Slow Start Stalls North Texas Football In Conference Opener

DENTON, Texas (9/26/09) - Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two of his own to lead the Blue Raiders to a 37-21 victory against North Texas on Saturday night at Fouts Field.

The Blue Raiders improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Sun Belt, while the Mean Green falls to 1-3 and 0-1 in conference play. NT lost its third straight game this season and is 0-4 in its last four meetings against the Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee jumped out to a 30-7 halftime lead and held on for the victory despite being outscored, 14-7 in the second half by the Mean Green. North Texas scored two touchdowns in the third quarter but was unable to continue the offensive output in the fourth. NT was hurt by five turnovers in the game.

Dasher completed 21 of 43 passes for 269 yards and rushed for 75. He started the game with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Cunningham and capped the victory with a throw to Desmond Gee in the endzone in the fourth quarter.

North Texas running back Lance Dunbar rushed for two touchdowns and a career-high 101 yards. It was the first multiple touchdown game of his career.  He broke loose for a 66-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put North Texas on the scoreboard, 10-7.  It was the longest rush from scrimmage for the Mean Green since Jamario Thomas ran for 77 yards against Middle Tennessee on October 7, 2007.

Mean Green quarterback Riley Dodge posted his first 300-yard passing game. He completed 35 of 54 passes for 313 yards, rushed for a touchdown and threw three interceptions.

The Mean Green offense came alive midway through the third quarter with two touchdowns, cutting the lead to 30-21. Dodge scored the first one on a four-yard scamper, while Dunbar posted his second rushing touchdown of the day with an 18-yard sprint. The Mean Green defense held Middle Tennessee to just one first down in the third quarter.

North Texas started the game on a positive note with Royce Hill returning the opening kickoff 73 yards to the Middle Tennessee 25-yard line. The Mean Green was unable to get a first down, attempted a field goal but had it blocked.

Middle Tennessee started with the ball on its own 20-yard line and moved 80 yards downfield, resulting in  the Dasher/Cunningham hook-up. After a Mean Green fumble on its own 36-yard line, the Blue Raiders took advantage and made a 20-yard field goal to go ahead, 10-0.

Middle Tennessee dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Mean Green, 20-0.  Dasher rushed for two touchdowns, and Alan Gendreau connected on two field goals in the second quarter to lead the scoring for the Blue Raiders.

North Texas had an effective night on special teams. Punter Will Atterberry averaged 43.4 yards and downed four punts inside the 20. Royce Hill combined for 150 yards on four kick returns.



North Texas Mean Green