DENTON (11/26/05) Antonio Warren plunged into the end zone with 30 seconds remaining to give Arkansas State a 31-24 win over North Texas and a share of the Sun Belt Conference crown.
Warren’s one-yard run capped off a 63 yard drive that took seven plays, consumed 1:53 of the clock and left the Mean Green with just 30 seconds to even the game. Johnny Quinn took the ensuing kick off in the end zone and returned it to North Texas’ 30 yard-line, but North Texas was unable to get past midfield before time expired.
“We tried to go out on a positive note for the seniors in this game,” quarterback Matt Phillips said. “We had the lead but we let it slip away. It’s disappointing.”
The Mean Green got on the board first on the strength of a Nick Bazaldua field goal. The senior’s 31-yard boot put North Texas on top 3-0, and extended his lead on the program’s all-time points list.
Bazaldua finished his career with 247 points, just ahead of kicker Keith Chapman and fellow senior Patrick Cobbs.
The Indians responded to the Bazaldua field goal late in the first quarter when quarterback Nick Noce hit a wide open Patrick Higgins for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Noce’s 11th touchdown pass of the season put Arkansas State in the lead 7-3.
Aaron Weathers kept the Mean Green in the game when he got a hand on an Arkansas State field goal attempt in the second quarter. The blocked kick is the sophomore’s second of the season. Weathers, who leads the team in tackles, also blocked a field goal against Troy.
With momentum on its side, the Mean Green offense took control in the second quarter. Quarterback Daniel Meager led the Mean Green 78 yards on 10 plays, culminating in a Cobbs five-yard touchdown run. Cobbs’ sixth rushing touchdown on the year gave North Texas a 10-3 lead.
Cobbs eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season on a 26-yard first quarter run. The senior closes out his career as North Texas’ all-time leading rusher. Cobbs rumbled for 180 yards on the day, bringing his career total to 4,050.
The Mean Green took a 17-7 lead into halftime on the strength of a Meager touchdown pass. The freshman hit Johnny Quinn on a three yard fade route with just over three seconds remaining in the half.
However, the Mean Green would not lead for long as the Indian offense notched a trio of quick scores in the third quarter. Running back Shermar Bracey broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown run, and kicker Eric Neihouse tied the game with a 22-yard field goal. Indian fullback Oren O’Neal’s two-yard plunge gave Arkansas State a 24-17 lead.
“It was a disappointing loss and a disappointing season, but I am very proud of the way these kids battled all season,” head coach Darrell Dickey said. “They could have easily given up, but they kept playing hard, and we were in the game until the very end.”
Freshman quarterback Matt Phillips would lead North Texas to its final score of the day, completing a four-yard touchdown pass to James Mitchell that tied the game at 24-24 with 5:24 remaining.