Bowling Green, Ky. (11/24/12) - WKU scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 14-point deficit and defeat the North Texas football team, 25-24, on Saturday afternoon at L.T. Smith Stadium.
The Hilltoppers improve to 7-5 and 4-4 in the Sun Belt, while the Mean Green concludes its 2012 season with a 5-7 mark and 3-5 conference record. With the loss, North Texas finished play in the Sun Belt Conference and will move to Conference USA for the 2013 season.
North Texas held a 24-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but a Mean Green turnover gave the momentum to WKU, who reeled off 15 straight points.
WKU's Antonio Andrews rushed for 230 yards, including the game-winning 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The Mean Green held a 17-10 halftime lead after two rushing touchdowns and a 22-yard field goal. A 12-yard touchdown passing play from Derek Thompson to Darnell Smith gave North Texas a 24-10 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
A Thompson interception that was returned for a touchdown by Jonathan Dowling at the 12:44 mark in the fourth quarter changed the game for the Mean Green. Andrews then moved into another gear, and the North Texas offense stumbled.
After a North Texas drive halted after 16 yards, WKU took the ball 41 yards and used a 27-yard field goal to cut into the lead a little more, 24-19. On WKU's next possession, Andrews used his own 53-yard run to set up a 21-yard TD rush to give WKU a 25-24 lead with 3:30 left in the game.
North Texas was unable to move the ball on its last possession, and the Hilltoppers ran out the clock to seal the win.
After WKU opened the game with a touchdown score, North Texas tied the game with a first quarter-touchdown on a Brandin Byrd 61-yard scoring run. It was just the second time in the last seven games that the Mean Green scored a touchdown in the opening quarter. With his 61-yard run, the junior running back now has the two longest rushing plays of the season for North Texas, which includes an 85-yard touchdown run against South Alabama.
Senior running back Jeremy Brown rushed for a 20-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give North Texas a 14-7 lead. It was the first time since the FAU game on Sept. 29 that the Mean Green has held a lead of seven or more points in the first half. Byrd led the rushers with 102 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Derek Akunne recorded his second interception of the season and the second interception of his career which helped set up a second-quarter field goal by Olen. The 17 points in the first half tied the most points by the Mean Green in the first half this season.
North Texas forced two turnovers in the third quarter but failed to convert either of them into points.
The 14-point lead to begin the fourth quarter was the largest lead by North Texas after three quarters this season. The Mean Green led Texas Southern by 13 to begin the fourth quarter. North Texas surrendered a second-half lead for the first time this season.