North Texas Daily

Mean Green football opens season with 40-6 victory

Mean Green football opens season with 40-6 victory

Mean Green football opens season with 40-6 victory
August 31
21:29 2013

Tim Cato / Sports Editor

The Mean Green football team opened its era as a member of Conference USA with a resounding victory, beating the University of Idaho 40-6 at home on Saturday night.

It was the first time UNT (1-0) won its season opener in four years. After allowing a touchdown just two minutes into the game, the Mean Green flipped the switch on Idaho (0-1) and scored the next 40 points unanswered.

“It’s a great feeling; it’s the first time anyone in this locker room started off 1-0 in a North Texas uniform,” senior linebacker Zach Orr said. “We always wanted to get that first win of the season, and we were finally able to get it down.”

It was a complete game for the Mean Green offense, spreading out six touchdowns among five players. Senior quarterback Derek Thompson highlighted the day with 349 yards and two touchdowns through the air, completing 23 of his 27 passes.

The team finished with 591 yards of total offense, the third highest total in school history. Twelve different players caught passes for the Mean Green, showcasing the quality backups that head coach Dan McCarney focused on bringing to UNT.

“From an effort standpoint, we played more guys than we ever have since I took over the program, which is exactly what I wanted to do,” McCarney said. “You build depth, you build competition.”

Despite the lopsided score, McCarney said his team was not as sharp as they wanted to be. The defense allowed a 59-yard pass and a 47-yard run in the first quarter, the former setting up the early Idaho touchdown.

“We had a poor start offensively and then got busted early on defense,” McCarney said. “Anytime you let the other team have a big play, it sickens me.”

The defense improved after the initial breakdowns. Orr led the team with ten tackles and caused one of the three forced fumbles on the day. UNT tallied just six forced fumbles in 12 games last season.

Special team coordinator Tommy Perry joined the Mean Green staff over the off-season and his unit immediately made an impact. Senior wide receiver Brelan Chancellor returned three punts for 111 yards – more punt return yards than UNT produced as a team in the past two years combined.

Chancellor also made a big impact with six receptions for 135 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown in the opening quarter.

“The more he gets the football, the more good things are going to happen to us,” Thompson said. “He’s that type of playmaker.”

The game was UNT’s first home opener in 12 years. The school paid Idaho $410,000 to make the trip to Apogee Stadium.

The team will travel to the University of Ohio on Sept. 7 to try to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 1994. The game kicks off at 6 p.m.

Additional reporting done by senior staff writer Brett Medeiros. Feature photo by intern Ryan Vance. 

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