North Texas football romped by Western Kentucky, bowl hopes in doubt

North Texas football romped by Western Kentucky, bowl hopes in doubt

November 12
20:11 2016

Led by a massive performance from senior wide receiver Taywan Taylor in his final regular season home game, Western Kentucky Univesity downed North Texas football 45-7 on Saturday. Taylor finished with six catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns.

The Mean Green (4-6, 2-4) must now win its final two games to become bowl eligible this season. North Texas could only muster 232 yards of offense while allowing the Hilltoppers (8-3, 5-1) to soar for 542 yards.
“We’re not going to be happy or satisfied one bit with losing,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “It hurts. That’s something we don’t want to get used to.”
There was not much that went right for the Mean Green in the first half, or all day, for that matter.

Zero points, one fumble and two quarterbacks told the tale of the first half.

Miscues between freshman quarterback Mason Fine and senior center Sam Rice led to an out-of-sync offensive rhythm. Fine fumbled early in the second quarter after a blindside hit and left the game with a sprained AC joint.
“It’s not great,” Littrell said of Fine’s injury. “We’ll have to do a further evaluation when we get back.”
Fine finished 3-for-6 with just nine yards passing. Senior Alec Morris saw his first significant time since the season opener as Fine’s replacement and went a smooth 5-for-8 for 30 yards on his first drive.

Morris’ first drive at the helm since Sept. 10 against Bethune-Cookman University put the Mean Green in position for their only points of the half, but junior kicker Trevor Moore pushed the 47-yard field goal wide.

After that, things looked bland for the senior. Morris ended the afternoon 14-for-26 with 108 yards and an interception. His counterpart, junior quarterback Mike White, finished 14-for-25 with 316 yards and four touchdowns. As a result, the Hilltoppers put up 38 unanswered points through three quarters.
“That’s a really good football team,” Littrell said. “We didn’t have success on all three sides of the ball.”
The Hilltoppers opened with two massive plays by Taylor. He went 64 and 75 yards on two of the first three Western Kentucky drives to open a 14-0 lead. The Hilltoppers added a field goal and then another touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after Fine’s fumble and injury.

Senior running back Anthony Wales tacked on one more touchdown before halftime to put Western Kentucky up 31-0 at halftime. Wales’ touchdown was the only non-passing touchdown of the half.

But halftime only meant a temporary reprieve from the Hilltoppers’ onslaught, as Western Kentucky jumped right back into the action with a 24-yard touchdown catch by senior wide receiver Nicholas Norris, who finished with five catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns of his own.

North Texas finally got on the board in the third quarter when junior running back Andrew Tucker streaked down the field 71 yards for his second touchdown of the season and the longest run of his career.

The scoring did not stop for Western Kentucky, though. Hilltopper graduate quarterback Tyler Ferguson tossed a pass to Taylor who hauled in yet another touchdown, his third of the game and 13th of the season from four yards out to make it 45-7 with three minutes to play.

That would be the final score, as the Mean Green now face Southern Mississippi University at home, 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“We’ll focus in on this next week,” Littrell said. “We have a chance to go out and play in front of our fans and keep our dream alive.”

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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