UNT takeaways art

North Texas running back Tre Siggers (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring one of his two touchdowns in the Mean Green's 45-3 win over UTSA on Saturday at Apogee Stadium.

North Texas opened Conference USA play with a commanding 45-3 win over UTSA on Saturday at Apogee Stadium.

The Mean Green snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 2-2 on the season. UTSA fell to 1-3.

Here are five thoughts on UNT's win:

1. This is a big one for UNT

UNT really needed to knock off UTSA in its Conference USA opener for a host of reasons.

UTSA is a team few expect to be in the hunt for the C-USA West Division title, the game was played at Apogee and the Roadrunners are a key rival for the Mean Green.

UNT had also lhas a tough game next week at home against Houston and didn't want to head into it on a three-game slide.

UNT came through with a dominating performance, one that should give the Mean Green momentum heading into the heart of C-USA play.

2. Losing Bussey for the year is a huge blow

The one downer of the night for UNT is coach Seth Littrell acknowledged that wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Bussey is one of the Mean Green's biggest weapons in the passing game. UNT didn't need him against UTSA, which looked nothing like a title contender in C-USA.

Beating teams like Houston and the elite teams in C-USA without him with be a far larger challenge.

3. UNT's defense looks like it could be an asset

UNT's defense continues to show signs that it could be a huge asset in C-USA play.

The Mean Green gave up just a field goal in their win over UTSA, and that was after allowing a field goal over the final three quarters of a loss to Cal.

UNT had a ton of new players in key spots heading into the season. Those players are starting to find a comfort zone and perform.

KD Davis posted nine tackles and recovered a fumble. Safety Makyle Sanders intercepted a pass and posted two tackles for loss. 

Both are in their first season as starters.

4. UNT came into this one with a purpose

UNT's players left little doubt throughout the week that this game meant a whole lot to them.

Rivalry games are that way.

UNT recruits against UTSA and has won some epic games against the Roadrunners over the years. The last time the Mean Green played the Roadrunners at Apogee, they won on the back on a 98-yard drive in the closing seconds.

Winning in commanding fashion was particularly sweet for the Mean Green.

5. UNT's performance this season suddenly looks a whole lot better

UNT certainly would like to be better than 2-2 on the season, but those two losses -- to SMU and Cal -- suddenly look a whole lot better.

SMU upset No. 25 TCU and is now 4-0. Cal is ranked No. 23 and won at Ole Miss today to get to 4-0.

Cal will be ranked next week. There's a chance that SMU could be ranked as well.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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