July 8, 2014
Every season has turning points and key plays that define success and failure. The 2013 North Texas football team faced long odds, but managed to make the plays that won nine games and let them lift the Heart of Dallas Bowl trophy on New Year’s Day.
Today, MeanGreenSports.com is beginning a weekly countdown of the five moments that we think define the resilient nature of last year’s Mean Green squad – and we want to hear from you. Let us know what moments/plays best defined the Mean Green.
• No. 1 – “We’re Never Out Of It”
Ball State came into Apogee Stadium with a blistering offense that averaged 45.5 points per game, and quarterback Keith Wenning and Co. came out firing. Despite forcing four first-half turnovers, North Texas could only turn them into three total points as the Cardinals jumped out to a 27-9 lead. That’s when the North Texas seniors drew a line in the sand.
The Mean Green defense allowed just a single first down in the fourth quarter, which allowed Derek Thompson and the offense to roll. A Zach Paul 19-yard field goal tied the game at 27-27, and on the next possession a career-long 27-yard touchdown scramble from Thompson put NT on top for good.
"We don't have a chance if the defense didn't bow its neck like it did in the second half,” Thompson said after improving the Mean Green to 2-1 for the first time since 1994. “That's the difference between this team and the last couple of years. We're never out of it"
Wenning went on to destroy nearly every Ball State passing record and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. The Cardinals, who wouldn’t lose again for two months, won 10 games and played in the GoDaddy Bowl.