DENTON, Texas (10/17/09) - Lance Dunbar rushed for a career-high 238 yards and three touchdowns, but the North Texas football team came up short, 44-40, against Florida Atlantic on Saturday night at Fouts Field.
The Mean Green falls to 1-5 and 0-3 in the Sun Belt, while the Owls improve to 1-4 and 1-1 in the conference. North Texas is now 0-6 all-time against FAU, including an 0-4 mark in Denton. The Mean Green is now riding an eight-game home losing streak.
North Texas held an early 13-0 lead, gave up 30 points in the second quarter, and was down by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before coming back to hold a 40-37 lead with 11:38 left in the game. Alfred Morris' one-yard touchdown run at 4:55 in the fourth quarter proved to be the gamewinner for the Owls.
Dunbar had a career night. He rushed for 238 yards on 25 carries and scored three times. His long was for 50 yards, coming in the third-quarter comeback. He reached the 100-yard plateau after just 10 carries and 7:41 of game clock. His 238 yards are the most by a North Texas player since Jamario Thomas racked up 291 yards against Idaho on Nov. 13, 2004.
Nathan Tune stepped into the game in the second quarter after Riley Dodge went down with an ankle injury. Tune completed 13 of 17 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown pass. His touchdown pass to Darius Carey in the third quarter helped spark the Mean Green comeback.
Carey had two touchdowns in the game, a career high. He and Jamaal Jackson tied for the team lead with five catches. Carey gave the Mean Green a 7-0 lead with a one-yard run.
The start for North Texas was so promising. The Mean Green scored touchdowns on its first two possessions, and the NT defense forced a three-and-out on FAU's first possession. The Owls came back with a vengeance in the second quarter, outscoring North Texas, 30-7.
After Dodge connected with Jamaal Jackson for the longest offensive play of the season, a 69-yard touchdown, to keep NT ahead, 19-7, FAU scored 20 straight points. A Morris two-yard touchdown run and a 14-yard rush into the end zone by Rusty Smith gave FAU its first lead, 21-19, with 4:16 left in the third quarter.
North Texas fumbled twice over the next three minutes, leading to 10 FAU points, extending the Owls lead to 30-19 at the end of the second quarter.
With FAU holding its largest lead of the game, 37-19, at the start of the third quarter, North Texas began its comeback. The Mean Green scored three straight times to regain the lead, 40-37, in the fourth quarter for the first time since the first quarter. Carey caught his first touchdown reception of the game in the Mean Green comeback and Dunbar recorded his second and third touchdown runs.
The Mean Green held the lead for six minutes before a Morris one-yard touchdown run returned the lead to the Owls, 44-40.
North Texas went 0-2 on fourth-down conversions in its final two possessions for the game.
The Mean Green returns to action on the road against Troy at 2:30 p.m.