North Texas Daily

Football back on the road against Rice

Football back on the road against Rice

Football back on the road against Rice
October 23
20:34 2014

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

After a 30-20 home loss to the University of Southern Mississippi, the Mean Green football team will return to the road to play Rice University on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and the game can be viewed on the Fox Sports Network.

North Texas (2-5, 0-3) is searching for its first win since its 77-3 dismantling of Nicholls State University. Since then, the team has lost three straight games.

“Clearly we did some things better than we have in recent weeks as a football team,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “But it wasn’t good enough to win the game. So, accentuate the positives, keep doing those things that we did much better than we did in recent weeks.”

The Mean Green opted to start junior Andrew McNulty at quarterback on Saturday, after starting redshirt freshman Dajon Williams for the previous three games. McNulty completed 20 of 35 passes for 287 yards, and had no turnovers, which is what McCarney said stood out.

“The first thing you got to do is respect the ball, take care of it,” McCarney said. “Andrew did a great job of that, a phenomenal job. Zero turnovers, none, zero. So right away you give your offense a better chance.”

Carlos Harris also had a big day against Southern Miss with 16 catches for 215 yards, and was named the Conference USA player of the week. He said the offense will need to take another step when it faces Rice.

“[We need to improve] getting in the red zone more often,” Harris said. “And putting up touchdowns instead of field goals and not leaving points out there. We had some penalties that I don’t feel went our way. But we can’t control that, we can only control what we do. So we just got to score in the red zone.”

Rice comes in at 3-3 with a 1-1 C-USA record. The last time these two teams faced each other was last Halloween in Denton, where the Mean Green won 28-16. McNulty said the Owls will be challenging again on Saturday.

“They were a tough game for us last year and we expect nothing less this year,” McNulty said. “We just got to be able to go out there and make the plays when the opportunity presents itself.”

North Texas has five games left this season, and can only lose one of them if they want to be bowl eligible for a second straight season. Despite the recent struggles, McNulty said that winning six games is still the goal.

“We set that mission back in January,” McNulty said “We still think that’s very attainable. We know that we have the capability of doing it, and we just have to put together a complete game and focus one week at a time.”

Featured Image: Junior running back Antoinne Jimmerson breaks an open-field tackle during the game against Southern Mississippi University last Saturday. Photo by Byron Thompson – Senior Staff Photographer

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