Nov 6, 2021; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; North Texas Mean Green head coach Seth Littrell in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

North Texas thwarts No. 22 UTSA’s dream season in blowout win

Ikaika Ragsdale ran for a career-high 146 yards and two touchdowns as North Texas rolled past previously undefeated No. 22 Texas-San Antonio 45-23 on Saturday afternoon in the Conference USA regular-season finale for both teams in Denton, Texas.

North Texas (6-6, 5-3 in C-USA play) also got 108 yards and three rushing TDs from DeAndre Torrey in earning its fifth straight victory and becoming bowl eligible. The Mean Green rushed for 340 yards in the game and forced three UTSA first-half turnovers in building an 18-point lead at halftime.

UTSA (11-1, 7-1 in C-USA) had its 11-game win streak snapped but will still host the Conference USA Championship game against either Marshall or Western Kentucky on Dec. 3 in the Alamo City.

The Roadrunners were stymied in the second half by the loss of quarterback Frank Harris to injury. Harris had 156 total yards (97 of them rushing) to lead UTSA, which had just 212 total yards of offense until the fourth quarter.

The Mean Green opened the game with a 34-yard field goal by Ethan Mooney and added a Torrey 2-yard touchdown run on their ensuing possession to push the lead to 10-0.

UTSA got on the board with a Houston Duplessis 29-yard FG but North Texas responded with Torrey’s second rushing TD, this one from 4 yards away with 32 seconds to play in the first quarter.

Duplessis hit from 27 yards out early in the second quarter and the Roadrunners cut their deficit to 17-13 on Harris’ 69-yard scoring run at the 8:20 mark. But the rest of the half belonged to North Texas, with Ragsdale’s 15-yard TD run preceding Torrey’s third rushing touchdown of the half, from 19 yards, to expand the Mean Green’s advantage to 31-13 at the break.

UTSA outgained the Mean Green 220-204 in the half but also had three fumbles. North Texas had just 29 yards passing at halftime but rushed for 175 yards, with Ragsdale picking up 108 of those on just 11 carries.

Ragsdale added a 10-yard TD run on the Mean Green’s first possession of the third quarter that expanded the lead to 38-13 and put UTSA squarely behind the eight ball. Ayo Adeyi’s 42-yard scoring run at the 3:52 mark of the third continued the blowout.

UTSA scored 10 points in garbage time on a 42-yard FG by Duplessis and a 67-yard TD pass from third-string QB Eddie Lee Marburger to Tre’Von Bradley.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; El Paso, Texas, USA; UTSA Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris (0) runs the ball against the UTEP Miners at Sun Bowl stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 UTSA visits North Texas with perfect season on the line

A perfect regular season is in the offing for No. 22 Texas-San Antonio as it travels north up I-35 to battle North Texas on Saturday afternoon in the teams’ Conference USA finale in Denton, Texas.

The Roadrunners already have clinched the C-USA West Division title and a spot in the league championship game, which UTSA will host on Dec. 3. The Roadrunners will play for their first league title against either Marshall or Western Kentucky.

UTSA (11-0, 7-0 C-USA) had to go to great lengths to get this far, most recently producing a last-second 34-31 home win over Alabama-Birmingham on Nov. 20 to remain undefeated. Frank Harris hit Oscar Cardenas on a 1-yard touchdown pass on the final play after the Roadrunners drove 77 yards in the last 1:03 with no timeouts left.

Harris ended up with 323 yards and three TDs. Sincere McCormick rushed for 65 yards and a score, and Zakhari Franklin caught six passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

UTSA’s 11-game winning streak, its seven wins in seven conference games and nine straight victories at home are all new program marks. The Roadrunners remained at No. 22 in the College Football Playoff rankings for the second consecutive week.

“Let’s be honest: North Texas can ruin our season,” UTSA coach Jeff Traylor said. “They have won four games in a row. They have been beat by good teams. They are hot right now.

“Guess what: We can ruin their season too. That is going to be our mantra: ‘They are going to try to ruin ours, and we are going to try to ruin theirs.’ We are going to stay right there. We are not even discussing (the conference championship). It is 100 percent North Texas.”

The Mean Green (5-6, 4-3) have turned around their season in the past four games — the latest a dominating 49-7 road win over FIU on Nov. 20. After starting the year 1-6, North Texas is now a win away from securing bowl eligibility.

“Anyone who says this isn’t a rivalry game, they’re lying to you,” North Texas coach Seth Littrell said. “That’s why you come to play college football is for games like these, so I know both teams will be excited to go out and compete.

“We have a lot on the line because one more win gets us bowl eligible and gives us an opportunity to win a bowl game. That’ll only make it more special.”

The Mean Green defense is allowing just 306 yards and 15.5 points per game over the last four contests.

“It means a lot, and it just shows we never gave up,” North Texas linebacker KD Davis said. “We got better each week and we’re on a winning streak and this just shows our character.”

The teams have played eight times in their all-time series, with each winning four. North Texas has won three of the four games played in Denton and has captured three of the past four in the series.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz on the sidelines against the Central Michigan Chippewas during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri hopes to correct porous run defense vs. North Texas

The Missouri Tigers will try to fix their broken run defense when they host the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

Missouri (2-3) has allowed 306.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks dead last among FBS schools — about 43 yards per game more than any other team.

This nonconference game at Faurot Field will give the Tigers an opportunity to regroup.

“Every week is a challenge, but for us the biggest challenge is not going to be North Texas, it’s going to be us, and making sure that we have the right frame of mind and play at a high level,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said Tuesday.

Drinkwitz fired defensive line coach Jethro Franklin after the Tigers suffered a 62-24 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 2. The Vols rushed for 458 yards in that game and piled up 683 yards in offense.

“I’ve told the team and the staff Tennessee doesn’t have to define us or this season, but if we let it, it will,” Drinkwitz said. “How you respond to Saturday is going to determine what kind of person you want to be defined as. This fight just started for me.”

North Texas (1-3) will bring a solid rushing attack into this game. DeAndre Torrey rushed for 119 yards on 26 carries in the Mean Green’s 24-17 loss to Louisiana Tech — and he has run for 516 yards and four touchdowns this season.

The Mean Green had a bye week before this game, which gave them an opportunity to work on their sputtering passing attack. They threw for fewer than 100 yards in their losses to UAB and Louisiana Tech, with Austin Aune and Jace Ruder alternating at quarterback. They have combined to complete 49.3 percent of their throws.

“We have struggled in the passing game, which is the product of a few things,” North Texas coach Seth Littrell said. “We have to be better and more accurate at the quarterback position and stretch the field. We also must get on the same page on our deep balls and big-play opportunities. Some of that is guys coming in and out.”

Mean Green receiver Tommy Bush is out for the season after suffering a leg injury against SMU. Receiver Jyaire Shorter remains sidelined with an injury suffered in practice and running back Oscar Adaway III is out with a season-ending knee injury.

–Field Level Media

North Texas running back DeAndre Torrey (3) reaches out to make a touchdown as MTSU safety Gregory Grate Jr. (3) tackles him on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, during the Blackout game at MTSU.

29 Mtsu V North Texas

SMU seeking third straight win over rival North Texas

Some new offensive talent has SMU off to a strong start.

And, seemingly in good position to continue its home success over local foe North Texas, which visits Dallas on Saturday night.

With Oklahoma transfer Tanner Mordecai, fellow former Sooner Grant Calcaterra and ex-Arizona State tight end Nolan Matthews leading the way, SMU (1-0, 0-0 in American) rolled to a 56-9 home rout of Abilene Christian last weekend.

Mordecai, who toiled behind Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and Spencer Rattler for three seasons at Oklahoma, made a strong first impression for the Mustangs. He completed 24 of 30 passes for 317 yards and a school single-game record seven touchdown passes without an interception.

“He kind of just came, put his head down and worked,” SMU coach Sonny Dykes said of Mordecai, who threw four touchdowns in 12 games over those three seasons with the Sooners.

“It’s good to see Tanner play as well as he did (against Abilene), and hopefully continue to play well.”

Mordecai threw two touchdowns each to Calcaterra, Matthews and Danny Gray as the Mustangs amassed 490 total yards, did not commit a turnover and were whistled for only two penalties.

The task likely will get a little tougher this weekend, but SMU is 4-0 at home versus North Texas (1-0, 0-0 Conference USA), since the Mean Green became part of the FBS in 1995. SMU eyes a third consecutive overall victory against the Mean Green following last season’s 65-35 road rout.

The Mustangs’ Ulysses Bentley IV, who rushed 10 times for 48 yards last weekend, ran for a career-high 227 and three touchdowns at North Texas in 2020. Teammates Reggie Roberson Jr. and Rashee Rice, who caught a touchdown against Abilene, combined for 14 receptions and 205 yards in last year’s meeting with the Mean Green.

SMU held Abilene Christian to 119 rushing yards in its opener, but now must contain North Texas’ DeAndre Torrey, who ran for a career-high 244 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns in last Saturday’s 44-14 victory over Northwestern State.

“He’s a stud,” Mean Green coach Seth Littrell said of the fifth-year senior. “The work he’s put in — he’s done a lot for his team.”

Torrey, who stepped up following Oscar Adaway’s season-ending ACL injury, has rushed for 82 yards and one TD on 22 carries in three games versus SMU.

–Field Level Media

Appalachian State Mountaineers defensive back Shemar Jean-Charles (8) celebrates a broken up pass during the third quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

North Texas, Appalachian State kick off bowl season in Myrtle Beach

Appalachian State is accustomed to memorable finishes.

A chance for another dramatic ending awaits the Mountaineers in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl. Appalachian State will take on North Texas on Monday afternoon at Conway, S.C.

“Anytime you go to postseason play, you have a chance to play for a championship,” Appalachian State coach Shawn Clark said. “A bowl game is a big deal.”

The game will take place at Coastal Carolina’s Brooks Stadium. Appalachian State lost a regular-season Sun Belt Conference game Nov. 21 in this location. The Mountaineers will use the visiting locker room that they’re familiar with and have the potential edge of familiarity.

Appalachian State (8-3) and North Texas (4-5), which was fourth in Conference USA’s West Division, meet for the first time.

“I think it’s great for your program,” Clark said. “It’s going to be on national TV. It’s a way to showcase our program and our university.”

Accepting a bowl bid was always on the table for the Mountaineers, who relish the opportunity to play again and still have team members home for the Christmas holiday. This marks the sixth bowl in six seasons in which Appalachian State has been eligible for bowls since moving to this level.

“We were full ‘go’ the whole time,” Clark said. “It’s a way to send our seniors out on the right note.”

It won’t be the normal bowl experience. The team is spending only two nights on the road for this trip.

North Texas is no stranger to bowl games, claiming a postseason spot for the fourth time in five seasons under coach Seth Littrell. Overall, it’s the Mean Green’s 12th bowl and ninth in a 20-year period.

“Through all the uncertainty that we’ve had all season, I’m happy that we are able to continue our season for one more game and we are extremely excited for the opportunity to play in the Myrtle Beach Bowl,” Littrell said.

“This has been a challenging year for sure, but we’ve tried to stay focused on the things that we can control, and the resiliency of this team has been outstanding. To have a chance at a bowl game to finish the season is validation for this team and I’m extremely proud of them.”

The Mountaineers are 5-0 all-time in bowls, though recent outings came as league champions. Like the past two years in the New Orleans Bowl, Appalachian State takes on a Conference USA opponent again in the postseason.

The game comes just nine days after the Mountaineers concluded the regular season by winning 34-26 at Georgia Southern.

“It’s the first game this year we came out healthy, which was nice,” Clark said.

Appalachian State was second in the Sun Belt’s East Division this year after holding at least a share of the league title the past four years.

North Texas won three of its final five regular-season games, including a 45-43 decision Dec. 11 against UTEP with Austin Aune throwing five touchdown passes. Four of those were caught by Jaelon Darden.

Darden, a senior receiver, leads the Mean Green in career receptions (230), receiving touchdowns (38), receiving yards (2,782) and single-season touchdown catches (19).

“Statistics don’t really mean nothing to me, but I just want my coaches and teammates to look at me and say, ‘He was a great player and gave everything he had,’” Darden said. “That’s how I want to leave my legacy here more than anything.”

Littrell said: “He deserves (the records and recognition) because of the amount of work he puts in. If you’ve been around him, you know he’s a special player but what makes him special is what he does off the field when no one else is around just working out.”

Clark made his head-coaching debut in Appalachian State’s 2019 bowl game after Eli Drinkwitz departed to take the Missouri job.

“It has been a very challenging year,” Clark said, noting the impact of playing during a pandemic. “We had no game plan for it.”

The Mountaineers have seasoned veterans with receiver Thomas Hennigan, center Noah Hannon and offensive lineman Victor Johnson all with at least 50 career starts. Quarterback Zac Thomas is 31-6 as a starter, giving him the second-most victories among active quarterbacks in the Football Bowl Subdivision behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (going into 32 the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game). On defense, senior safety Kaiden Smith of Appalachian State is coming off a performance with a career-high 12 tackles at Georgia Southern.

Going into games of Dec. 19, the Mountaineers’ three defeats this year came against teams holding a combined 27-2 record.

–Field Level Media

Oct 13, 2018; Denton, TX, USA; North Texas Mean Green defensive back Cam Johnson (11) and defensive back Taylor Robinson (24) and safety Khairi Muhammad (4) and defensive back Jameel Moore (39) celebrate a stop of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles during the first half at Apogee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UNT-Louisiana Tech postponed due to COVID-19 issues

The Saturday game between host North Texas and Louisiana Tech was postponed Thursday due to COVID-19 issues within the Mean Green program.

The game will be rescheduled for the weekend of Dec. 5, according to officials from both schools.

North Texas said that “the number of COVID-19 cases and subsequent contact tracing” led to the postponement of the Conference USA contest.

“We are very disappointed to announce the postponement of our game against Louisiana Tech this weekend,” Mean Green athletic director Wren Baker said in a statement. “However, it is necessary in the interest of the health and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We’ve appreciated the consistent dialogue with our colleagues at Louisiana Tech and we look forward to safely resuming play.”

Louisiana Tech athletic director Eric Wood said he understood the situation.

“Although we are disappointed we won’t get to play this Saturday, we support the decision that has been made for the welfare of everyone involved,” Wood said in a statement. “We understand the current situation at North Texas as we were in their exact same position back in early September prior to our opener against Baylor.

“This will provide our student-athletes an open weekend to recover from seven straight weeks of football, and we look forward to playing in Denton in early December.”

The Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2 C-USA) are scheduled to host Rice on Nov. 14. North Texas (2-3, 1-2) also plays on Nov. 14, traveling to Birmingham, Ala., to oppose UAB.

–Field Level Media

Sep 14, 2019; Berkeley, CA, USA; North Texas Mean Green head coach Seth Littrell on the sideline during the third quarter against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Positive tests force UNT to postpone game at Houston

Four positive COVID-19 tests this week at North Texas forced the Mean Green to postpone Saturday’s game at Houston, the fifth time the Cougars have had a game wiped out by the coronavirus.

The schools are working to find a date to reschedule, according to statements released by both programs on Wednesday.

Officials for North Texas said the contact tracing and subsequent quarantines stemming from those four positive tests left them unable to field enough players for the game.

“We knew that there would be challenges with COVID-19 this season and we were taking precautions to hopefully avoid this situation,” UNT athletic director Wren Baker said in a release. “Our student-athlete health and safety is the priority in every decision we make and that is what this difficult decision is based on. We are hopeful we can resume safe activities soon.”

The next game on the schedule for the Mean Green (1-1) is Oct. 3 at home against Southern Miss.

Houston now hopes to begin its season on Thursday, Oct. 8, against Tulane.

The Cougars’ original Sept. 3 season opener against Rice was postponed in August and their Sept. 12 matchup at Washington State was canceled in July. Houston’s Sept. 18 game against Memphis was postponed and replaced by a Sept. 19 game at Baylor, but that also fell through due to COVID-19 issues at Baylor.

“I am disappointed for our student-athletes who have continued to focus on competing this season and were ready to play this Saturday,” Houston vice president for athletics Chris Pezman said in a statement. “We will continue to work to adjust our schedule with the hopes of playing as soon as we can.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback Clayton Tune (3) reaches back to pass downfield against the Southern Methodist Mustangs during the third quarter at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Houston hopes to finally open season vs. North Texas

Houston has been champing at the bit to get on the field and will finally get the chance Saturday when it hosts North Texas in a nonconference game.

While the Mean Green (1-1) already have two games on their resume, the Cougars are preparing for the delayed opening of their truncated 2020 campaign.

Houston has been affected by multiple schedule changes, with its Sept. 3 season opener against Rice postponed in August and its Sept. 12 matchup at Washington State canceled in July.

Then Houston’s American Athletic Conference matchup at Memphis (set for Sept. 18) was postponed on Sept. 12. The Cougars then agreed to a road matchup at Baylor on Sept. 19, but that contest was nixed on Sept. 18 due to COVID-19 issues within Baylor’s program.

“It (hasn’t been) difficult — we’ve had four games canceled, so we’re kind of used to that,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday. “It’s okay to be upset, but you can’t hang on to it like that. We buried it yesterday.

“There’s a lot ahead of us, and we’re ready. We will stay ready. It’s game week and we are in there prepping for North Texas.”

Houston returns its 2019 statistical leaders in passing yards and touchdowns (Clayton Tune), rushing yards (Kyle Porter), receiving yards and touchdowns (Marquez Stevenson), tackles (Grant Stuard), interceptions (Damarion Williams) and field goals made (Dalton Witherspoon).

North Texas plays its second consecutive game against an AAC opponent after losing at home to SMU 65-35 on Saturday night.

Austin Aune passed for 276 yards and two touchdowns and added another score on the ground for UNT. Oscar Adaway III rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries while Jaelon Darden racked up 66 yards and two TDs receiving. The Mean Green had 517 yards of total offense in the loss.

Their defense was behind the eight-ball from the start against SMU. Starting linebackers KD Davis and Tyreke Davis were ruled out for medical reasons just before kickoff, and starting safety Keelan Crosby went down with an injury on UNT’s first defensive play of the game.

North Texas allowed 710 yards in the loss to SMU and gave up scores on the Mustangs’ first four possessions and six of seven during one span that began in the second quarter.

“It certainly doesn’t help to miss your two best players on defense,” North Texas coach Seth Littrell said. “But we’re not making excuses. You just have to get better. We just have to settle into our system and figure out what we’re good and not good at.”

Houston and North Texas are meeting for the second consecutive season and the fourth time in a decade. The Cougars lead the all-time series 8-7, have won five consecutive meetings in the series and scored 40-plus points in their last three games versus the Mean Green.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Shane Buechele (7) throws a pass against the Florida Atlantic Owls in the first half during the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Buechele, SMU hammer North Texas

Shane Buechele passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns, and added another score on the ground, as the visiting SMU Mustangs roared to an early lead and dominated North Texas 65-35 on Saturday in Denton, Texas.

Ulysses Bentley IV ran for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, including an 84-yard fourth-yard score for SMU (2-0), which rebounded from a ragged, albeit winning, performance in its opener to control its Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex rivals for the second consecutive season.

Buechele finished 24-for-33 in 3 1/2 quarters of play. Reggie Roberson Jr. racked up 103 yards on nine catches, two of them for touchdowns, and Rashee Rice had five catches for 102 yards for the Mustangs.

SMU outgained the Mean Green 710-517, including 366-212 on the ground, and racked up 33 first downs.

Buechele passed for three touchdowns over the first 15 minutes, finding Roberson on a 15-yard TD, Danny Gray on a 62-yard catch-and-throw, and Kylen Granson for a 7-yard score to cap a productive first quarter. SMU added to its advantage on the third snap of the second quarter on Chris Naggar’s 37-yard field goal.

The Mean Green (1-1) answered midway through the second quarter when Jason Bean connected with Jaelon Darden for a 12-yard touchdown to pull to within 24-7.

Naggar then kicked a 22-yard field goal with 3:02 to play before halftime, and Buechele added a 2-yard rushing score with eight seconds left in the first half to give SMU a 34-7 lead at intermission.

The Mean Green clawed back to 34-14 early in the third quarter on DeAndre Torrey’s 7-yard scoring run at the end of a 34-yard drive. But SMU responded, moving 36 yards in four plays, capped by Bentley’s 4-yard scoring rush, after a 64-yard kickoff return by Gray.

North Texas found the end zone again midway through the third quarter on Austin Aune’s 5-yard quarterback keeper. Buechele then took any further wind out of the Mean Green’s sails with 2-yard scoring pass to Roberson with 5:42 left in the third.

Bentley staked the Mustangs to a 55-21 lead with his second score of the game on a 9-yard touchdown run just before the third quarter ended.

Aune led North Texas with 235 yards and two passing scores while Oscar Adaway III ran for 104 yards on 20 carries. Darden had 66 yards and two touchdowns on five catches to lead the Mean Green receiving corps.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Shane Buechele (7) throws a pass against the Florida Atlantic Owls in the first half during the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

North Texas, SMU square off for DFW bragging rights

There will be plenty on the line on and off the field for North Texas and SMU.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex rivals meet on Saturday afternoon in Denton, Texas.

Both teams started the season with wins, and going 2-0 in this truncated season — with fewer teams playing football because of COVID-19 — would grant bragging rights for recruiting battles in the talent-rich region and set the table for success once their respective conference campaigns begin over the next few weeks.

The Mustangs lead all-time series between the two teams 32-6-1, including a 49-27 win last season in Dallas, and have won four of the last five meetings.

North Texas opened its year on Sept. 5 with a 57-31 home win over Houston Baptist in which it rolled up a school-record 721 yards of total offense.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Bean completed 11 of 18 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns for North Texas while also adding a 37-yard touchdown run. Oscar Adaway III rushed for 118 yards on five carries with two touchdowns, and Deandre Torrey added 85 yards on 11 carries.

The Mean Green showed off their depth against Houston Baptist when 11 players caught passes.

“The way we play, you are going to have to play multiple guys,” North Texas coach Seth Littrell said. “That is to your advantage if you have a deep enough roster at the skill positions. Everybody’s hungry. They all talk about they want to eat, well, everyone’s hungry, so let’s feed everyone.”

North Texas ran 86 plays in the win over Houston Baptist and seemed in high gear throughout the game.

“Everyone is conditioned to keep going at this pace,” Mean Green offensive lineman Cole Brown said. “We do have a lot of good backs and receivers. That is why we switch people in and out. They all go full speed.”

North Texas will really learn about itself over the next few weeks with games versus SMU and then at Houston before the start of Conference USA play.

SMU outlasted Texas State 31-24 in its season opener on Sept. 5 in what was a ragged performance for the Mustangs, who went 10-3 last season.

Shane Buechele threw for 367 yards and a touchdown but also uncorked two interceptions, and TJ McDaniel ran for 130 yards but also fumbled in the end zone to wipe out a touchdown. Another TD, a 56-yard run by Kylen Granson, was called back because of a penalty.

“It wasn’t always pretty — you could tell it was the first game of the season,” SMU head coach Sonny Dykes said. “I’m proud of our guys and how they have dealt with adversity. We should have been able to put the game away much earlier than we did, but when you make those kind of mistakes, you’re going to be in for a dogfight.”

Buechele’s performance against Texas State was his eighth career 300-yard game, and his sixth in his 14 contests with SMU since transferring from Texas.

SMU kicker Chris Naggar earned American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance against Texas State, Naggar went 4-for-4 on PATs, connected on a 32-yard field goal and added five touchbacks on six kickoffs in his first game as a Mustang.

The Mustangs were supposed to play TCU on Sept. 11 but that game was postponed because of positive coronavirus tests in the Horned Frogs’ camp.

–Field Level Media