Louisiana Tech's running back Israel Tucker

Tucker Runs For 161-Yards, Louisiana Tech Beats North Texas 42-31

DENTON, Texas — — Israel Tucker ran with the ball 37 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns, and Louisiana Tech beat North Texas 42-31 on Thursday night, returning to college football action for the first time since Halloween.

Louisiana Tech (5-3, 4-2 Conference USA) hadn’t played since a 37-34 double-overtime victory over UAB on Oct. 31. The Bulldogs had games canceled or postponed against North Texas, Rice, Louisiana-Monroe and Florida International.

“It’s been a long time since we got out on the field,” said Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz. “I know our players were excited to be back out here. It has taken a lot out of us when games kept getting canceled.

“I was a little worried about rust, but I wasn’t worried about the team competing. I thought we played physical, and I thought we played hard.”

The Bulldogs are scheduled to play at TCU on Dec. 12.

Louisiana Tech secured its fifth straight victory at North Texas.

“We knew the running backs would have to play a huge role,” said Holtz. “With two new tackles, it seemed like every time we dropped back to pass we were getting hit.

“How about Izzy Tucker. What he was able to do tonight with 37 carries and 161 yards. I couldn’t be more proud of him and the effort he put forth. Izzy got his opportunity and he made the most of it.”

Luke Anthony passed for 110 yards and two touchdowns for Louisiana Tech, which has losses against No. 22 BYU, Marshall and West-leading UTSA. Smoke Harris caught seven passes for 40 yards and a touchdown, and Kyle Maxwell added a receiving TD.

Jason Bean connected with Jaelon Darden on three touchdowns through the air for North Texas (3-5, 2-4). Bean, who was intercepted on the first possession of the game, threw for 231 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Darden caught eight passes for 135 yards, and Nic Smith rushed for 96 yards.

Darden had his third three-touchdown game of the season, giving him 15 receiving TDs to lead the FBS. He was tied going into the game with Alabama’s DeVonta Smith and Arkansas State’s Jonathan Adams.

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