Owls keep Sun Belt hopes alive with win against North Texas
Florida Atlantic University got its first win of the season tonight, defeating the University of North Texas by a score of 44-40. And the sixth straight win against the Mean Green.
It was a most important victory, as the Owls look to keep hopes alive towards a conference championship.
FAU improves to 1-1 in Sun Belt play, while the Mean Green drops to 0-3.
The victory would be hard fought, as both teams produced season highs in scoring.
FAU amassed a whopping 528 yards on offense for the night, but gave up a concerning 516 yards.
It was all North Texas early on. Behind the running efforts of Lance Dunbar, who had 140 yards in the first half alone, the Mean Green jumped out to a 19-7 lead. Dunbar would end the night with 238 yards rushing.
However, Florida Atlantic used a blistering 30-0 offensive run to take a commanding 37-19 lead to begin the second half.
North Texas quarterback Riley Dodge suffered a high ankle sprain in the second quarter when his leg incidentally rolled under the perusing tackle of FAU defensive lineman Mauricio Riquer. He would not return.
Under back-up quarterback Nathan Tune (11-13, 122 yards), the Mean Green would later close the gap to 37-33 behind a Lance Dunbar 23 yard touch down run in the third quarter.
North Texas eventually moved ahead 40-37.
But the Owl’s offense would prevail in the end.
Rusty Smith was 21-40 and passed for 308 yards and three touchdowns. Normally not a ground threat, one of his touchdowns came on a designed running play.
Florida Atlantic took advantage of field position in route to a number of scores due to poor kicking by the Mean Green, who were hit with three penalties when kicks went out of bounds.
“We were able to pull together, and put together some really good drives. We’re one and one in the conference, and looking forward to next week in Lafayette”, said FAU quarterback Rusty Smith.
Alfred Morris led the Owl’s rushing attack with a career high 147 yards.
North Texas has now lost 14 straight Sun Belt Conference contests.