Turnovers Plunge North Texas Into Early Hole In 56-21 Loss
Mean Green Falls To UAB, Drop To 0-2 In Conference USA Play
Antoinne Jimmerson rushed for a season-high 103 yards in Saturday's loss to UAB. (photo by David Pyke)
BIRMINGHAM, AL - For the third time this year, North Texas fell behind by a staggering four touchdowns before scoring its first points, and, for the third time, the deficit was too great for the Mean Green to overcome.
A pair of UAB defensive touchdowns midway through the first quarter began digging the North Texas hole, and a third defensive TD early in the third quarter ended any Mean Green comeback hopes in a 56-21 loss Saturday at Legion Field.
"It's a sorry excuse for Mean Green football," an emotional North Texas coach Dan McCarney said. "I hope our fans won't desert us, because they have every right to. This was a sorry excuse for college football, coaches and players alike. This was sorry football.
"As a football team, every one of us has to do a much better job."
North Texas has struggled with inconsistency and the inability to maintain momentum as the thick of the Conference USA schedule loomed, and those trends did not reverse Saturday. Although the Mean Green out-gained UAB in total offense, 451-448, North Texas committed five turnovers and gave up some big plays to the Blazers.
North Texas, now 2-4 on the year and - more importantly - 0-2 in C-USA play, opened the game with its defense containing the speedy UAB attack and the Mean Green offense moving but unable to sustain a drive. The game's momentum, however, was thrown solidly in UAB's favor in a stunning 12-second span. At 6:49 of the first quarter, North Texas quarterback Dajon Williams was stripped of the ball and the Blazers' Jovanti Morris scooped up the fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown and 7-0 lead. On the Mean Green's next play, Williams was intercepted by UAB's Lamarcu Farmer, who easily scored for a 14-0 lead.
North Texas regrouped behind its ground game and started pounding the ball with its senior-laden offensive line. But that, too, stalled when the Mean Green appeared to convert a third-and-two but was called for holding, killing the drive. From that point, UAB's offense seized the momentum generated by its defense and drove to a pair of touchdowns for a 28-0 lead.
North Texas rallied for a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter before its comeback hopes died early in the third period when UAB (4-2, 2-1) got its second interception return for a touchdown for a 42-14 lead.
What They Said
"I apologize to our fans. They deserve better than what they saw today."
--North Texas coach Dan McCarney on his team's performance.
"He had a great week in practice, executing and decisions, but he looked like had had no idea what he was doing out there."
--McCarney on quarterback Dajon Williams
• Junior running back Antoinne Jimmerson rushed for 103 yards, a season high for North Texas and the first 100-yard performance of the year for the Mean Green.
• Jimmerson also recorded his longest rush of the season with a 27-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. It was the second-longest touchdown run by a Mean Green player this season behind the 53-yard TD by Erick Evans against SMU.
• Linebacker Derek Akunne had a career high in tackles with 17.
• North Texas was stopped in the red zone for the first time this season. After converting its first two opportunites to move to 19 for 19 (16 touchdowns, three field goals), the Mean Green was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the UAB five-yard line.
• In addition to being down 28-0 three times this year, North Texas was down 21-0 a week ago, and has trailed by three touchdowns or more in all four losses this season.
• Redshirt freshman wide receiver Turner Smiley scored the first touchdown of his career when he pulled in a
• North Texas committed two first-quarter turnovers for the first time this season.
• North Texas has been outscored 35-0 in the first quarter in the last two games.
• The 16-play UAB touchdown drive in the second quarter was the longest scoring drive by a North Texas opponent this season.
• At 56-14, the 42-point deficit was the biggest of the season for North Texas, surpassing the 35-point deficit against Louisiana Tech, and the biggest deficit North Texas has faced in the Dan McCarney era.
• A 71-yard punt by sophomore Eric Keena tied for the 12th longest in North Texas history and the longest since Truman Spencer had a 73-yarder in 2007.
• This was the third career start for Mean Green redshirt freshman quarterback Dajon Williams.
• The 35 points allowed by North Texas in the first half was the most allowed in the first half by the Mean Green in the Dan McCarney era. It was the most first-half points allowed by a North Texas team since it gave up 35 vs. Western Kentucky in 2009.
• North Texas did not force a turnover for the first time this season. The Mean Green had forced a turnover in 21-straight games.
• This was the second-ever meeting between North Texas and UAB. The first came in 1995, which was UAB's first year in I-A and was the Mean Green's first season back in I-A after 12 years in I-AA.
• For the second week in a row, North Texas allowed a pass play of 75 yards or more. UAB wide receiver Maudrecus Humphrey caught a 75-yard pass from Cody Clements in the second quarter.
• North Texas has committed five turnovers which is the most ever committed by a Dan McCarney coached North Texas team. North Texas now has 14 turnovers for the season.
North Texas returns home to face Southern Miss on Saturday, October 18, at 6 p.m. at Apogee Stadium.