DENTON (10/27/07) The Middle Tennessee football team scored 18 unanswered points in the second half to take a 48-28 victory against North Texas on Saturday night at Fouts Field.
The Blue Raiders (4-5, 3-1 Sun Belt) have won the last two games against the Mean Green. Both wins have come at Fouts Field. North Texas (1-7, 1-4) has lost its last two games.
“I thought our team battled hard to get back into the game,” said head coach Todd Dodge. “We made a couple of mistakes there in the third quarter that really cost us the game.”
North Texas cut the Blue Raiders lead to two points, 30-28, five minutes into the third quarter after a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Giovanni Vizza. The Blue Raiders would go on to score the next 18 points, including two safeties back to back. An 18-yard touchdown run by DeMarco McNair with 2:48 left in the game sealed the game for the Blue Raiders.
Senior running back Jamario Thomas gave North Texas an early 7-0 lead with a 77-yard touchdown run down the left side of the field. The 77-yard scamper was the Mean Green’s longest rushing play of the season and moved Thomas into second place in school history in career rushing yards.
The Blue Raiders would respond with 23 straight points, including a total of 14 points off a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. Quarterback Dwight Dasher threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Taron Henry to put Middle Tennessee ahead 23-7 with 12:49 left in the first half.
North Texas cut the lead to two points, 23-21, midway through the second quarter with two strong drives. Vizza found high school teammate Sam Dibrell for 20-yard touchdown reception on the first drive and then completed a nine-yard pass to Casey Fitzgerald for the second touchdown.
The touchdown catch was the first of Dibrell’s career at North Texas. After catching just two passes through the first seven games, Dibrell caught eight in tonight’s contest for 121 yards. Fitzgerald also caught eight passes and hit the 100-yard mark exactly.
Middle Tennessee used the final six minutes of the first half to move 83 yards, resulting in a four-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Joe Craddock to McNair. The Blue Raiders entered half ahead, 30-21.
Vizza would score NT’s only points of the second half with a two-yard run five minutes into the third quarter. The freshman quarterback has thrown for 1,295 yards this season, the most ever by a Mean Green freshman quarterback. Vizza racked up 296 yards against the Blue Raiders to pass Andrew Smith (1,206 in 2002) for the mark.
North Texas turned over the ball five times, including four interceptions by Vizza.
North Texas has a bye week and then faces Navy at home on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3 pm.