UNT-Tulane running blog

I had to run to the field. UNT falls 24-21. I will be back later.

3:45 — Wow. Huge play for UNT right there. Tulane came after UNT on third-and-8. Derek Thompson managed to get the ball away before being leveled. Darnell Smith hauled it and and scored on a 62-yard pass. We are tied up at 21-21.

4:55 — Big stop for UNT. Nick Montana had Ryan Grant open on third-and-5 and overthrew him. UNT has the ball back at its 26 with 4:48 left.

5:52 — Marcus Trice is coming off the field after making a stop. Tulane has the ball with 5:52 left at its 38-yard line.

8:02 — Tulane came up with a key stop of its own right there. Derek Thompson tried to pick up a yard on third down on a run up the middle and didn’t make it.

9:27 — Huge stop for UNT. On third-and-1, UNT stops Tulane on a run up the middle.

11:17 — That didn’t go UNT’s way. It turns out that Kidsy didn’t catch that pass and UNT didn’t convert on third-and-10. Tulane has the ball back at its 37 with a chance to tack on to its lead.

11:22 — Here’s another big review for UNT. It looked like Darvin Kidsy made a catch over the middle, but officials ruled that the ball hit the ground. This will be a first down or third-and-10. It looked like Kidsy caught the ball.

11:53 — UNT has the ball back at its 20 with a chance to tie the game up.

12:20 — UNT punched the ball in on a pass from Derek Thompson to Brandin Byrd to get to within 21-14. Tulane is going to punt after burning a timeout, its second of the half to get lined up to punt.

Start of the fourth quarter — UNT is at the Tulane goal line. It’s a matter of time before UNT punches it in here. This is about to get close here in the final 15 minutes.

:10 — UNT has picked up a couple of third downs on this drive, including one on a pass interference call in the end zone. UNT will have the ball first-and-goal at the 2.

1:57 — UNT caught a break when Tulane was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the TD. UNT got great field position and is driving.

2:50 — And just when I say that Tulane made a huge play, the Green Wave makes another one. Lorenzo Doss returned a tipped pass 59 yards for a touchdown. Tulane is up 21-7.

4:34 — Huge momentum swing right there for Tulane. Darion Monroe blocked a Zack Paul field goal attempt and Derrick Strozier returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. UNT has been really good on special teams. Tulane made a really big play right there.

7:42 — Tulane didn’t get anything going on that drive. UNT is going to get the ball back with good field position at its 41-yard line.

8:22 — Tulane has the ball back at its 17-yard line. UNT seems to have momentum on its side now.

8:27 — UNT has tied it up and is lucky to have done so. Derek Thompson got to the goal line and fumbled. Mason Y’Barbo jumped on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown.

11:49 — UNT has the ball back after forcing Tulane to punt. UNT is backed up to its 10-yard line. Aaron Bellazin had a sack on third down.

14:54 — Here we go in the second half. Tulane has the ball at its 24.

Halftime — Tulane is up 7-0 at halftime. UNT is lucky to be down only 7-0. Tulane left some points on the field. UNT has only 71 total yards and 50 penalty yards in the first half.

Update :34 — UNT didn’t get anything going on that drive and had to punt the ball away. Tulane will have the ball at its 21.

Update :51 — UNT is facing third-and-1 at its own 48-yard line and just took a timeout.

Update 1:36 — UNT dodged a bullet again. Tulane had two cracks at a long field goal and missed both. The Green Wave got a second chance when James Jones was flagged for running into the kicker. UNT has the ball back at its 39 yard line with time running out in the first half.

Update 6:17 — UNT went three-and-out. Antoinne Jimmerson had a 5-yard carry on the drive. He has been MIA for a while. Tulane has the ball at its own 24-yard line. UNT needs a stop to swing the momentum right here.

Update 8:01 — Tulane is on the board first with a Nick Montana touchdown pass to Justyn Shakleford. Tulane got a one-on-one with UNT cornerback Zach Whitfield. Shakleford won that battle to put Tulane up early.

End of first quarter — UNT is facing fourth-and-10 at the Tulane 49. UNT will look to pin Tulane deep right here.

Update 2:02 — UNT has the ball back at its 38. Derek Thompson is back

Update 3:02 — It wasn’t a shot to the head that had Thompson getting up slow. It was his right knee.

Update 3:02 — Derek Thompson took a huge hit on a quarterback draw and was slow getting up. It was a clean hit, but it looked like Thompson took a shoulder to the helmet.

Update 3:45 — UNT is faced with third-and-forever(20) after picking up a quick first down after Tulane turned the ball over. UNT ran it twice and lost 5 yards on each play. Tulane took a timeout when it looked like they were having trouble lining up.

Update 6:21 — Big review here for UNT. And UNT wins it. Marcus Trice forces a fumble and James Jones recovers.

Update 8:25 — Nick Montana picked up 11 yards and a first down on third-and-10.

Update 9:02 — UNT has Tulane stuck in a third-and-10 from the 37.

Update 9:34 –Big play for Tulane. A Derek Thompson pass is intercepted by cornerback Lorenzo Doss. Tulane has the ball at the UNT 37-yard line.

Update — UNT forces a three-and-out and will take over at its 16-yard line. UNT made a couple of sure tackles on that drive, including one on Ryan Grant when he caught the ball near the first-down marker.

Update 13:59 — UNT goes three-and-out on its first possession. Dererk Thompson overthrew his receiver down the field on third-and-long.

Update kickoff — UNT has won the toss again and will take the ball for the second straight game. Here we go.

Update 2:22 — One aspect of college games in venues like this one — well, mid-season C-USA/Sun Belt type games — is that it feels really empty in here. There is a smattering of a couple hundred UNT fans across the way. I can’t see the Tulane side from where I’m at up on the seventh floor. Still a really cool place for a game. It just lacks the feel of a smaller venue where the fans are packed in.

Update 2:06 — One quick update on the roster for today’s game. Daniel Prior is out.

Update 1:58 — Starting left tackle Antonio Johnson will play today after missing UNT’s game against Georgia after undergoing a minor procedure following the Mean Green’s win over Ball State. That’s really good news for UNT, which will have to protect Derek Thompson today against a team in Tulane that really likes to come after quarterbacks. Johnson’s return will put everyone back in their normal spots. UNT moved a host of guys around last week to account for Johnson’s absence. UNT didn’t scratch anyone off the roster of note for today’s game.

UNT is back in New Orleans for the first time since the Glory Days (the miracle bowl run of the early- to mid-2000s).

I was there for the end of the run and am back to do a little blogging along the way as UNT takes on Tulane today in its first game in Conference USA play.

We could find out what UNT really has today.

UNT bought a win when it brought in Idaho for its season opener, was down 18 to Ball State before the Cardinals baked in hot Texas sun and UNT capitalized with a great comeback. Last week, UNT played really well against Georgia and was locked in a tie game with the Bulldogs until they pulled away late. Is that an indication that UNT really is as good as it appears or was Georgia sleep walking and looking ahead to a game against LSU?

This could be the game that lets us know.

So what are the keys to today’s game?

Here’s my take:

– Does UNT get torched in pass defense again?

UNT has been terrible against the pass in the first four games of the season, although some of those issues are due to facing a string of really good quarterbacks, including Georgia’s Aaron Murray. UNT has switched out both of its cornerbacks at this point. We will see James Jones and Kenny Buyers. Can they hold up against Tulane?

– Can UNT run the ball?

UNT has struggled to run the ball at time this season and managed just 7 rushing yards in a loss to Georgia in its last outing. Again, it was Georgia.

– Can UNT handle the pressure Tulane will bring?

It sounds like starting tackle Antonio Johnson will play today. That will help, but UNT will still face a ton of pressure from Tulane, which likes to blitz and is good at it. That could open up opportunities for big plays for UNT, and potentially big losses.

– Can UNT play on the road?

UNT has been bad on the road for a long time. The Mean Green is 2-13 on the road under Dan McCarney and has lost six straight on the road. UNT was just terrible before McCarney took over the program. Bottom line — UNT hasn’t been good on the road since it was coming to New Orleans every year for the New Orleans Bowl. This is a chance for UNT to take a big step forward as a program.

Check back, I will update the blog throughout the day.

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