JONESBORO, Ark. - North Texas closed its 2009 football season with a furious rally but Arkansas State held on for a 30-26 win at ASU stadium in Jonesboro, Ark. Saturday.
The Mean Green finished the year 2-10, including a 1-7 mark in Sun Belt Conference games.
Trailing 30-14, North Texas scored a touchdown with five minutes to play on a fourth-down pass from Nathan Tune to Alex Lott. After a fourth-down stop late in the game, the Mean Green once again marched down the field led by freshman Derek Thompson who found Jamaal Jackson for a 19-yard touchdown with less than two minutes to play. The Red Wolves recovered the onside kick and held on for the win.
The Mean Green fell behind early in the game, allowing Arkansas State to score touchdowns on four of its first five drives. The Red Wolves led 14-0 after the first quarter and added 13 more points to lead 27-0 midway through the second quarter.
North Texas' only score of the first half came on a 36-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Lance Dunbar with 1:49 remaining in the first half. The touchdown was set up by backup safety John Shorter's first interception of the season.
The Mean Green offense was held to 43 yards of offense in the first half, 36 of which came on Dunbar's touchdown run. It was the fewest yards in a half for the Mean Green this season. The Red Wolves outgained North Texas 286-43 in total offense in the first half.
North Texas closed the gap to 27-14 in the third quarter when senior wide receiver Kevin Dickerson picked up a Dunbar fumble and went 25 yards for a touchdown. The score was set up by an interception from junior linebacker Craig Robertson who picked off an Arkansas State pass inside the North Texas 10-yard line.
The Mean Green mounted a valiant fourth-quarter comeback after going on an 11-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that cut the lead to 30-20 with just over eight minutes to play in the game. The drive was capped when backup quarterback Nathan Tune hit junior wide receiver Alex Lott for a 6-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play.
Dunbar recorded his eighth 100-yard rushing game of the year and moved into fourth place on the North Texas single-season rushing leaders list with 1,378 yards for the year.