touchdown in a game against Old Dominion University on Oct. 28. North Texas defeated ODU 45-38. Sara Carpenter

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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1 Comment

  1. Greg
    Greg November 05, 09:34

    Big win on the road! Let’s hope for a great Homecoming crowd. Go Mean Green!!

    Reply to this comment

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