UNT Rolls to Comeback Win Over ULL

by BoCarter | Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012

North Texas May Have Turned Corner With 30-23 Win Over Louisiana

DENTON, Texas – North Texas head coach Dan McCarney saw a friend last Monday afternoon before the UNT-Louisiana contest televised on ESPN the following evening.  And he simply proved to be prophetic…
“How are you doing?” he asked the guest. “It’s a great day for football. I’m feeling great, too, and we’re about ready to go for tomorrow.”
And the second-year Eagles coach was more than happy to comment about the state of North Texas football and a possible breakthrough contest against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
“We are just about one step away from getting there,” noted the Mean Green mentor. “This team played its guts out at Kansas State and really should have beaten Troy. If the little things and execution fall into place, we have a really good chance against ULL.”
Yep, the prophet just might have been talking about UNT’s second-half comeback from a 20-6 deficit into a critical 30-23 win over the Cajuns. Most importantly, it kept the Eagles in the running for a bowl berth and raised their Sun Belt Conference mark to 2-1 (3-4) overall, ULL, which had lost previously at Oklahoma State, dropped to 4-2 and 2-1 in the SBC – both are just ½ game behind Western Kentucky and ULM in the taut league standings.
The big return for the Eagles actually started with a 42-yard field goal with 52 seconds left before intermission by Zach Olen to trim the Cajuns lead to 13-6. ULL struck again, though, with an early third TD toss from Terrance Broadway to WR Harry Peoples of football-famous Winona, Miss.
From there it was all Mean Green except for a final quarter field goal by ULL.
RB Antoinne Jimmerson got the comeback party started with 5:04 left in the third canto on a 28-yard scoring pass from Derek Thompson to cut the advantage to 20-13 after the PAT. That opened a 24-point outburst by McCarney’s forces over the next 23 clock minutes with a 78-yard Thompson-to-Jimmerson TD toss with 1:54 left in regulation sealing the victory.
In between, WR Brelan Chancellor gained redemption for a probable touchdown pass drop in the opening half with a swerving, 34-yard end around with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter. Olen put the Eagles on top for the first time with a 22-yard field goal with 11:44 to go in regulation to cap a time-consuming, 77-yard drive.
Possibly the biggest factor in the league verdict was the Thompson-Jimmerson Show with both of their hookups going for scores. Thompson, a junior from “Texas dinosaur country” in Glen Rose, enjoyed one of his finest individual nights with 17 completions on 28 attempts for 282 yards, the two TDs and no interceptions.
The Eagles did not commit a turnover while forcing two against ULL’s talented Broadway, who rushed for 84 yards on five carries and one TD (a 75-yard sprint) while going 26-for-41 passing for 265 yards and one TD. Brandin Byrd added 88 hard-earned yards on 22 carries while Jeremy Brown rushed for 72 yards on 11 tries as the Mean Green dominated possession with the long drives.
“Obviously, we’re really thrilled with this victory,” McCarney noted. “We had to challenge our team at halftime to grow up a little, and I was really appreciative of our students and fans for their support. We made some inexcusable mental mistakes in the first half, but I was proud of the way we played in the second half.”
The UNT chief also was pleased earlier in the week with Iowa State (where he was head coach from 1995-2006 with five bowl teams from 2000-06), which made its first appearance ever in the Bowl Championship Series at No. 24 on Oct. 14.
“We had some good times up there and many good memories,” McCarney observed, “but I’m very happy to be at North Texas. So many people worked very hard to turn things around at ISU the last 15-20 years.”
And he is not taking anything for granted as UNT has a little extra time to prepare for an Oct. 27 trek to Middle Tennessee, a team which clobbered Georgia Tech 49-24 earlier this season in Atlanta.
Maybe “Coach Mac” can get out that turban and do some more game performance foretelling before the key Sun Belt tussle in Murfreesboro, Tenn., at 3:30 p.m. (CDT) on ESPN3/ESPN select.
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