DENTON (9/30/06) Eugene Gross scored two rushing touchdowns to lead Middle Tennessee to a 35-0 victory against North Texas in Sun Belt play on Saturday night at Fouts Field.
The Mean Green (1-4, 0-1) lost its first game in the series against Middle Tennessee (3-2, 1-0) but still holds a 5-1 advantage. NT is now 4-2 in Sun Belt openers. The 35-point deficit was the largest ever in a Sun Belt game for the Mean Green.
“It was total domination tonight by Middle Tennessee,” said North Texas head coach Darrell Dickey. “We continued to make mistakes on offense and had no production from the ground game. We have to turn it around quickly.”
Middle Tennessee capitalized on three North Texas turnovers in the game, scoring 21 points. The Blue Raiders defense swarmed the NT offense in the first quarter, forcing a fumble and an interception. Both turnovers led to Gross rushing touchdowns that put Middle Tennessee ahead, 14-0.
Gross ran for 88 yards in the game, including a long of 15 yards that put MT ahead, 7-0. Teammate DeMarco McNair ran for 59 yards and scored on a one-yard play in the third quarter. The Blue Raiders outrushed North Texas, 212 to 40.
The Mean Green continued to struggle offensively in the first quarter. The NT offense has failed to score a first-quarter touchdown in 17 consecutive games dating back to the Arkansas State game in November of 2004.
Bobby Williams caught a four-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to extend the MT lead to 21-0. The touchdown capped a 12-play drive that took 5:59 off the clock. That drive marked the longest against the Mean Green so far this season.
North Texas quarterback Woody Wilson threw his second interception in the third quarter, leading to a second five-minute touchdown drive by Middle Tennessee. The drive was highlighted by a 53-yard reception by Jonathan Grigsby.
Middle Tennessee controlled the ball for most of the game, holding the edge in possession (40:41 to 19:19). The Blue Raiders were successful in third-down conversions (10 of 15) and were 5-for-5 in the red zones.
North Texas wide receiver Johnny Quinn had two catches in the game. His first quarter catch gave the senior a reception in every game of his career, 41 straight, which ties for the second-longest streak in the nation.
North Texas returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 7 against Florida International at 6 pm at Fouts Field.