I’ve sent my stories in and grabbed something to drink on the way back to the hotel.
Yep, it’s time for some late-night thoughts.
UNT has lost some tough games over the years. This one has to rank right up there. The Mean Green gave up a couple of baffling big plays (having an interception on a tipped pass returned for a touchdowns and a blocked field goal returned for another) and was still locked in a 21-21 tie late before a defense that played well all night caved as Tulane drove straight down the field for a game-winning field goal.
UNT fell 24-21 and dropped to 2-3 on the season and 0-1 in Conference USA play.
I said before this game that I thought people were way too optimistic. UNT looked good at times against Georgia and beat a bad Idaho team and capitalized when it seemed like Ball State melted down, in the physical and mental sense of the phrase, in the Mean Green’s come-from-behind win at Apogee Stadium on a sizzling day.
This is one of those games that showed where UNT is at, and that is at the point where it could win or lose every game left on its schedule.
UNT’s defense is pretty good at times.
As far as UNT offensively?
Well, that is a work in progress.
Dan McCarney believes down deep that teams have to run the ball to be successful. UNT isn’t running anywhere at the moment. The Mean Green managed just 34 yards on the night against Tulane, and 19 of it came from Derek Thompson.
That is just baffling.
The popular thing to do is going to be to throw Thompson under the bus after this loss. Yeah, he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. He made his mistakes. He also threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, including the 62-yard strike to Darnell Smith that would have stent the game to overtime if UNT’s defense hadn’t folded in baffling fashion.
Tulane went 66 yards in 11 plays and never faced a third down the whole way.
UNT pretty much abandoned the running game in a flash. UNT had just 11 carries for 19 yards after the first quarter. UNT didn’t abandon the run at halftime. That happened a whole lot earlier. That’s 11 runs on its last nine possessions of the game.
To add insult to injury, former UNT commit Royce LaFrance, who flipped to Tulane posted a sack.
It was just a tough night all the way around for UNT. Fortunately for the Mean Green, it’s coming home to Apogee where it tends to play well.
All is not lost, but there is not question UNT had a chance to make a key step forward today and squandered the opportunity. UNT can still win six games. The road just didn’t get any shorter today.