It was senior day on Saturday at Apogee stadium, as 17 seniors would be playing their last home game of their North Texas careers. Not only were they fighting to win coach Dan McCarney’s “Senior Bowl”, but they were also still trying to get to 6 wins and become bowl eligible.
The Mean Green got off to a slow start in the first quarter down 7-0, something that’s been troubling them over the last 5 games as they’ve been outscored 57-9 to start games. It didn’t take long for the Mean Green to get into gear in the 2nd quarter as senior Jeremy Brown broke a 51-yard td run. Brown’s run was the longest this season for North Texas. They added a TD pass from Thompson to TE Drew Miller but South Alabama added a TD to make it all knotted up 14 going into the half.
The Mean Green came out of halftime with a different attitude and it showed as they scored the final 17 points (dating back to the 2nd quarter) of the game to beat South Alabama 24-14. The biggest play of the second half was Brandin Byrd’s 85 yard TD run in the 3rd quarter that broke Jeremy Brown’s record for longest run in school history that he set just a quarter earlier. UNT ran for 197 yards in the game, something they struggled to do last week in a loss. The defense came up big forcing two fumbles and recovering both, creating the first turnovers in 3 games.
After winning the game, the Mean Green are now 7-0 under Dan McCarney when leading after 3 quarters. Junior QB Derek Thompson didn’t have a fantastic game, but he did reach 4,062 yards passing for his career and moved into 6thall-time in North Texas history.
Now the Mean Green will work on doing something they haven’t done all season, trying to win consecutive games. They have two road games remaining against conference foes and only one thing left to fight for. This season started with playing a team that played in last year’s championship game, and now #1 ranked Kansas State. It’s a very young team and if they can win the last two and make it to a bowl coach, McCarney would have to call it a successful season.