North Texas football: ‘Let’s not limp into bowl season’

Posted Friday, Nov. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A
More information North Texas at Tulsa 1:30 p.m. Saturday , H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa Records: North Texas 7-4, 5-2 C-USA; Tulsa 3-8, 2-5 TV: FSSW Radio: KHYI/95.2 FM, KNTU/88.1 FM

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

In ranking life’s disappointments, North Texas’ loss last Saturday ratesabout as high for Mean Green players as any in their football careers.

But life in football goes on despite the disappearance of the Mean Green’s five-game winning streak and hopes of a Conference USA championship after a 21-13 defeat to UT San Antonio in North Texas’ home finale.

Dwelling on the disappointment puts North Texas at risk of losing to UTSA a second time, coach Dan McCarney said.

The Mean Green closes the regular season at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Tulsa (3-8, 2-5 C-USA).

North Texas (7-4, 5-2), which has clinched a bowl game, can still win a share of the C-USA West Division title with a victory and a Rice loss. UTSA needs a win and a Rice loss to clinch a C-USA title berth.

An eighth victory would also mark the biggest turnaround in consecutive seasons for the Mean Green since 1984.

“Let’s not limp into bowl season,” said McCarney, whose team can also be just the 13th in school history with eight victories. “It’s time to move on. Hopefully, we’ve done a good job of that.

“This will be a hungry Tulsa team.”

Tulsa and North Texas have both defied expectations.

The Golden Hurricane were picked to win the West Division in a preseason survey of the league’s coaches. North Texas was picked fifth.

The difference in the teams’ fates lie in experience. While North Texas starts 13 seniors, Tulsa’s top lines include 11 underclassmen.

Though it won’t meet those preseason expectations, Tulsa welcomes North Texas playing better football than the record indicates.

Tulsa forced 13 turnovers in its first nine games, but nine in its last two, including five in a close loss to East Division co-leader Marshall and four last week in a 10-point victory on the road against Louisiana Tech.

The Golden Hurricane has 26 sacks in the past eight games, led by Shawn Jackson and Derrick Alexander. Tulsa had six sacks a week ago.

History is on Tulsa’s side.

The Golden Hurricane has won the last 10 meetings between the schools, including the most recent in 2011.

Trey Watts leads the conference in rushing with more than 1,200 yards. He’s also a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, presented to college football’s most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.

North Texas’ turnaround has centered on playing well at home, but the Mean Green is vying for a third consecutive victory on the road.

Protecting quarterback Derek Thompson against the Golden Hurricane’s front starts with getting the running game back up and running.

North Texas running backs Brandin Byrd and Antoinne Jimmerson stumbled a week ago, combining for 92 yards on 22 carries.

The UTSA game is “over and done with,” McCarney said. “Don’t think we don’t have a lot to play for. We do. Let’s go get that eighth win.”

Head to head

UNTTul
Pts/game30.522.1
Total off.399367.1
Pass off.232.5198.5
Rush off.166.5168.6
3rd down 46.2%36.8%
Pts allowed18.833.2
Total def.366.4418.6
Pass def.241235.9
Rush def.125.4182.7
Def. 3rd down 38.1%44.1%

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 3Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Tampa Bay14Final | Box
Atlanta «56Gridiron Replay
Sunday
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Detroit TV: FOX
Indianapolis 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
New Orleans TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
NY Giants TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: FOX
Dallas 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Kansas City 4:25 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Denver 4:25 PM ET
Seattle TV: CBS
Pittsburgh 8:30 PM ET
Carolina TV: NBC
Monday
Chicago 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Friday, September 19Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard