We have talked a lot about games we thought might be turning points for UNT over the years, including a win over Ball State a couple of years ago. Every time we do, some terrible goes wrong for the Mean Green.
There is no denying that UNT’s 34-27 win over the Cardinals tonight was a step in the right direction, though, especially with a game at Georgia looming next week. I will try not to jinx the Mean Green again.
UNT is 2-1 for the first time since returning to the FBS level in 2001. It’s a great milestone for UNT, which isn’t scheduling like it was back in the bowl years. UNT had a chance to get off to a 2-1 start this time around and took advantage of it.
There were plenty of heroes tonight. In no particular order:
– Derek Thompson came up with a solid performance, throwing for 274 yards and rushing for another 72. Who knew DT was a dual-threat quarterback. He came back after an ill-fated dive over UNT’s bench where he whacked his hand pretty solidly on the ground, causing a cramp.
– UNT’s defense was torched early, but pitched a shutout in the second half and forced five turnovers. UNT made big play after big play late.
– Zach Paul hit all four of his field goals and two extra points.
People were screaming for UNT to open up its offense some after last week’s loss to Ohio. UNT decided to do just that and saw the plan work in a pretty good offensive outing overall. Brelan Chancellor and Darnell Smith both caught nine passes. Brandin Byrd and Reggie Pegram both ran the ball well late.
And so now UNT heads off to Georgia for the annual “Body Bag” or “Opportunity” or “Opportunity to Get in a Body Bag” game depending on your point of view.
Baring a monumental upset, UNT will then begin C-USA play at 2-2. That leaves eight games. UNT goes 4-4 down the stretch, it gets to the six-win mark. That looks like a goal within reach.
That’s why tonight’s game was so important for UNT.