Bowling Green, Ky. (11/1/08) Casey Fitzgerald caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass and Tobe Nwigwe returned an interception 97 yards for a touchdown to end the game, giving the North Texas football team a wild 51-40 victory against Western Kentucky on Saturday night at L.T. Smith Stadium. The Mean Green wins its first game of the season, snapping a nine-game losing streak.
The Mean Green (1-8) picks up its first win of the season, while Western Kentucky falls to 2-7. This was the first road win for head coach Todd Dodge and the first win on the road since a 16-7 win at UL-Lafayette in 2006 a span of 22 games.
The North Texas finally put together the first half it was looking for all season, taking a 24-21 lead after two quarters of play. The defense came up with two turnovers and stopped the Hilltoppers on key third and fourth-down situations.
Western Kentucky regained the lead in the second half, but the Mean Green offense, defense and special teams all played a part in the comeback. A Giovanni Vizza-Fitzgerald connection gave North Texas a 45-40 lead with 2:27 left in the game and Nwigwe sealed the victory with a 97-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Vizza threw four touchdown passes and completed 23-of-37 passes for 214 yards. His long of 27 yards went to Fitzgerald on third and 18 for a touchdown, giving North Texas a lead it would not give up.
Cam Montgomery posted his second 100-yard game, rushing for 130 yards on 21 carries. His two-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave North Texas its first lead of the game at 21-14. Montgomery’s touchdown was set up by a Steve Warren fumble recovery. Jeremy Knott hit a 42-yard field goal to put the Mean Green up by 10 points, 24-14.
Vizza scored the Mean Green’s first touchdown on a 38-yard run. It was the longest rush by any North Texas player this season and the second-longest scoring play for the Mean Green this season.
North Texas wide receiver Brock Stickler caught his first touchdown pass of the season and the third of his career, tying the game for the Mean Green at 14-14. He added another touchdown reception in the third quarter to add to his numbers. The nine-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter gave NT its largest lead of the game, 31-14. Stickler finished the game with eight receptions.
Following Stickler’s third-quarter touchdown reception, the game took a turn for the worse for the Mean Green as the Hilltoppers quickly made two quick scores in a span of 20 seconds to cut the lead to four points, 31-27, after a missed extra point. All together, WKU scored 20 straight points in the third quarter to regain the lead 34-31.
North Texas wide receiver Kevin Dickerson caught his first touchdown of his career and just the ninth reception of his career to give North Texas a 37-34 lead in the fourth quarter.
WKU regained the lead for the second time in the second half, 40-37, but North Texas blocked the extra point and then Craig Robertson ran it back for two points.
Kylie Hill came up with an interception that set up the Fitzgerald touchdown that gave the Mean Green the lead. With 14 seconds left in the game, Nwigwe came up with his second interception of the season that capped the win.