DENTON (10/2/04) North Texas won its first game of the season and extended its conference winning streak to 19 games with a 30-21 victory against Middle Tennessee on Saturday night at Fouts Field.
The Mean Green (1-4, 1-0) is now 4-0 against Middle Tennessee (1-3, 0-2), dating back 2001 when North Texas started its Sun Belt Conference winning streak with a 30-20 win against the Blue Raiders in Denton.
”I’m very proud of our players because we didn’t get off to a very good start tonight,” said head coach Darrell Dickey. “Our players have been here before and they know how to circle the wagons and they did that tonight. I was very pleased with how we were able to come up with a big drive in the fourth to get the field goal.”
After trailing 14-0, the Mean Green scored 24 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 24-14 halftime lead. Junior Nick Balzadua was responsible for NT’s only second-half points with two fourth quarter field goals. The Mean Green defense prevented a late MT scoring opportunity with an interception by T.J. Covington in the endzone.
Freshman Jamario Thomas recorded his second 100-yard performance with 179 yards, including two rushing touchdowns. Senior quarterback Scott Hall threw for a career-high 285 yards and completed 17-of-23 passes with one touchdown.
Wide receiver Johnny Quinn went over 100 yards receiving for the second straight game. He tied a career high with six receptions for 153 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown that gave North Texas the lead, 17-10. The wide receiver set himself up with a 25-yard catch to start of the Mean Green drive.
The Mean Green defense recorded five sacks in the game, extending NT’s sack advantage in the four-game series to 16-0. Freshman Derek Mendoza led the defense with a career-high 11 total tackles.
Middle Tennessee dominated in the first quarter with a 128 total yards of offense, compared to NT’s 35 yards. Eugene Gross rushed the 54 yards in the opening period, including a 15-yard touchdown run to put MT ahead, 14-0.
North Texas responded in the second quarter, scoring points on all four of its possessions. The 24 points in the second quarter was the most points scored in a quarter this season by the Mean Green.
The Mean Green continued its scoring drought in the third quarter but started a scoring drive that ran into the fourth quarter and resulted in a 22-yard field goal kick by Bazaldua. After another field goal by Bazaldua, Middle Tennessee started its final drive that was halted by the Covington interception.
North Texas returns to action on Oct. 9 when it faces Utah State on the road at 7 p.m.