LAS CRUCES, N.M. (11/3/01) In spectacular comeback fashion, North Texas won its third straight game for the first time since 1994, moving to 3-5 overall including a 3-1 record in Sun Belt Conference games. The win keeps the Mean Green in a tie for first place in the Sun Belt with two conference games remaining.
Trailing 20-16 under three minutes remaining in the game, the North Texas defense came up with its biggest play of the season, forcing a New Mexico State fumble deep in Mean Green territory. The offense responded by taking the ball 69-yards on five plays in 1:36 to score the game-winning touchdown with 18 seconds to play in the game. Quarterback Scott Hall connected with wide receiver George Marshall on a fourth-and-two from the Aggie 32-yard line to give the Mean Green its first road victory of the season.
North Texas did the only scoring in the first quarter as kicker Jason Ball connected on field goals of 42 and 36 yards to give the Mean Green a 6-0 lead. Ball kicked another field goal on the second play of the second quarter to give North Texas a 9-0 lead before New Mexico State would come back with a sustained touchdown drive to cut the lead to 9-7, which is where the score would stay until halftime.
Mean Green quarterback Scott Hall connected with his recent favorite target George Marshall for a 53-yard touchdown at the six-minute mark of the third quarter to give North Texas a 16-7 lead, which would last until the beginning of the fourth quarter.
New Mexico State opened the fourth quarter with a four-play touchdown drive that took only 1:35 and pulled the Aggies to within two points at 16-14. The Aggie defense then forced a North Texas punt and took the next possession 84 yards on five plays to take a 20-16 lead with 7:36 to play in the game.
The teams would trade possessions until North Texas got the ball back at its own 23-yard line with 4:55 to play. The Mean Green drove to their own 40-yard line before Hall was intercepted by the Aggie defense with 2:06 trailing by four points. New Mexico State took the ball from its own 16-yard line all the way to the North Texas 32 on four plays. The Aggies seemingly had the victory in hand with a first-and-10 with at the Mean Green 32 and 1:54 to play before sophomore safety Craig Jones forced the fumble that gave North Texas the ball back for the ensuing game-winning drive.
With one conference loss, North Texas is now tied with Middle Tennessee who concluded its league schedule with a 5-1 record. North Texas has a home game against Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday before traveling to Idaho to conclude its conference schedule.