North Texas Daily

Team distraught after victory turns to ‘knife-in-the-heart’ loss

Team distraught after victory turns to ‘knife-in-the-heart’ loss

September 14
23:16 2009


By Eric Johnson / Senior Staff Writer –
(Soundslide Composition By Christena Dowsett / Photo Editor)

The pain of losing could be seen on the faces of the Mean Green football players (1-1) as they walked off the field after a 30-31 double-overtime loss to the Ohio University Bobcats (1-1) late Saturday night.

None took the loss harder than Tobe Nwigwe, a redshirt senior linebacker and sociology major who remained silent after seeing victory snatched away on the game’s final play.

“Everyone was holding hands on the sideline, and it just turned in a hurry,” head coach Todd Dodge said. “We went from a feeling of elation to a feeling like a knife right to the heart.”

Riley Dodge, an undeclared redshirt freshman, led the Mean Green on a 60-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter to take a commanding 17-6 lead after his second career touchdown pass.

He would be forced out of the game after the next drive.

Riley Dodge left the game because of an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, which would be eventually labeled a second-degree sprain.

Senior running back Cam Montgomery scores the first touchdown of Saturday’s game on a 4-yard run to give UNT a 9-0 lead. UNT lost in overtime. (Photo by Christena Dowsett / Photo Editor)

Senior running back Cam Montgomery scores the first touchdown of Saturday’s game on a 4-yard run to give UNT a 9-0 lead. UNT lost in overtime. (Photo by Christena Dowsett / Photo Editor)

Backup quarterback Nathan Tune, a finance redshirt junior, walked onto the field to start the fourth quarter.

A hush fell over the crowd of 16, 674 after Tune’s third pass attempt was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by the Bobcats.

But the team would not let that deflate the players’ morale, as Tune settled in to lead a 57-yard drive that would send the game to overtime.

Tune would have been the hero if not for two dropped touchdown passes late in the game.

“Nathan prepares himself every day,” Todd Dodge said. “He got us back in the hunt and made some throws that could have ended the game.”

The Mean Green backed the Bobcats into a corner, forcing fourth-and-goal from the 16-yard line and leaving UNT on the cusp of victory.

Fouts Field was left stunned when the Bobcats scored on the next play, and the mood quickly shifted to anger.

A roughing the passer penalty gave the Bobcats the ball on the 1-yard line for the game winning 2-point conversion, finalizing the loss for UNT in its second-ever overtime game.

UNT’s defense led the way for the second week by allowing 232 yards of total offense, sacking the Bobcats’ quarterbacks four times and forcing three first half turnovers.

Royce Hill, an undeclared sophomore, contributed with an interception and fumble recovery and Nwigwe lead the team with 15 tackles.

They handed the Mean Green offense the ball inside Ohio’s 37-yard line after all three turnovers, but managed to score just 10 points.

“We felt like we really controlled the game,” Hill said. “We just missed some opportunities.”

The offense had turnover problems, giving the ball away four times while the Bobcats kept it out of the end zone twice on the 1-yard line.

Leading the charge offensively for UNT was Cam Montgomery, a senior running back and post-graduate student, who contributed 113 total yards and two touchdowns, including a go-ahead score in the second overtime.

“The offensive line did a great job clearing the way,” Montgomery said. “We believed in ourselves, and we proved that we can come back from adversity.”

UNT goes on the road to challenge the No. 4 team in the nation, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, Saturday.

It will have to do without its starting quarterback as Riley Dodge has been ruled out for next week.

Todd Dodge knows it takes more than one player to make or break the Mean Green.

“This team has come a long way in learning how to win,” Todd Dodge said. “This football team is starting to become a team.”

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