TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (9/14/02) Alabama scored two second-half touchdowns and held North Texas scoreless the last two periods to break open a close game and roll to a 33-7 win over the Mean Green Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama (2-1) scored on a 42-yard run midway through the third period and then capped off the win with a 48-yard scoring drive with 3:58 left in regulation to drop North Texas to 1-2.
“Offensively, there were some signs of improvement tonight,” said North Texas head coach Darrell Dickey. “We moved the ball. But they’ve got a good defense and some of our drives stalled and the results weren’t what we wanted.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Smith started for the second consecutive week and connected for the first touchdown pass of his career for the Mean Green’s only score in the game. Smith, who completed nine of 18 passes for 70 yards, also was North Texas’ second-leading rusher with 43 yards on nine carries.
Smith’s three-yard TD pass to George Marshall in the second quarter came three plays after a Donovan Wright recovery of an Alabama fumble and pulled North Texas to within 12-7 with 4:57 remaining before halftime.
“I was pleased with the way Andrew played,” said Dickey. “He made some plays tonight. But regardless of who plays quarterback, we’ve got to have some others step up and make plays to help the offense out.”
Sophomore running back Patrick Cobbs led the Mean Green’s rushing attack with 58 yards on 14 carries while senior Kevin Galbreath finished with 28 yards on 12 carries.
After missing a field goal on their first possession of the second half, the Crimson Tide scored on a 42-yard draw play with 7:36 left in the third quarter to build their lead to 26-7.
Then in the fourth quarter, Alabama put together a 48-yard drive that reeled of 4:07 of clock time, scoring on a five-yard run that put the score at 33-7.
North Texas trailed by 19-7 at halftime and it could have been a wider gap if not for Don McGee’s interception in the end zone with just six seconds left in the second quarter. McGee grabbed his first interception of the season and stopped a Tide third-down pass play, returning it back to the 39-yard line.
The Tide had taken the 12-point lead two minutes earlier when they finished off a 72-yard, five-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run with 2:38 left before halftime.
North Texas forced three Alabama turnovers in the opening half, including interceptions by McGee and Jonas Buckles and the fumble recovery by Wright. It was Wright’s recovery at the Tide five-yard line with 5:51 left in the second quarter that set up North Texas’ lone score in the first half.
It took the Mean Green just three plays to score, with Smith hooking up with Marshall on a three-yard TD pass play to pull to within 12-7 with 4:57 left before halftime. It was Smith’s first collegiate touchdown pass and the 14th career touchdown reception for Marshall.
North Texas’ other scoring opportunity in the opening half came in the first quarter when the Mean Green put together a 14-play drive that ended up with Nick Bazaldua missing a 22-yard field goal try with 4:09 left in the period.
An Alabama field goal on its opening series and another FG early in the second quarter gave the Tide a 6-0 lead before a lost fumble by NT’s Kevin Galbreath at the Mean Green 26-yard line led to the Tide’s first touchdown. Two plays after recovering Galbreath’s fumble, the Tide scored on a two-yard run to go up 12-0.