DENTON, Texas (AP) Turner Smiley had seven receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns and North Texas prevented Southern Mississippi from becoming bowl eligible with a 29-23 win on Saturday night.
Willy Ivery ran for 111 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown, and Alec Morris added 267 yards passing with two scores for North Texas (5-6, 3-4 Conference USA).
Ito Smith ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns for Southern Miss (5-6, 3-4). But the Mean Green largely bottled up quarterback Keon Howard, who completed just 10 of his 26 passes for 135 yards and three interceptions.
North Texas raced to a 20-0 second quarter lead. However Southern Mississippi rallied for 23 unanswered points, capped by a Stephen Brauchle 25-yard field goal for a 23-20 lead with 9:39 left.
The Mean Green answered on the ensuing drive with an Ivery 11-yard TD run that gave them the lead for good.