These teams weren’t supposed to be here.
As we said in our preview, not only were expectations not that high for either team coming into the season, but they already played each other back on October 22nd. The result? North Texas victory in regulation, 35-18.
Army apparently learned from their mistakes, and matched that 18 points by early in the 2nd quarter of their post-season rematch with the Mean Green. The Black Knights kept going, finishing the first half at 24 points, with a feisty Mean Green team nipping at their heels.
This was not without missteps. Army scored their first TD with 9:18 to go in the first quarter but missed their PAT. This allowed UNT to gain the lead about three minutes later and so when Army scored again, they chose to go for two. This conversion failed, making it 12-7 Army at the end of the quarter.
Army then scored two more touchdowns to open the 2nd quarter, went for two twice, and failed twice, once on a fumble. Despite the Knights’ clear offensive prowess, UNT got the ball back and scored twice in the final 2:26, making both Pat's to bring the score to 24-21 at halftime.
The second half only saw three scores: a 65-yard TD run from Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw (PAT good this time), an 18-yard TD pass from UNT QB Alec Morris to Tyler Wilson, and-- after a late Army fumble— a 37-yard FG from UNT’s Trevor Moore to make it 31-31.
Over the course of the season, senior UNT QB Alec Morris didn’t get much playing time. Morris was called into action to replace freshman starter Mason Fine, who was out due to injury. In Morris’ final game he racked up his best numbers of his career, going 26/38 for 304 yards passing.
For the Black Knights, Ahmad Bradshaw was the star of the day. Bradshaw completed just two passes on three attempts for 53 yards through the air but he was their leading rusher, running 18 times for 129 yards and a touchdown. The season’s leading rusher Andy Davidson wasn’t much of a factor, limited to 56 yards by a stingy North Texas defense that just couldn’t contain Bradshaw.
As exciting as it was to see a bowl game go to overtime for the first time this season, Army marched right down the field and into the end zone, taking seven plays to move the 25 yards. UNT got the ball back and could not get a first down, making the final score 38-31.
From September until now, this was a phenomenal job from both teams on both rebuilding and getting their names back into the national conversation. An appearance in a nationally televised game will only help heading into the 2017 season. Both teams will be poised for big things going into the spring.