DENTON (10/5/02) South Florida scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and then held off a comeback effort by the Mean Green as the Bulls downed North Texas, 24-17, at Fouts Field on Saturday night.
The Mean Green were down 10-7 at halftime but tied the game in the third quarter on a 38-yard Nick Bazaldua field goal. Then South Florida (3-2) scored twice in the fourth period before UNT scored its final TD to knock the Mean Green to 1-5 for the season.
After redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Smith connected with Ja’Mel Branch for a 35-yard scoring pass play with 8:38 left in the fourth quarter, any comeback North Texas tried to mount was stopped when the Mean Green suffered turnovers on its final three offensive possessions of the game.
Smith got intercepted three times and fumbled once in the game. He finished completing 8 of 23 passes for 114 yards. Two of those interceptions ended drives in the fourth quarter and his fumble stopped the Mean Green on its first series following the fourth-quarter TD.
The Bulls held North Texas to 84 yards rushing, with Kevin Galbreath who scored UNT’s first touchdown on an 11-yard run in the second quarter leading the way with 16 carries for 50 yards. Branch carried four times for 33 yards.
South Florida took a 10-0 lead late in the second quarter with a first-period touchdown pass and a 21-yard field goal with 2:21 remaining before halftime.
North Texas’ Andy Blount returned the following kickoff 33 yards to the USF 39 and the Mean Green drove the distance in four plays with Galbreath covering the final 11 with his touchdown run with 1:10 left before halftime.
Bazaldua’s field goal knotted the score early in the third quarter before USF scored on its first two possessions of the fourth quarter. A 44-yard touchdown pass two minutes into the fourth quarter broke the tie score and a short two-yard run capped off another scoring drive with 9:41 left.