Heart Breaker: Touchdown in the final seconds lifts North Texas over UTSA 29-26

Photo courtesy UTSA

DENTON, Texas (AP) — Mason Fine threw a 22-yard touchdown to Rico Bussey Jr. in the final seconds of the game to put North Texas up 29-26 over UTSA on Saturday night.

The Mean Green (4-3, 3-0 Conference USA) trailed 26-22 late after UTSA took the lead on a 46-yard scoring strike by Dalton Sturm. With just over a minute to play, Fine orchestrated a 98-yard drive capped by the winning throw to Bussey with 10 seconds remaining.

Fine finished with 354 yards and three touchdowns passing for the Mean Green. He also ran for a score. Jalen Guyton had 182 yards and two scores receiving and Jeffrey Wilson ran for 83 yards.

North Texas led early but fell behind to trail 20-16 with 8:23 to go in the third. Early in the fourth, Fine threw a 32-yard score to Guyton to give the Mean Green a 22-20 edge with 12:47 to play.

Dalton Sturm threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns for the Roadrunners (3-2, 0-2).

North Texas slips past UTSA, 29-26, on Saturday night

DENTON, Texas — Rico Bussey's 22-yard touchdown catch with 10 seconds left to play lifted North Texas to a 29-26 victory over UTSA in Conference USA action on Saturday night at Apogee Stadium.

Facing third down and one from the Roadrunners' 22-yard line, Mean Green quarterback Mason Fine hit Bussey on a short crossing pattern, and Bussey tiptoed down the right sideline and into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

UTSA (3-2, 0-2) had one final chance but was flagged for an illegal forward pass on a lateral play as time expired, as North Texas (4-2, 3-0) won for just the second time in five tries in the all-time series.

Marcus Davenport recorded eight tackles, four for loss, including a career-best 2.5 sacks, while Josiah Tauaefa also posted eight stops and one TFL to lead the UTSA defense.

Offensively, Jalen Rhodes rushed for 71 yards and added a pair of catches for 45 yards, including a 46-yard TD reception with a little more than five minutes remaining that gave the Roadrunners a 26-22 lead.

The UTSA defense got the ball back to the offense with 1:28 to play after forcing a turnover on downs. However, the Mean Green forced a three-and-out and took over after a punt at their own 2-yard line with 1:07 on the clock.

Fine completed a 49-yard desperation heave to Michael Lawrence that put the ball at the UTSA 31. A 9-yard pass to Jaelon Darden helped set up the game-winning TD.

Fine passed for 354 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Mean Green offense. Jalen Guyton hauled in eight passes for 182 yards and a pair of scores.

The Mean Green stormed out to 13-0 lead thanks to a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. Fine scored on a 2-yard quarterback keeper to cap a 17-play, 88-yard drive that took 7:25 off the clock on the game's opening possession. Fine then hit Guyton on a 77-yard TD pass down the right sideline. The extra point was no good after a bad snap.

The Roadrunners responded on their next touch. Following a career-long 51-yard kickoff return by Brett Winnegan, Dalton Sturm found Tyrell Clay all alone on a wheel route down the left sideline for a 41-yard TD pass. Jared Sackett's extra point made it 13-7 with 4:38 left in the opening stanza.

Trevor Moore drilled a 23-yard field goal near the end of the quarter to give the home team a 16-7 lead through the first 15 minutes of play.

Sackett split the uprights from 42 yards out early in the second quarter to pull UTSA to within six.

The Roadrunners took their first lead of the night with two minutes left until halftime. On third down and six from the North Texas 8-yard line, Sturm scrambled and fumbled after a hard hit just shy of the goal line. Stefan Beard came away with the loose football in the end zone and Sackett's PAT made it 17-16.

After Nate Gaines picked off his second pass of the season to set up UTSA in Mean Green territory, Sackett split the uprights from 37 yards out to push the lead to 20-16.

North Texas reclaimed the lead on a 32-yard TD pass from Fine to Guyton early in the fourth quarter. Another bad snap led to another missed extra-point attempt, leaving the score at 22-20.

The Roadrunners will return home and host Rice (1-5, 1-1) in the annual Homecoming game next Saturday, Oct. 21. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at the Alamodome.