Army 17, North Texas 13
DENTON, Texas -- A little more zest was added to one of college football's most intense rivalries.
Quarterback Trent Steelman rushed for 132 yards and the winning touchdown with 1:43 left, and Army kept its postseason hopes alive by beating North Texas 17-13 Saturday.
To make a bowl for the first time since 1996, Army (5-6) must beat Navy in the 110th meeting between the service academies on Dec. 12.
The Black Knights have a tie-in with the EagleBank Bowl should they win six games. The Midshipmen have won seven straight in the storied rivalry.
"Army and Navy is always a big game," Army defensive end Marcus Hilton said. "But it will have more meaning this time. It's the difference between us going to a bowl or staying home for Christmas."
The Black Knights forced five turnovers and Hilton blocked a field goal attempt to set up Steelman's 2-yard run.
Army was down 13-10 when it turned the ball over on downs at its 36 with 5:29 left. North Texas could have gone ahead by two scores with a touchdown but had to settle for Jeremy Knott's 33-yard try.
After the block, Steelman broke down the left sideline for a 55-yard run, then scored the winning TD two plays later. Ty Shrader intercepted Riley Dodge with 1:31 remaining to clinch things.
"With the job our defense did all game, I knew we'd get the ball back and have a chance to win," Steelman said.
The Black Knights won consecutive games for the first time this season and have their most victories since going 10-2 in 1996.
"We will cherish this win," coach Rich Ellerson said. "But if we are to meet our ultimate goal, we must play better and more consistent."
Army's triple option offense had only 46 yards in the first half. The Black Knights broke loose with a 69-yard drive opening the second half and then a 62-yard winning drive.
"North Texas had a great game plan against the option," Steelman said. "We just wanted to grind it out and have a chance to win it at the end."
North Texas (2-9) lost its fifth game this season by a touchdown or less. Lance Dunbar had a 68-yard touchdown run and Dodge was 31 of 41 for 225 yards and three interceptions.
The Mean Green dropped at least nine games for the fifth straight season.
North Texas coach Todd Dodge said his team couldn't overcome all its miscues, including four turnovers in Army territory.
"We've had some gut-wrenching losses," Dodge said. "I am devastated for this team. These guys deserved to win."
After the sluggish first half, Army took a 10-7 lead on Patrick Mealy's 9-yard touchdown run with 7:55 left in the third quarter. Steelman pitched the ball to Mealy on the option just before he was about to be hit by Mean Green defensive back Darien Williams.
Dunbar gave the Mean Green a 13-10 lead with his long touchdown run. The sophomore had 132 yards rushing, his seventh 100-yard game of the season.
Before the game, Fort Hood's first responders and the 13 people who died in the Nov. 5 shootings were honored. A moment of silence was observed for those who were killed, and the first responders were recognized on the field before the game played 185 miles north of the Army post.
2022 FBS Independents Standings
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2022 American Athletic Conference Standings