Denton (10/13/01) The North Texas football team was able to pin Middle Tennessee with its first loss of the season Saturday, knocking off the Blue Raiders 24-21.
The outing was the Mean Green’s 200th all-time home victory and brought its Sun Belt Conference record to 1-1.
Leading 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter, North Texas was able to hold Middle Tennessee to just seven points over the final 15 minutes of action to capture its first-ever Sun Belt Conference win.
Trailing 24-21, the Blue Raiders final offensive possession was ended when UNT’s Darrell Daniels sacked quarterback Wes Counts at the Middle Tennessee 19 yard line with 2:16 remaining in the game. The Mean Green was able to convert a fouth down with 46 seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory.
The Mean Green scored the first 14 points of the game off of a six-yard run by Ja’Mel Branch and a five yard strike from quarterback Scott Hall to tight end Randy Gardner. Middle Tennessee didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 4:48 mark of the second quarter when Counts connected with Kendall Newson on an eight-yard touchdown pass. The Blue Raiders pulled within a touchdown of the Mean Green, but Jason Ball made a 42-yard field goal to extend the North Texas lead to 24-14 with 6:26 left in the third quarter.
Aided by a career-high 144 yard rushing performance from Kevin Galbreath, North Texas rushed for a season-high 216 yards. The Mean Green was able to hold a Middle Tennessee offense that was averaging 557 yards per game to a season-low 294 yard.