North Texas Daily

Mean Green comes back strong on national TV

Mean Green comes back strong on national TV

October 17
01:12 2012

Joshua Friemel  / Sports Editor

In front of a national audience and 17,055 fans, the Mean Green was able to erase a 14-point deficit and defeat the University of Louisiana at Lafayette 30-23 last night. The game was sealed by redshirt freshman defensive back Zac Whitfield’s forced fumble on ULL’s freshman running back Effrem Reed late in the fourth quarter.

UNT (3-4, 2-1) scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 78-yard reception from redshirt freshman running back Antoinne Jimmerson. He finished the night with two receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns to go, along with 35 yards rushing.

“The fight this football team has is unbelievable,” redshirt junior quarterback Derek Thompson said. “In the second half we were a completely different football team, and we played with our hair on fire. That’s what we’ve got to do every time we step on the field.”

During the only home game in October, the Mean Green had 242 yards rushing. Up until this game, ULL (4-2, 2-1) had only given up more than 100 yards rushing once this season, against Oklahoma State. None of the other four opponents had more than 60 yards against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Photo by Jun Ma

The 524 yards of total offense was also the most yards gained by the team since a 2009 matchup against Western Kentucky, when the team had 583 yards.

The Mean Green fell behind early, giving up a one-yard rushing touchdown to Reed. After a 25-yard field goal by junior kicker Zach Olen, ULL’s sophomore quarterback Terrance Broadway had a 75-yard rushing touchdown on the very next play putting ULL up 13-3.

UNT got inside the ULL 20-yard line for a second time but couldn’t score a touchdown. Olen kicked his second field goal of the night, this time from 24 yards out. ULL led 13-6 at the half.

To start the second half, ULL’s Broadway threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Harry Peoples, putting the Ragin’ Cajuns up 20-6.

On the ensuing drive, the Mean Green went for it on a fourth and goal from the one-yard line and didn’t score, giving the ball to ULL.

“The whole week of practice we talked about how it was going to be a 15-round fight,” junior linebacker Zach Orr said. “We watched Muhammad Ali highlights and everything, saying that they’re going to deliver blows and we’re going to deliver blows, but it’s got to be that we’re going to keep fighting. We knew that if we kept fighting we’d come out on top.”

In the third quarter, the Mean Green made the most of its opportunities and scored on two possessions that started at the ULL 46 and 34-yard lines. Thompson connected with Jimmerson for a 23-yard touchdown and junior wide receiver Brelan Chancellor scored on a 34-yard run.

Thompson has now thrown for at least 200 yards in five straight games, the fourth-longest streak in school history.

The third quarter ended in a 20-20 tie, with the Mean Green scoring 14 straight points. UNT outrushed ULL 116-2 in the quarter, and the defense played better than it did in the first half, head coach Dan McCarney said.

“Our technique was better, and our coverage was better,” McCarney said. “We started collapsing the pocket, and that put some pressure on their quarterback in the second half. That’s what I noticed from the sidelines.”

To start the fourth quarter, the Mean Green once again couldn’t score a touchdown in the red zone, and Olen made a 22-yard field goal. Over its last 13 red zone appearances, UNT has scored touchdowns three times.

Senior kicker Brett Baer then tied the game with a 47-yard field goal with about three minutes left in the game.

On the next drive in a third and long situation, Thompson threw a screen pass to Jimmerson that went 78-yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The fumble by Reed sealed the win for the Mean Green.

Photo by : James Coreas

The Mean Green’s next game is against Middle Tennessee on Oct. 27.

Senior staff writer Tyler Owens contributed to this story.

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