North Texas Wins Season Opener Against Middle Tennessee, 14-7 Murfreesboro, TN (9/10/05) - The North Texas football team scored 14 points off five Blue Raiders turnovers to defeat Middle Tennessee, 14-7, and extend its Sun Belt conference winning streak to 26 games in the Mean Green's season opener on Saturday
Murfreesboro, TN (9/10/05) The North Texas football team scored 14 points off five Blue Raiders turnovers to defeat Middle Tennessee, 14-7, and extend its Sun Belt conference winning streak to 26 games in the Mean Green’s season opener on Saturday night at Floyd Stadium.
"I can't say how proud I am of this team to battle back and pull out a win against a very good Middle Tennessee team,” said North Texas head coach Darrell Dickey. “We were able to capitalize on their mistakes and did enough offensively to get out of here with a win.”
The Mean Green (1-0, 1-0 Sun Belt) won its first season opener since 1996 when it defeated IllinoisState, 20-14. North Texas was originally scheduled to open the 2005 season at LSU, but the game was postponed due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
"It's good to get this first win out of the way,” said Dickey. “We didn't know how we would come out with this being our first game and having so many guys out there who have never played. They showed tremendous heart and this test will only help them down the road.”
North Texas extended its series record against Middle Tennessee (0-2, 0-1 Sun Belt) to 5-0. Three of the games have been decided by less than a touchdown. North Texas extended its conference winning streak to 26 games, which ties the longest such streak in the nation with BoiseState.
Sophomore linebacker Maurice Holman returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with remaining in the third quarter. It was the longest interception return by a Mean Green player since J.T. Smith returned one 100 yards against Lousiana Tech in 1976.
Holman’s interception was MT’s second of five turnovers in the game. Safety Aaron Weathers intercepted his first pass as a member of the Mean Green in the first quarter, halting Middle Tennessee’s first drive into North Texas territory. On MT’s second drive into the red zone, Colby Smith missed a 42-yard field goal attempt. Smith also missed a 25-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.
Running backs Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas combined for 161 rushing yards. Cobbs was 28-for-103 yards, including a four-yard touchdown run that gave North Texas a 14-7 advantage. Cobbs’ scoring run in the third quarter came after a Middle Tennessee fumble which was recovered by NT’s Jeremiah Chapman. Cobbs has now run for 2,999 yards in his career, which is 121 yards shy of the school record of 3,120 career yards held by JaQuay Wilburn.
Freshman quarterback Daniel Meager completed 10 of 15 passes in the game for 122 yards, including a long of 42. Meager completed his first collegiate pass in the first series, a tipped ball that was hauled in by Joel Nwigwe for 14 yards.
Meager's 42-yard pass to sophomore Johnny Quinn set up the Cobbs touchdown in the third quarter. Quinn’s catch kept his streak of 26 straight games with a reception. He has caught at least one pass in every game he has played at North Texas.
North Texas had 10 players make their first career start for the Mean Green. Seven of the 11 defensive starters were making their first collegiate start.
The Mean Green returns home to face Tulsa in a non-conference game on Saturday, Sept. 17 at in Fouts Field.