North Texas Overwhelmed By FAU, 69-31
Mean Green Fall Behind 41-7 In First Half
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Florida Atlantic scored on all seven of its first-half possessions while North Texas gave up three first-half turnovers, plunging the Mean Green into a 41-7 halftime deficit on the way to a 69-31 loss Saturday night at FAU Stadium.
The meeting of Conference USA division leaders was never in doubt. The Mean Green trailed 24-0 at the end of the first quarter, victimized by an Owl offense that ran the fastest offensive tempo North Texas has seen this year. In the first half, the Owls ran 56 plays, rolled up 460 yards total offense, got 109 yards rushing and three touchdowns from running back Devin Singletary, and averaged 8.6 yards per play on first down.
The Mean Green offense, meanwhile, was intercepted twice by FAU, which came into the game leading Conference USA in picks with 10. North Texas wide receiver Jalen Guyton, who came into the game as the top receiver in Conference USA, was held without a catch all day, and C-USA's leading rusher, Jeffery Wilson, was limited to 38 yards in the first half and 49 for the game.
"They had a couple of different wrinkles here and there," North Texas head coach Seth Littrell said. "But overall you just have to give them credit. They were the more excited team. They dominated us up front on both sides of the ball. We dug ourselves a hole and never came out of it."
Wide receiver Michael Lawrence was one of the few bright spots for North Texas, with 11 receptions for 112 yards, both career highs.
The loss, which snaps UNT's three-game win streak, drops the Mean Green (4-3 overall, 3-1 in C-USA play) into a tie for first place in the West Division, although North Texas still controls its own destiny in the race for the division title. FAU (4-3, 4-0) remains tied with Marshall for the top spot in the East.
In the second half, North Texas scored on its first two possessions but FAU's onslaught continued unabated. The Owls had 699 yards total offense - 206 more than North Texas had allowed in a game this year - by the end of the third quarter, finished with 804 yards total offense and scored on its first 11 possessions.
"We got to be able to learn from this," Littrell said. "We've just got to get better. We're nowhere near where we need to be."
- North Texas did not score on its opening drive for just the second time this year. The first was in the come-from-behind win at Southern Miss.
- Junior wide receiver O'Keeron Rutherford had his first receptions of the year, catching three balls for 23 yards, including a 9-yard reception for the first touchdown of his career.
- Senior running back Jeffery Wilson scored a touchdown in third quarter, his 10th of the year and 26th of his career, tying him with Ken Bahnsen (1950-52) for fifth in career rushing TDs at North Texas. He is one TD behind Jamario Thomas for fourth.
- Senior kicker Trevor Moore finished 4-for-4 on points after touchdowns and is 126-for-126 in his career, which ranks fourth nationally among active kickers.
- Moore also kicked a 44-yard field goal early in the third quarter. He is 11-for-12 on the season.
- Fine threw for 283 yards and has 3,651 for his career, good for 8th place on the North Texas career passing list. He is 330 behind Jason Mills for seventh with 3,981.
- Eleven receivers caught passes for the Mean Green.
- Redshirt junior linebacker E.J. Ejiya had a career-high 12 tackles.
- Freshman running back Evan Johnson scored his first career rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
- The 41 first-half points are the most North Texas has allowed in the first half since surrendering 45 to Middle Tennessee in 2008.
- The 69 points allowed are the most since a 77-20 loss at Rice in 2008.
The Mean Green host Old Dominion at Apogee Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 5:30 p.m.