White team edges out green team in annual spring football game following hall of fame ceremony

White team edges out green team in annual spring football game following hall of fame ceremony

April 13
21:47 2014

Ehsan Azad // Staff Writer

Following the North Texas Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony where six inductees were honored, the Mean Green football team played its annual spring game and ended with the white team defeating the green team 35-31 Saturday afternoon at Apogee Stadium.

The teams were made by dividing up the entire football team, putting the first and third string players on the green team and the second and fourth string players on the white team. The white team started the game with a 21-0 advantage and kickoffs were eliminated from the game. Instead, the teams got the ball at the 25-yard line.

The white team started out strong with its starting quarterback freshman Connor Means hitting freshman wide receiver Turner Smiley for a 17-yard touchdown. That gave the team a 28-0 lead early in the first quarter.

The green team responded when junior quarterback Andrew McNulty threw a six-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Carlos Harris. Making his case for the starting quarterback position, McNulty had 217 yards and went 15-for-24 passing for the day.

After only getting nine points in the first half, the green team responded with a 24-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Mark Lewis. Then the green team fumbled the ball for the second time in the game, this time resulting in a 57-yard return by sophomore linebacker Sed Ellis. This score pushed the white team to a 35-16 lead late in the third quarter.

Trying to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, the green team’s junior running back Antoinne Jimmerson scored two rushing touchdowns to cut into the white team lead, 35-31. Jimmerson had 96 yards on nine rushing attempts.

While he was a big part of the offense today, balance is what Jimmerson said is the identity of the offense.

“I feel like we are going to be equal,” Jimmerson said. “We got some great receivers that are really going to sneak up on some people.”

The white team held off the green team in the final minutes and took a knee to preserve the victory. For head football coach Dan McCarney, the team isn’t where he wants it to be.

“We are a work on progress out there” McCarney said. “I told them in the locker room that there is not one person in here ready to beat Texas, but we can get there.”

With most of the defensive starters gone from last year due to graduation, a lot of focus has been on how to re-stock the defense and McCarney said that depth has to be a big part of the makeup of the team. He said they aren’t the same as the ranked defense last year, but there are some positives.

“There is some young talent there, there are some guys that can make some plays,” McCarney said. “We want to carry on the great tradition and play great defense come August 30.”

While Means took the majority of the snaps for the white team, the green team alternated between McNulty and sophomore quarterback Josh Greer, who had 152 passing yards with 16 completions for the game. Greer said the competition is heating up and there is no clear cut winner.

“I fully expect this go into summer and fall camps,” Greer said. “I feel like no one has really exerted themselves and stood out this spring. Someone needs to step up and that’s what I am trying to do.”

The Mean Green football team will now move forward with summer portion of training. The team opens up the season in Austin against the University of Texas on August 30.

Before the game, UNT inducted six members to its athletic hall of fame in a ceremony Saturday morning at Apogee Stadium also.

The ceremony started out with opening remarks by Mean Green athletic director Rick Villarreal, who presented the Fred McCain award to Eddie Kuehne. Kuehne, an athletic booster, helped raise $3 million to the athletic program to help build an indoor basketball facility. Mean Green Sports broadcaster George Dunham introduced the members of the 2013 hall of fame class.

Most of the speeches were short, but had sparked some strong emotions by the inductees. Some of the more emotional speeches came from two of the members of the early 2000s bowl teams, quarterback Scott Hall and linebacker Cody Spencer. A standing ovation was held for former North Texas head coach Corky Nelson, who thanked all his former players and coaching assistants.

Other members of the Hall of Fame now are former soccer standout Heather Hutyra and former All-American football star offensive lineman Jim Cooper. Cooper passed away in 2010 and is the first person to be posthumously inducted to the hall. His son received the award on his behalf.

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