McCarney names Thompson starter

Derek Thompson will start at quarterback for North Texas after all.

The senior started in each of the last two seasons, but entered fall practice in a heated competition with backup Andrew McNulty, Kansas transfer Brock Berlgund and freshman Dajon Williams.

Dan McCarney said on the Conference USA coaches teleconference on Monday that Thompson has won the job and will start for the Mean Green in its season-opening game against Idaho on Saturday.

McCarney had said that Thompson would likely start earlier in fall practice, but waited until game week to make the decision official.

“He handled it very well,” McCarney said of the competition. “He will tell you that he didn’t play well enough last year. He threw as many interceptions and touchdowns. He needed to improve and has. He has been consistent and deserves to start on Saturday night.”

Thompson has thrown for 4,551 yards in his career, including a career-high 2,649 last season.

The senior endured an up-and-down year in 2013. He threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Louisiana-Lafayette, but struggled in a season-ending loss to Western Kentucky when he threw a key interception late and finished with just 146 passing yards. Thompson finished with 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on the year.

McCarney declared the competition for the starting quarterback job open heading into spring practice. The competition continued through fall workouts, including all three scrimmages. McCarney said that Thompson would likely start after the second of those workouts, but didn’t definitively declare him the starter until Monday.

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