North Texas Daily

UNT football team drops season finale

UNT football team drops season finale

November 26
21:53 2012

Tyler Owens / Senior Staff Writer

With a 25-24 loss to Western Kentucky on Saturday, the Mean Green football team closes the book on the 2012 season and its tenure as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

UNT had a 14-point fourth quarter lead but let the game slip through its fingers as the Hilltoppers roared back to take the final game of the season.

Head coach Dan McCarney said that while the loss is severely disappointing for the team, he is proud of his players’ efforts.

“Really a disappointing loss at the end, but, as I told my football team, I’m really proud of the seniors,” he said. “There are no cracks in the foundation of this program. Because of them it’s a strong foundation, and from the bottom of my heart and the fabric of my soul, I appreciate all that they’ve done for us.”

Throughout the season, the Mean Green (4-8, 3-5) had been doomed by poor offensive production in the first quarter, but in Saturday’s matchup it was a scoreless fourth quarter led by big plays for WKU (7-5, 4-4) that ended UNT’s season on a sour note.

“We were fighting hard on [defense], trying to stop the run and limit the time that they were eating off the clock,” senior defensive tackle Tevinn Cantly said. “We were just unable to make the plays that we needed to make.”

UNT had a 24-10 lead with about 13 minutes left in the game, when WKU defensive back Jonathan Dowling intercepted UNT redshirt junior quarterback Derek Thompson’s pass and returned it for a touchdown.

That play sparked the Hilltopper comeback, and WKU head coach Willie Taggart said the team never stopped believing.

“Throughout that third quarter when we would move the ball then make a mistake, I told those guys, ‘You’ve got to keep believing, and we’re going to win this ball game,’” he said in a post-game press conference. “We just stayed positive and, I think more than anything, it’s the first time in a long time where we stayed positive through adversity and it paid off for us.”

Though the season ended with a tough loss and the team won one fewer game than last year, the Mean Green has a lot to look forward to next season in Conference USA.

“I think at the heart of this program right now, the important thing is expectations have been raised with football, with academics, with behavior, and I know we’ve improved, even though it didn’t show as much as we wanted it to in overall record this year,” McCarney said.

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