DENTON, Texas — The North Texas Mean Green scored with just 10 seconds remaining to slip past the UTSA Roadrunners 29-26 Saturday at Apogee Stadium.
But this wasn’t just any last-second drive.
UTSA had taken the lead on a 46-yard Jalen Rhodes touchdown reception from Dalton Sturm with 5:07 to play. The ensuing drive by North Texas started at the Mean Green 40-yard line, but two minutes and only five yards later, it ended when the hosts turned the ball over on downs.
With just 1:28 to play and starting in Mean Green territory, UTSA needed only to earn a first down to steal a game on the road and head back to San Antonio with a Conference USA win.
Three plays later, however, the Roadrunners were forced to punt from North Texas’ 38-yard line, and UTSA punter Yannis Routsas – who was phenomenal – delivered another beauty pinning the Mean Green on their own 2-yard line. Routsas ended the day with five punts for a 45.6 yard average including three inside the 20-yard line with a 61-yarder as his longest.
Ninety-eight yards from pay dirt needing a touchdown with just 1:07 to play, the Mean Green then calmly went to work. Mason Fine hit Michael Lawrence for eight yards on first down followed by a 10-yard strike to Rico Bussey on 2nd-&-2. After an incompletion on the subsequent first down, Fine connected with Lawrence again on a 49-yarder to set up shop on UTSA’s 31-yard line.
Following a timeout by UTSA, Fine struck once more on first down for nine more yards to Jaelon Darden to make it 2nd-&-1 at UTSA’s 22. Another incompletion followed but on 3rd-&-1, Fine and Bussey hooked up yet again on a 22-yard scoring play. Trevor Moore’s PAT made it 29-26 with just 10 seconds to play.
“The Drive” – North Texas style – ultimately covered 98 yards in just 57 seconds.
UTSA’s last gasp came following the kickoff. A 15-yard Sturm-to-Josh Stewart completion followed by a lateral to Marquez McNair for six yards ate up the final 10 seconds, and the game ended on UTSA’s 46-yard line with North Texas celebrating an improbable come-from-behind victory.
After a 3-0 start, UTSA has now lost two conference games by a total of five points. Games between Rice and UTEP over the next couple of weeks should give the Roadrunners a chance to get back in the win column, however. North Texas, meanwhile, will head back on the road this Saturday to face Florida Atlantic.
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