North Texas Daily

Ranking the top five most exciting games of the fall semester

Ranking the top five most exciting games of the fall semester

December 27
13:37 2017

Coming off one of the best fall seasons in North Texas athletics’ history, fans and athletes were treated to great sporting events on what felt like a nightly basis.

Now that football, volleyball and soccer are finished and both men’s and women’s basketball are in full swing, it’s a perfect time to rank the top five games of the fall semester.

No. 5: Men’s basketball – North Texas 79, Indiana State 76

This game had a tremendous ending, but the fact the Mean Green trailed by ten early in the second half makes it an even better win for head coach Grant McCasland and his team.

The comeback was somewhat of a surprise as North Texas was constantly getting outshot and outplayed in the first half. In the second half though, it was the Mean Green’s starters who began to take over. Senior forward Shane Temara scored 18 points while sophomore guards A.J. Lawson and Roosevelt Smart combined for 39.

Three of Lawson’s points came as time expired on a huge buzzer-beating three to send the game to overtime.

Once the team got to overtime they were able to pull the game out in what their coach called a win that could be a turning point in their season.

This game had the comeback, improbable ending and a major win in terms of importance for the men’s basketball season. The only reason it is not higher is because it’s not a conference game or a late season game.

Game recap:

No. 4: Soccer – North Texas 1, Rice 1

It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the soccer team, but they went 14-4-4 overall, won the Conference USA tournament, made the NCAA tournament and kept the nation’s longest streak of being unbeaten at home in conference play alive.

The last of those accomplishments came to fruition in an incredible match against Rice University on Oct. 27 in the Mean Green’s second to last home match of the year. Rice was ranked No.18 in the country at the time and had been laying waste to all of Conference USA prior to the meeting with North Texas.

Just as the streak seemed to be on it’s tipping point with Rice leading 1-0 with under three minutes left, senior forward Cat Sebazco put away a goal from the back post area off of an 88th minute corner from junior forward Aaliyah Nolan.

The match went to extra time where both teams had chances but the match ended in a 1-1 draw after a combined 30 shots and 13 corners.

Game recap:

No. 3: Football – North Texas 52, Army 49

There were four scores in the final 4:05 of play with three lead changes and three ties, but this was also the best overall game the Mean Green played this season from start to finish.

It was a spectacle this late in the season to see how crisp everyone was and how perfectly everything ran on both sides. From Army’s triple option being unstoppable to North Texas’ sophomore quarterback Mason Fine passing for 386 yards and four touchdowns on 24-of-36 attempts, it was a thrilling clash of styles at Apogee Stadium.

Army kept it close until the end, but just as it had done all season, North Texas found a way to win and drove into field goal range where senior kicker Trevor Moore nailed a 39-yard field goal with five seconds left.

Game recap:

No. 2: Football – North Texas 29, UTSA 26

The only football game that could surpass the Army game needed a miracle. We all know the tale by now. Fine and the Mean Green offense took over at their two yard-line with no timeouts with 1:07 left on the clock in the fourth quarter down 26-22.

The rest is history, now known as the Mid-Term Miracle.

Fine drove the offense down the field and delivered the game-winning touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Rico Bussey Jr. on a crossing route while getting destroyed by an oncoming blitz.

It’s a drive that will never be forgotten by anyone in Apogee that night and it’s one that encapsulated North Texas’ season.

Game recap:

No. 1: Volleyball – North Texas 3, Western Kentucky 2

The UTSA drive was amazing. The win over Army was enthralling. But the volleyball team’s match against Western Kentucky was far more historic and meaningful.

It was an event that captivated everyone’s attention and twisted their emotions from the first point to an unbelievable ending in a five set win for North Texas (15-25, 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 15-13) on Nov. 9. The victory essentially won the team its first regular season title in school history.

The environment in a small gym that holds no more than 500 was electrifying and everyone there was having a great time. Well, except for Western Kentucky, which entered on a 38 match winning streak against Conference USA teams and came in with three preseason All-Americans.

After dropping the first set, the Mean Green regrouped to win the next two before falling in the fourth set. The decisive fifth set was indescribably tense and North Texas somehow managed to pull out a 15-13 win.

It was the biggest win in North Texas volleyball history by the best team in program history. The improbable victory was a statement. It showed the Mean Green were for real and showed just how special this team was.

It was the obvious pick for best game of the first semester.

Game recap:

Honorable Mention

Here are five honorable mention selections for this list, because these fantastic finishes deserve to be mentioned.

In no particular order: 

Men’s basketball 86-83 OT win over San Diego on Dec. 17. 

Women’s basketball 55-54 loss to Kansas State on Nov. 19.

Women’s basketball 63-61 OT win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 20.

Football’s 46-43 win against University of Alabama at Birmingham on Sept. 23.

Soccer’s 0-0 (3-1) C-USA championship win over Charlotte on Nov. 5. 

Featured Image: North Texas senior running back Jeffery Wilson (3) celebrates in the stands after a win against the University of Texas at San Antonio. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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