Football

North Texas looks to end road skid against Middle Tennessee State

North Texas senior wide receiver Carlos Harris’ 3,067 yards is ninth in Mean Green history.
North Texas senior wide receiver Carlos Harris’ 3,067 yards is ninth in Mean Green history. Special to the Star-Telegram

North Texas wide receiver Carlos Harris has been on his coaches’ radar all season because of a Twitter habit that at times has been used to express his frustration with the Mean Green’s season.

He sent out another last week that made some wince at first glance, a tweet that some took to mean he was counting the days until this season — and his career — was over.

Not the case, said Mike Canales, who in addition to his duties as interim coach has become the Mean Green’s social media czar.

 ‘I have two weeks to play,’ ” Canales said his star receiver told him. “And it’s going to be gone. And he realizes that. “ ‘I want to win these two weeks so bad and I’m going to give it all I’ve got.’ 

3,067 Receiving yards for Carlos Harris, ninth in Mean Green history

The first of those final two games is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Middle Tennessee State, which is 5-5 and one victory shy of bowl eligibility. The Blue Raiders enter 4-2 in Conference USA’s East Division, two games behind leader Western Kentucky.

The game marks North Texas’ third consecutive on the road. The Mean Green, 1-9 and 1-5, is riding a 12-game road losing streak, having not won away from Denton since Nov. 30, 2013.

The Mean Green defense, ranked 123 out of 127 FBS schools, won’t get a break against Middle Tennessee State, which averages 32.8 points a game.

118 North Texas’ offensive rank (331.2 yards per game)

Quarterback Brent Stockstill, son of Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill, owned nearly every freshman passing record through eight games. He can extend plays with his feet as well.

“You can see his growth,” Canales said. “He’s grown into that leadership role, and he’s making a lot of throws.”

Ed Batties and Richie James statistically are Middle Tennessee’s best receiving tandem for one season, with 149 combined receptions and counting.

Harris not finished

Harris is closing out a superb career, having already moved into the top 10 all time at North Texas in all-purpose yardage. Harris’ 3,067 yards is ninth in Mean Green history.

Harris also moved into second-place all time with 191 receptions, passing Johnny Quinn, the former football standout turned Olympic bobsledder. Harris is one receiving TD shy of moving into the top10 all time, and his 14 total TDs for his career is seventh.

The Mean Green is coming off a 24-0 loss to Tennessee. The shutout was UNT’s first since 2011 by Alabama.

“I’m proud of our effort and the way they played. I don’t want them to be satisfied with just giving great effort,” Canales said. “The one thing I was disappointed in was we were shut out.

“We left too many plays on the field.”

North Texas’ offense is ranked 118th in the nation.

Bad trend

North Texas needs victories in each of its final two games to avoid a 10-loss season. In the school’s first 91 seasons, North Texas had only one season (1972) with 10 or more losses.

However, with a loss in either of the final two games, North Texas will have registered its fourth season of 10 or more losses in the past 10 years.

North Texas at Middle Tennessee State

11 a.m. Saturday

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