By Craig Fields
Derek Thompson threw for 221 yards and a touchdown and ran for another as the North Texas Mean Green beat the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 28-13 at Joe Aillet Stadium in Louisiana.
The Mean Green started off slow and actually found themselves at a 10-0 deficit, when lo and behold, Brelan Chancellor came to the rescue. Derek Thompson was flushed from the pocket and heaved the football downfield toward Chancellor who leaped in the air, caught the ball, and sprinted the rest of the way to complete a 61-yard pass and catch to the endzone.
For much of the first half, the Mean Green looked sluggish and confused about what to do on offense. Derek Thompson was responsible for throwing an interception that gave the Bulldogs a short field to go up 7-0. The Brelan Chancellor play was the big play that North Texas needed.
On the following Bulldog possession the change of momentum was complete as sophomore defensive back Zac Whitfield intercepted a pass from LA Tech’s quarterback Higgins, and took it to the house for a 56-yard touchdown, to make the game 14-10 at halftime.
The Mean Green would not relinquish the lead again as the defense really buckled down and only gave up three points the rest of the way. The Bulldogs, though out gaining the Mean Green 404-386 in total yardage, could not really sustain drives as they turned the ball over three different times, compared to North Texas’ one.
The Mean Green defense held a potent rushing attack to just 37 total yards. Kenneth Dixon, who was averaging six yards a carry for the Bulldogs coming into this game, had 25 yards on 12 carries for a dismal 2.1 yards per carry average. For majority of the game the defensive front seven had their way with the offensive line of the Bulldogs.
The Mean Green were able to run the effectively for the second straight game totaling 165 yards on the ground. Running backs Brandin Byrd and Antoinne Jimmerson were responsible for 121 yards of the 165, though Byrd got into the endzone for a score.
Winning this game marks the first time since 2004 that a North Texas football team has won back to back games. Winning this game shows the change of attitude and focus that this entire program has.
Coach Dan McCarney realizes that win was huge for his guys. “We’re gonna enjoy this one for a few hours, but then get ready for Southern Miss,” he said. “I told my guys to just go out there and play like their hair is on fire. Get after it. And that is exactly what they did. We’re gonna enjoy this one for a little bit but then we’ll get ready for Southern Miss.”
Because of Coach McCarney and staff, this team’s mantra and goal of “HIT SIX” is not only alive and well, but a realistic possibility.