North Texas Daily

Bad third quarter dooms Mean Green in loss to Rice

Bad third quarter dooms Mean Green in loss to Rice

October 25
16:19 2014

Ehsan Azad / Staff Writer

The Mean Green football team’s chances for a bowl game took a huge hit as the team lost 41-21 to Rice University on Saturday. It was the fourth-straight loss for North Texas.

“Really disappointed by our football team, because at halftime this is anybody’s game,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “You have to make plays, you have to rise up as coaches and players and Rice and their coaching staff and players did that, we didn’t.”

In a first half full of big plays, the Rice Owls (4-3, 2-1) struck first by scoring on an 88-yard touchdown  pass to put North Texas in an early 7-0 hole.

The Mean Green (2-6, 0-4) got its offense in a rhythm as junior quarterback Andrew McNulty threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Carlos Harris to tie the game.

On the next Rice possession, the Owls drove 75 yards down the field and took the lead on a 10-yard touchdown run.

The Mean Green quickly responded with another big play as sophomore wide receiver Darvin Kidsy returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, which tied the game at 14-14 by the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Mean Green got the ball at its own 38-yard line and drove deep inside Rice territory. Facing a 4th and Goal on the one yard line, Harris took a reverse handoff into the end zone for the touchdown. That gave North Texas a 21-14 at halftime.

Things changed at halftime, as Harris fumbled the football on the opening kickoff return and the Owls recovered inside the North Texas 25-yard line. The defense managed to hold Rice to a 27-yard field goal.

“You can’t start a second half any worse than fumble the kickoff, give them the ball with a short field, just exactly what you don’t want to do,” McCarney said.

It didn’t get any better for the Mean Green on its next drive as McNulty threw an interception that was returned 60 yards for a touchdown, giving the Owls a 24-21 lead.

“We had another pick touchdown again, just inexcusable by our offense,” McCarney said. “There is no place in our program to give them free touchdowns. Until we figure that out, we are going to continue to get our butts beat on Saturdays.”

Rice went on a 79-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, which gave the Owls a 10-point lead. Rice managed to score one more touchdown and a field goal to put the game out of reach at 41-21.

McNulty completed 15 of 33 passes and had 186 yards passing, with one touchdown and one interception. Harris had three catches for 65 yards and one receiving touchdown, along with a rushing touchdown. Junior running back Antoinne Jimmerson had 39 rushing yards on 16 attempts.

“I really want to find out about the heart and soul of this football team over the next couple of weeks,” McCarney said.

The Mean Green will have its second bye week of the season next week and will return to action on Nov. 8 to play Florida Atlantic University at Apogee Stadium for Homecoming.

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