North Texas Daily

Special teams helps UNT give No. 9 Georgia a scare

Special teams helps UNT give No. 9 Georgia a scare

Special teams helps UNT give No. 9 Georgia a scare
September 21
16:00 2013

Brett Medeiros / Senior Staff Writer

Battling heavy rain and a hostile crowd of 92,746, UNT played the No. 9 University of Georgia tough, but couldn’t stop the Bulldogs from a 45-21 win on Saturday in Athens, Ga.

Two special teams touchdowns helped the Mean Green football team (2-2) tie the score at 21 with 14:17 left in the third quarter, the largest point total ever put up against a top ten team by UNT.

Senior wide receiver Brelan Chancellor ran a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter and senior safety Marcus Trice blocked a punt that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown, highlighting a great afternoon for the special teams.

“We’ve really tried to improve our special teams, which we badly needed to do,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “We made some big plays on special teams, which we needed to, because our offense only scored seven points.”

But the blocked punt early in the third quarter was the last time UNT would score, as Georgia (2-1) closed the game out with 24 unanswered points.

“I wasn’t kidding when I was trying to explain to everyone that this is a good football team,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. “These guys are really good players and they are really well coached. They gave us one heck of a ballgame.”

Coming into the game leading the nation in takeaways, the UNT defense forced a fumble and an interception but struggled to prevent big plays from the offense.

The Bulldogs registered five plays of 30 yards – including a Georgia school record 98-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter.

UNT’s offense had just one such play, a 30-yard pass to junior running back Reggie Pegram.

“We had a couple too many miscues on the offensive side,” Chancellor said. “Really, we were hurting ourselves out there.”

With junior left tackle Antonio Johnson missing the game with a knee injury, the heralded Mean Green offensive line gave up a couple sacks after allowing just two in the previous three games.

The offensive line also struggled to provide room for the running game. Four different players rushed the ball a combined 20 times for the Mean Green, netting just eight total yards. Senior quarterback Derek Thompson completed 21 for 36 passes for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

“This game hurts, and it should hurt,” McCarney said. “If we continue to improve, and guys take responsibility for their mistakes — coaches and players alike – we’ve got a real chance to make a run in Conference USA.”

The UNT athletics program received $975,000 from Georgia to play the game.

The Mean Green does not have a game scheduled next weekend. The team’s first Conference USA game will be played in two weeks against Tulane in New Orleans, La. on Oct. 5.

Box score

Senior quarterback Derek Thompson passes the ball during the game against Georgia today in Athens. Feature photo courtesy of David Pyke.

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