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Turnovers doom Mean Green again in loss vs. Rice

Turnovers doom Mean Green again in loss vs. Rice

North Texas senior wide reciever Carlos Harris (9) catches a touchdown in the endzone from Andrew McNulty (5) against Rice on September 19th. Dylan Nadwodny | Intern Photographer

Turnovers doom Mean Green again in loss vs. Rice
September 19
18:27 2015

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

Seven turnovers in eight quarters of play.

That is the statistic that has buried the Mean Green two games into the 2015 season, and was one reason North Texas (0-2, 0-1) dropped its home opener Saturday against Rice 38-24.

“You can’t hurt your football team by being loose with the ball,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “You’re carrying 117 players and a coaching staff under your arm. You can’t do it.”

After forcing a quick three and out to start the second quarter, Rice was forced to punt the ball back to the Mean Green, trailing 3-0 at the time. Despite being waved off by teammates and coaches, junior wide receiver Darvin Kidsy muffed the punt, and the Owls (2-1, 1-0)recovered at the North Texas 18 yard line. They would score a few minutes later, as Rice converted each Mean Green turnover into points.

UNT Cheer keeps the energy up during Saturday’s game against Rice.  Matthew Brown | Staff Photographer

UNT Cheer keeps the energy up during Saturday’s game against Rice. Matthew Brown | Staff Photographer

“[Kidsy] has played a lot of football around here,” McCarney said. “It was poor judgment on his part. He wanted to make a play, he’s aggressive, he’s a competitor. But in that situation, common sense has to win out.”

Trailing 14-10 with under three minutes in the second quarter, North Texas put together an impressive drive and threatened to score going into intermission. But after sophomore running back Willie Ivery took a handoff on a sweep that gained 20 yards, he fumbled the ball back to Rice, eliminating any chance of points before the half.

“We have to hold onto the ball,” senior running back Antoinne Jimmerson said, who also had a fumble on the day that was recovered by North Texas. “It’s just mistakes. The mistakes are on us. We get ahead of ourselves in the game and try to do too much.”

Quarterback Andrew McNulty runs toward the goal line after a snap from his Mean Green teammates.

Quarterback Andrew McNulty (5) runs toward the goal line after a snap from his Mean Green teammates.

Senior quarterback Andrew McNulty, who struggled in the season opener last weekend against Southern Methodist University, bounced back in week two, finishing 19 for 35 with 303 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. One of those touchdowns, a 93 yard strike to senior wide receiver Carlos Harris, was the third longest scoring play in North Texas history.

Unfortunately for the Mean Green, even McNulty was guilty of a turnover, as the senior had a deflected pass intercepted on North Texas’ first drive of the second half.

“We just can’t hurt ourselves offensively, we can’t take points off the board,” McNulty said. “We can’t continue to put our defense in that position, going minus three in the turnover margin.”

North Texas hits the road the next two weeks for games against Iowa and Southern Miss, and will not play at home again until October 10. After two straight losses and a less than stellar road record of 5-21 under McCarney, the Mean Green will look to amend its turnover problem before traveling to Iowa University next weekend.

“It’s hard to overcome the mistakes we made today,” McCarney said. “We’ve got a lot of improvement to do and we’ve just go to stay on that live and keep improving.”

Featured Image: North Texas senior wide receiver Carlos Harris (9) catches a touchdown in the end zone from Andrew McNulty (5) against Rice on September 19. Dylan Nadwodny | Intern Photographer

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