WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army bounced back from a tough loss by putting its triple-option offense in gear and getting its first shutout since 2005.
Army quarterback Trent Steelman rushed for 68 and a touchdown as the Black Knights shut out North Texas 24-0 on Saturday.
The Mean Green started backup quarterback Derek Thompson after losing Nathan Tune, probably for the year, to a dislocated right hip in last week's loss to Rice. But Thompson's leg was broken early in the second quarter when he was hit hard on a keeper.
Former receiver Riley Dodge (8 of 17, 63 yards) replaced Thompson, but couldn't generate much offense. The Mean Green (0-3) lost their seventh straight, dating back to last season.
"I don't care who you're playing," Army coach Rich Ellerson said after the Black Knights' first shutout since beating Akron 20-0 in 2005. "Keeping them out of the end zone for 60 minutes is hard to do."
North Texas entered the game 23rd in the country in passing, but was held to 106 yards — a far cry from its 282.5-yard average. Army senior DE Josh McNary had two sacks, tying the school record for 42 career tackles for loss.
"We stayed hungry. We stayed in hot pursuit," McNary said.
Seven Army players ran for 292 yards, including short TD runs by Patrick Mealy (9 yards) and Malcolm Brown (2 yards) to put the Black Knights up 14-0 at halftime.
Army (3-0) added another score midway through the third quarter on Steelman's nifty 20-yard run. Alex Carlton's late 23-yard field goal made it 24-0, as the Black Knights rebounded from a last-minute loss to Hawaii last week.
"We're back," linebacker Stephen Anderson said. "It just feels good to have things click the way we practiced all week. Yeah, Army's back."
North Texas was badly hampered by losing Thompson, who was 6 for 11 in his first career start before getting hurt.
"I could never have imagined our two guys that competed for the job during camp would be out by week three," North Texas coach Todd Dodge said.