By KYLE ROBERTS, Special to the Journal
DENTON, Texas – Despite senior quarterback Parker McNeil throwing for over 400 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, Louisiana Tech could not stop the North Texas rushing attack and lost 47-27 Saturday afternoon on the road at Apogee Stadium.
Tech now falls to 2-4 on the season and is even at 1-1 in CUSA play.
“(North Texas) did a good job; they had a good run game,” Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie said following the loss. “From a vertical standpoint, their offensive linemen did a good job in creating space. The running backs were difficult to tackle, very powerful, and very fast. That was an issue; we didn’t tackle, and we’ve got to learn to wrap up and learn to fit those runs better.”
Tech gave up three touchdowns within the first 20 minutes of the ballgame as the Mean Green used just 10 plays for those three scores, one of which was a 92-yard touchdown run by UNT sophomore running back Ayo Adeyi in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
UNT finished with 475 rushing yards on the day, while Tech was only able to run for 80 yards as a team total. The Mean Green also converted 3-of-3 on fourth-down conversions and when 5-for-5 in the red zone.
“They did a nice job,” Cumbie said. “You have to credit North Texas. I think in terms of just running the ball north and south, they did a really nice job against our defense and we didn’t find an answer in terms of bringing them down consistently enough. They hit some big runs on us, and that was a huge difference in the game.”
The Bulldogs were able to score a couple of touchdowns in the second quarter to trail 27-17 at halftime. Tech would cut the UNT lead to one score with 1:19 left in the third quarter with a 58-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Tre Harris, who finished with six receptions for 129 yards. UNT would pull away in the fourth quarter with 13 points on two fields goals and another long touchdown run.
Junior wide receiver Smoke Harris tallied 156 yards receiving on 10 receptions, while junior receiver Tahj Magee totaled 58 yards with a touchdown reception.
McNeil’s 424 yards was a career high for the senior, and the most for Louisiana Tech since Ryan Higgins in 2016. Only 11 quarterbacks in school history have thrown for over 400 yards in a single outing, now including McNeil.
Louisiana Tech will return to Joe Aillet Stadium for homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 22, as the Bulldogs host the Rice Owls for a 2 p.m. kickoff.