July 28, 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.
MeanGreenSports.com is recapping the five moments that we think defined 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. 4 – The Stand
The Mean Green, struggling to find its game on Halloween night on a national TV audience, out-gained two to one and trailing 16-7 to Rice, got a 42-yard touchdown run from Antoinne Jimmerson and a 65-yard punt return for a TD from Brelan Chancellor in a dramatic 1:35 span late in the second quarter to take the lead. But it was the defense that made it hold up with one of the most stirring goal-line stands in program history.
After a tipped-pass interception, Rice drove to a first and goal at the NT one-yard line. The Mean Green stopped the Owls four times, only to see Rice get an extra set of downs, by way of penalty, at the two. But North Texas stone-walled the Owls four more times, smashing the Owls for an 11-yard loss on the final fourth-down play. The stand turned back eight plays inside the North Texas six-yard line, seven of them snapped inside the Mean Green three.
In all, Rice ran eight plays for -12 yards and zero points. It was the stuff of legend.
"I was just blown away by that goal-line stand," said North Texas coach Dan McCarney, whose team improved to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in Conference USA play after knocking off the C-USA West Division co-leaders. "It was really representative of this team's toughness, its never-say-die attitude."
North Texas now found itself in uncharted territory – bowl eligible and in control of Conference USA’s West Division.