Manhattan, Kan. (8/30/08) The North Texas football team opened its 2008 season with a 45-6 loss to Kansas State on Saturday night at Wildcat Stadium.
The Mean Green (0-1) is now 36-54-3 all-time in season-opening games.The Wildcats (1-0) extend their series record against the Mean Green to 4-1.
Wildcats quarterback Josh Freeman threw three touchdown passes and rushed for two of his own. He went 18-for-24 for 232 yards in two-plus quarters of work.
Kansas State scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters. The Wildcats special teams were crucial in setting up K-State in good field position on nearly every drive. K-State capped the scoring with a 28-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the game.
North Texas’ lone scoring drive came at the end of the third quarter, aided by a pair of newcomers. John Shorter came up with an interception at the Kansas State 25-yard line and carried it 10 yards to the 15. Alex Lott caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Giovanni Vizza to put North Texas on the scoreboard. NT had its extra-point kick attempt blocked.
Vizza went 16-for-29 and threw for 100 yards. Cam Montgomery and Micah Mosley ran for 62 and 56 yards, respectively. Casey Fitzgerald led the receivers with six receptions.
A big punt return from Deon Murphy set up Kansas State’s first score in the first two minutes of the game. After North Texas went three plays and out on its first possession, Murphy returned the Truman Spencer punt 30 yards to set up Keithen Valentine’s four-yard touchdown run. The four-yard run was Valentine’s first collegiate carry. A Brooks Rossman extra-point kick gave Kansas State a 7-0 lead at 13:03 in the first quarter.
Kansas State would go on to score three more times in the first half on drives of 80, 71 and 73 yards. Freeman scored the second touchdown on a one-yard touchdown run and then threw TD passes to Brandon Banks (30 yards) and Lamark Brown (six yards).
Kansas State did not back off in the second half. Banks caught his second touchdown reception of the game, this one for 43 yards, after Aubrey Quarles started the Wildcats with a 50-yard kick-off return into North Texas territory.
Freeman made it 42-0 with an eight-yard run on fourth down at 9:17 in the third quarter.
The North Texas defense saw a lot of action. Royce Hill made seven unassisted tackles and recovered a fumble in the first half. Steve Warren recorded six unassisted tackles.
The Mean Green opens its home portion of the schedule next week on Saturday, Sept. 6 when it faces Tulsa at 6 pm at Fouts Field.