Vanderbilt 19, North Texas 7
DENTON, Texas (AP) _ Damian Allen threw for a career-high 251 yards and Brett Speakman kicked two 43-yard field goals as Vanderbilt defeated North Texas 19-7 Saturday for its first victory of the season.
The Commodores (1-4) snapped a six-game losing streak by winning for the first time since Nov. 11, 1995. The Eagles (2-4) dropped to 4-13 since joining Division I-A last season.
Both teams were very sloppy in the first half, but Vanderbilt overcame its woes to lead 10-0 at halftime behind a 5-yard touchdown run by Jason Dunnavant and Speakman’s first 43-yarder, a low line drive into the wind.
Speakman’s second 43-yarder, a high pop that barely cleared the crossbar, capped the Commodores’ first drive of the third quarter. They scored again on their next drive but missed a two-point conversion to lead 19-0.
With Vanderbilt heading toward its first shutout of a Division I-A school since 1982, North Texas finally began moving the ball late in the third quarter. That drive ended with Hut Allred’s 2-yard touchdown 58 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles were on the move again on their next possession until Jason Mills was intercepted in the end zone by Ainsley Battles with 7:06 left.
Vanderbilt opened the game relying on running back Alvin Dukes, but he couldn’t get anything going. Allen also struggled until he hit freshman Todd Yoder for a 50-yard pass on the first play of the second quarter.
From then on, Dunnavant was the featured back. His success opened the passing lanes for Allen, who had career-highs for completions (20) and attempts (34). He wasn’t intercepted in the best day for a Vanderbilt quarterback since 1994.
On the two third quarter scoring drives that broke the game open, Allen was 9-of-10 for 107 yards, capping it with a 13-yard touchdown to Yoder in the back left corner of the end zone.
The Eagles, meanwhile, were pathetic for the first three quarters. Their only highlight was a school-record 92-yard punt by Toby Gowin in the first quarter.
The lowlights: They muffed the opening kickoff, then fumbled it away. It took them 20 minutes to get a first down and they had only three after three quarters. They went into the fourth quarter with 60 yards of offense and 76 yards of penalties, including illegal procedure on their first snap of the third quarter.
Their fans must have expected the disappointment as only 16,227 decided to spend the cool, cloudless afternoon at Fouts Field.