The series between North Texas and University of Texas-San Antonio has been highlighted by close contests, with five of the first six meetings decided by no more than eight points, including the past two by a field goal.
This year, not so much.
Led by running back Tre Siggers, the Mean Green (2-2, 1-0) opened Conference USA play with a 45-3 victory Saturday night against the Roadrunners (1-3, 0-1) at Apogee Stadium in Denton.
Siggers rushed for 151 yards on just 14 carries, including touchdowns of 1 and 25 yards. It continued his strong season since moving over from the defensive backfield. Siggers has 403 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries in three games.
“It’s our first opportunity to achieve our overall goal (of winning a conference championship),” UNT head coach Seth Littrell said.
Teammate DeAndre Torrey provided a solid supporting performance at running back, rushing for 63 yards and a 13-yard touchdown on 10 carries. He also caught three passes for 60 yards, including a 13-yard score from quarterback Mason Fine.
The North Texas running game finished with 304 yards and averaged over 7 yards per carry.
“Our running ability right now is in a good spot,” Fine said.
Fine also threw a touchdown pass of 20 yards to Jyaire Shorter, adding to Fine’s school record for career TD tosses, which now stands at 73. Fine finished the night 15 of 22 for 196 yards with no interceptions.
In his career against UTSA, Fine is 88 of 130 for 1,127 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also rushed for a couple scores.
“Our biggest thing is knowing how good we are and how good we can be,” Fine said. “We’ve just got to keep getting one week better, and I think we are.”
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Mean Green, having dropped back-to-back road games at SMU, 49-27, and Cal, 23-17. Both of those teams improved to 4-0 on Saturday — the Mustangs winning 41-38 at TCU and the Bears topping Ole Miss 28-20 on the road.
Mean Green backup quarterback Jason Bean came into the game in the final quarter and threw a touchdown to Jaelon Darden of 3 yards. Darden reached a milestone in the game with four catches, giving him 102 in his UNT career.
UNT was playing without standout wide receiver Rico Bussey, who was once again out with an injury.
“There’s going to be different injuries along the way. I hate it for our players when it happens, but at the same time it’s a chance for others to step up,” Littrell said.
Backup quarterback Lowell Narcisse passed for 124 yards and rushed for 98 to lead the Roadrunners.
The Mean Green are home again Saturday to host Houston at 7 p.m. That series is tied at seven wins each, with the Cougars having won four of the past five.