Late FG lifts North Texas to wild 52-49 victory over Army
DENTON, Texas (AP) — Ahmad Bradshaw would have preferred to win Army’s rubber match against North Texas over getting his second 200-yard rushing game in three weeks.
The senior quarterback had to settle for the numbers Saturday night.
Trevor Moore kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to give North Texas a wild 52-49 victory over the Black Knights, ending Army’s six-game winning streak.
Mason Fine threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns, including a quick 10-yard sideline toss with no timeouts left to get the Mean Green (8-3) a little closer for Moore’s winning kick.
The longest winning streak for Army (8-3) since 1996 ended despite 244 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Bradshaw, who set Army’s single-season rushing record at 1,472 yards, breaking Collin Mooney’s 9-year-old record of 1,339.
“My most important thing is winning football games,” Bradshaw said. “If I have zero yards and we win the game, I’ll be happier than having a million yards and losing the game.”
North Texas never trailed in a game that was tied four times in the second half as the Mean Green won in the third meeting between the schools in 13 months.
The Mean Green, who have already wrapped up the West Division title in Conference USA, won big at Army last season before the Black Knights answered with an overtime victory in the Heart of Dallas Bowl last December.
“It was kind of weird,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve never played a team this many times in two football seasons. It’s been a good one. They know us well. We know them well. It’s been fun to play them.”
After Fine put North Texas ahead with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Turner Smiley, Bradshaw completed his only pass of the game, a 27-yarder to John Trainor that set up Andy Davidson’s 1-yard plunge with 1:23 remaining. It was Davidson’s second TD in the final 6 minutes.
Fine led the Mean Green 46 yards to the winning field goal, converting a pair of third downs with a run and a throw.
“It’s now a thrill to be a part of,” said second-year UNT coach Seth Littrell, emphasis on “now” since the game was over. “Playing in games like that, they’re not very good on your health I don’t believe.”
The teams traded three touchdowns after the Black Knights erased a 28-13 deficit, the tying points coming on Bradshaw’s 2-point conversion run following Fred Cooper Jr.’s 17-yard run on the opening drive of the second half.
Darnell Woolfolk’s second TD run pulled Army even at 35-all early in the fourth before Nic Smith’s 3-yarder put the Mean Green back in front. The Black Knights tied it again on Davidson’s first scoring run.
Woolfolk had 120 yards rushing, and Smiley had three catches for 123 yards and two scores.
Army: These sorts of high-scoring games aren’t the norm for the option-based Black Knights. But Bradshaw helped turn it into an explosive game with five runs of at least 22 yards. He finished 21 yards shy of his career-high 265 two weeks ago against Air Force.
North Texas: Fine left little doubt that the Mean Green are in good shape at quarterback for the next couple of years, barring injury. The sophomore now has the school single-season record at 3,198 yards passing. He broke Mitch Maher’s record of 3,103 yards from 1994.
The Black Knights were looking to avenge a blowout loss at home to the Mean Green last season. Instead, North Texas matched Army’s 6-0 home record this season. The Black Knights were unbeaten at West Point for the first time in 21 years. Littrell said a perfect home record was one of the goals UNT set before the season.
LET’S TRY THAT AGAIN
North Texas punted to start the second quarter, and Mike Reynolds fielded it for a short return. Officials ruled that the clock didn’t start for the punt and ordered a re-kick. Reynolds muffed it, Taylor Robinson recovered at the 7 and Jeffery Wilson scored on the next play for a 21-7 UNT lead.
Army: A three-week break before Army-Navy on Dec. 9 at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, and then a return to the Dallas area for the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth. The Black Knights have already accepted an invitation.
North Texas: The regular-season finale at Rice next Saturday before the C-USA championship game Dec. 2 at East champion Florida Atlantic.