TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Tulsa took an early lead over North Texas in the Hurricane's season finale at Chapman Stadium, but the Mean Green dominated the rest of the way for a 42-10 victory.
"It was a great win for us," said North Texas coach Dan McCarney. "We beat a good program. Bill Blankenship has built a really good program and I know his record is not what he wants this year, but they took Marshall to the wire and they just got through beating Louisiana Tech on the road last week."
Brandin Byrd ran 26 times for 251 yards and three touchdowns for North Texas. Byrd scored his three touchdowns consecutively over the second and third quarters to extend the Mean Green lead to 35-10. Byrd's second touchdown went for 91 yards.
North Texas (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA) took the lead for good 14-10 in the second quarter when Mike Marshall blocked the Tulsa punter and Jarrian Roberts returned it 8 yards for the touchdown.
Antoinne Jimmerson scored the lone points of the fourth quarter on his second rushing touchdown. Jimmerson added 85 yards and two touchdowns to the Mean Green running game. They outrushed Tulsa 372-80.
Tulsa (3-9, 2-6) scored first when Mitchell Osborne forced a fumble and Will Barrow recovered and returned it 97 yards for a 7-0 lead.
"It all started with Mitchell Osborne. He hustled," said Barrow. "That is what we emphasize every day in practice. Mitch did that, and if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have gotten that fumble. When I saw it come out, I knew it was my opportunity to give this offense, defense and the entire team some energy. I picked it up, had some great blockers and we finished."
Trey Watts rushed 19 times for 114 yards to lead Tulsa's mostly ineffective offense. The Hurricane led 10-7 after the first quarter before falling apart down the stretch.
"Early on our defense gave us a chance to get in it and then (North Texas) just wore down as time went on," said Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship. "Really, publically, say thank you to an incredible bunch of guys that played their last game. Words don't do it justice, but our program is incredibly blessed with the legacy of the guys that were in here playing their last game. If you think about these players being a part of a win at Notre Dame, three Bowls, Conference Championship, Liberty Bowl Championship, I'm telling you, those guys were all big parts of it. Again, I just say thank you."