North Texas will take on Army today at West Point here in New York. It has been raining most of the morning, but has cleared up a bit over the last hour or so.
This is a big game for UNT in its pursuit of reaching the six-win mark to become bowl-eligible. The Mean Green are 3-3 and are coming off a bye week that followed a big win over Marshall.
UNT has never beaten Army, losing all four games in the series. This is one of the better Army teams the Mean Green have faced. The Black Knights are 4-2 and are also at a key point in their season.
Army has games against Air Force, Navy and Notre Dame coming up. The Black Knights bowl hopes would get a significant boost with a win today.
UNT has remained pretty healthy throughout the year, but will be without two key players today in addition to offensive lineman Garrett Gunter, who has been out for some time. UNT will also be without linebacker Fred Scott and defensive tackle Sid Moore.
Brandon Garner did a great job of filling in for Scott last week, but it would help UNT to have another of its key linebackers for a game against an option team.
The other key change is on UNT’s offensive line. Center Creighton Barr injured his ankle in the Mean Green’s win over Marshall. He is dressed out today, but will not start.
UNT will shift Sam Rice to center and move Jordan Murray in at guard.
Rice has struggled at times with snapping. That will merit watching on a cold and rainy day.
Army is also terrific against the run, allowing just 84 yards a game.
Stay tuned. I will update the blog all day.
Kickoff — Army’s players came in behind a motorcycle. This is actually a pretty beautiful place to see a game. The leaves are turning colors this time of the year. Army will receive to open the game. UNT won the toss and deferred.
15:00 — Army will start at its 25.
13:22 — Army had a drive going, but fumbled. UNT recovered, but turned the ball right back over when Mason Fine threw an interception.
7:38 — Army cashed in UNT’s turnover by driving 58 yards in 11 plays. Darrnell Woolfolk scored from 9 yards out to put the Black Knights up 7-0.
7:37 — UNT has the ball back at its 24.
5:38 — UNT has tied the game up at 7-7 on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Masonn Fine to Terian Goree. UNT went 76 yards in seven plays.
4:57 — UNT just went up 14-7 after Eric Jenkins intercepted a high pass from Ahmad Bradshaw that was tipped near the sideline. Jenkins returned it for a touchdown. It’s his second straight week with an interception return for a touchdown.
End of the first quarter — UNT is up 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Army had give 14 points in the first quarter all season. The Black Knights are driving and have the ball at the UNT 28-yard line. Army held the ball for pretty much the whole quarter.
13:28 — Army has come back to tack on a field goal at the end of a 14-play drive. UNT is still up 14-10. Army had the ball for 12:19 in the first quarter and had a 142-62 edge in yards, but UNT came up with the big plays.
11:43 — UNT had to punt the ball away on its last drive after going three-and-out. Army has the ball back at its 28. UNT has struggled to stop the Black Knights so far when they haven’t turned the ball over.
8:06 — UNT just caught a huge break when a bad snap nearly sailed over the head of Army’s punter. He managed to get the ball back, but UNT hauled him down at the Army 32-yard line. The Mean Green have good field position and are already up 14-10.
7:10 — Army just came up with a huge stand in its own end, holding UNT to a field goal attempt that bounced off the cross bar and away. The Mean Green are still up 14-10. Army has the ball back at its 20. The Black Knights will be looking to build some momentum off that stand.
3:27 — UNT has the ball back at its 25 making a key stop deep in its own end of the field.
2:30 — UNT went three-and-out. Army has the ball back at the UNT 47
1:13 — Army didn’t do anything on its last possession and punted. The Mean Green threw what looked like an incomplete swing pass. Army is challenging that it was a lateral and a fumble that Army recovered.
UNT won that challenge.
Halftime — UNT is up 14-10 after running out the clock. There wasn’t a whole lot of offense in that half, but UNT came up with the big play defensively, an interception that Eric Jenkins returned for a touchdown. UNT will get the ball to open the second half.
15:00 — UNT has the ball at its 32 to start the second half.
13:28 — UNT has extended its lead to 21-10 on a 41-yard touchdown run by Jeffrey Wilson. The Mean Green scored on their third play of the second half.
10:36 — UNT just came up with a huge fourth-down stop at midfield.
12:41 — UNT linebacker Brandon Garner is down. He is walking off now.
7:33 — UNT cashed in after that defensive stop with a Jeffrey Wilson 1-yard touchdown run. Tyler Wilson caught a 25-yard pass on third-and-16 that an Army defender didn’t knock down, even though he was right there. That was a good job of concentration by Wilson.
1:51 — UNT appears to have come up with a game-icing stop. Army had the ball inside the Mean Green’s 20. UNT forced a fumble and recovered it. The play is being reviewed.
1:14 — The review on Ahmad Bradshaw’s carry determined that he was down. Army scored on a Bradshaw run and then picked up the 2-point conversion on another Bradshaw run. It’s 28-18 UNT.
12:54 — UNT had a chance to ice the game when it drove deep into Army territory, but Trevor Moore’s 44-yard field goal was just short. It’s still 28-18 UNT.
9:34 — UNT might have just iced this game. Army completed a long pass to Dalton Mendenhall, who had the ball inside the Mean Green 20 before UNT ripped the ball out. Gray fell on the ball at the 12. Things would have gotten tight had Army scored on that possession.
5:58 — UNT has pretty much iced this game. Jeffrey Wilson broke off a 67-yard run and then scored from a yard out to go up 35-18.
3:21 — James Gray just came up with another interception for UNT. This one is over. It’s 35-18 UNT. There are cheers of “North … Texas” coming from the stands. There are a few UNT fans here.
I have to head down now. I will be back with five thoughts later.