By SCHUYLER DIXON, AP sports writer
DENTON, TX (AP) – An unbeaten season eluded No.15 UTSA on a rainy Saturday in the Dallas area.
The Roadrunners didn’t seem too surprised.
Whether it was losing three fumbles early on a smooth ball or playing a hot opponent a week after staying perfect on a last second touchdown, UTSA coach Jeff Traylor felt the odds were on the rise. aggravated.
North Texas backs DeAndre Torrey and Ikaika Ragsdale combined for five touchdowns while UTSA quarterback Frank Harris had two turnovers and did not play after halftime in Mean Green’s 45-23 rout against the Roadrunners.
“I think human nature is that we probably weren’t as bloated as last week,” said Traylor, referring to a 34-31 win over UAB. “But it wasn’t like a bad effort. There were ten of them and we probably played eight. And if you flip it three times in bad weather you’re going to be embarrassed, which we did today.
UTSA (11-1, 7-1 Conference USA), which has never started with more than five straight wins in FBS’s first nine seasons, still host the Conference Championship game on Friday night against Western Kentucky. , who beat Marshall 53-21 with the East Division spot on the line.
Georgia No. 1 and Cincinnati, fourth, are the last undefeated FBS teams.
“Nobody wanted us to go undefeated more,” said Traylor. “So it hurts a lot. But we still have everything to play. “
The Roadrunners, ranked 10th nationally in ground defense, had allowed six rushing touchdowns all season. North Texas (6-6, 5-3) tied that at the end of the third quarter for a fifth straight win after a six-game losing streak.
Mean Green earned bowl eligibility in the first game involving a Top 25 team at their 10-year-old stadium.
“This is the biggest win I’ve had and we’ve had as a program,” said sixth-year coach Seth Littrell, whose future was in question when his team had a record. from 1-6. “Just a ranked opponent coming here and we need this win to be bowl eligible.”
Ragsdale, a freshman in a red shirt, recorded a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns as the North Texas running offense finished with 340 yards per week after UTSA allowed its high of the previous season of 220 in a last second victory over UAB.
Torrey’s third and final TD was a spectacular 19 yards where he smashed a tackle in the backfield and rushed between two other defensemen while still behind the line. He finished with 108 yards, easily outscoring UTSA’s Sincere McCormick (60 yards) in a clash of two of FBS’s top 10 career active rushers.
The Roadrunners were called up for passing interference in their first defensive play, missed the kickoff after North Texas led to a first basket and missed two punters, losing possession on the first. UTSA had six fumbles in total.
“I did my best to prepare these guys,” Traylor said. “And I didn’t prepare them. We are extremely hampered by our performance.
Harris’ 69-yard touchdown rush brought UTSA down to 17-13 in the second quarter, but the senior then lost a fumble when he dropped the smooth ball trying to make a quick pitch on the third down. Torrey’s dazzling 19-yard score came two games later as part of 28 straight points for UNT.
Josh Adkins replaced Harris to start the second half, but the Roadrunners were desperately behind before the offense finally got back on track on a 56-yard rush from Brenden Brady early in the fourth quarter.
UTSA: Whatever the wet conditions, the Roadrunners did not protect their quarters. The Mean Green had five sacks from Harris and Adkins, and both were fleeing rapid pressure numerous other times.
North Texas: Littrell likely secured his immediate future after UNT improved to 2-47 against ranked opponents. The only other victory was 14-9 over San Diego State No.20 on November 2, 1974, at the old Fouts Field, which was across the highway from Apogee Stadium. Littrell at 37-37.
Six weeks after securing the first ranking in the program’s history, UTSA appears to be able to stay in the poll for at least one more week. The ranking of the college football qualifiers is another story. The Roadrunners were snubbed the first week and No. 22 on the current roster. They are likely to be unclassified again.
Traylor said Harris’ health was not the reason Adkins took over in the second half. But he has been evasive about its incumbent’s status in the future.
“Frank’s status is a concern every day because of the way he trains, the way he plays,” said Traylor. “It was a game decision every night that I coached him. It’s always a game time decision, but the sucker is still there. He was crushed, I took him out of the game. I mean, bawl, my head on my shoulders.
UTSA: The Roadrunners beat the Hilltoppers 52-46 on the road in October to go 6-0 for the first time in program history.
North Texas: The Mean Green will be waiting for word on a bowl offer that wasn’t even considered a month ago.
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