DENTON, Texas – Old Dominion University Football was down 28-10 early in the second quarter and the Monarchs took a 38-35 lead to end the third quarter, but Nic Smith scored on a 20-yard run to give North Texas a 45-38 win Saturday night over the Monarchs. Nick Rice kicked a 34-yard field goal to end the first half, while Jeremy Cox scored on a one-yard run and Steven Williams gave ODU a 38-35 lead in the third quarter.
North Texas took the opening kickoff and drove 77-yards in 13 plays capped by a one-yard touchdown run from Jeffrey Wilson for the early 7-0 lead Isaiah Harper returned the ensuing kickoff 97-yards for his second kickoff return touchdown of the season to tie the score at seven. The Mean Green came back quickly with a four play, 67-yard scoring drive as Mason Fine hit Rico Bussey for a 34-yard touchdown pass to put NT back on top, 14-7.
Following an ODU punt, Joe Joe Headen made a one-handed interception, leading to a 45-yard Nick Rice field goal. The key play of the drive was a 33-yard pass from Steven Williams to Melvin Vaughn. The field goal cut the North Texas lead to 14-10. North Texas drove the length of the field again, this time a nine play, 75-yard drive and scored on a Evan Johnson six-yard touchdown run to take a 21-10 lead early in the second quarter.
Taylor Robinson blocked a Bailey Cate punt and Johnson returned it 40-yards for a North Texas touchdown and make the score 28-10 midway through the second quarter. Harper did it again, this time a 98-yard kickoff return to make the score 28-17 North Texas. The following possession for NT, Denzel Williams forced a fumble that Sean Carter recovered setting up a 28-yard Nick Rice field goal. Andy Flusche gave the Mean Green a short field with an interception, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Nic Smith making the score 35-20 North Texas.
The Monarchs drove 60-yards in 17 plays to set up a 34-yard Nick Rice field goal to end the first half. The big play of the drive was a fake punt on fourth down that Jeremy Cox converted for a first down to keep the drive alive. Williams completed 21-of-35 passes for 181-yards and rushed for 55-yards, both career-highs. Cox rushed for 109-yards and a score. Melvin Vaughn led ODU with six catches for 69-yards, while Kevin Todd had five grabs for 45-yards. Marvin Branch led the defense with nine tackles and Jordan Young added eight.