UNT puts up 31 unanswered in 2nd half to down USM, 38-14
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi jumped out to a 14-0 lead Saturday afternoon at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
As it turned out, the University of North Texas had the Golden Eagles right where it wanted them.
After closing the gap to 14-7 at halftime, the Mean Green outscored USM 31-0 over the final two periods to take a 38-14 Conference USA football victory.
The Golden Eagles (1-8, 0-5 C-USA) lost its seventh consecutive football game, the longest losing streak since the 2013 season.
“It’s just tough, tough times,” USM football coach Will Hall said after the game. “I am so sorry that we’re having to go through this together.”
The Mean Green (3-6, 2-3) won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
USM went up 14-0 halfway through the first quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Lange to receiver Jason Brownlee and a 55-yard interception return by defensive back Jay Stanley.
But for yet another game, the Golden Eagles turned stagnant on offense. That left the defense on the field too long, and UNT took full advantage.
The Mean Green began running the football effectively, and in the second quarter, marched 83 yards to get within 14-7 on Isaiah Johnson’s 8 yard run.
It was more the same in the second half, as the Mean Green scored 21 unanswered points in a 5-minute, 9-second span. Ikaika Ragsdale scored twice on runs of 2 yards and 44 yards, and UNT’s Gabriel Murphy put a sack/fumble/score on the board.
UNT added a 28-yard field goal and a 57-yard fumble return by K.D. Davis in the fiurth quarter for the game’s final points.
The Mean Green rushed for 327 yards against a USM defense that was allowing an average 138 rushing yards a game.
Johnson ran for 119 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while Ragsdale went for 112 yards and two scores on 15 carries.
USM was outgained 537 total yards to 229 yards in total offense.
Frank Gore Jr. rushed for 82 yards on 12 yards, while Brownlee finished with four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
USM travels to take on the University of Texas-San Antonio Saturday.
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