UNT will take on Iowa this afternoon in a homecoming of sorts for head coach Dan McCarney and quarterback Andrew McNulty. Both are Iowa City natives. McCarney also played and coached for the Hawkeyes.
Anyone who has been paying attention over the last couple of days has probably heard a lot about by far the most interesting storyline heading into today’s game.
It is, however not the only one.
One of the other points of interest heading into today’a game is that the tough schedule the Mean Green face this year is proving to be as big a stumbling block as expected. UNT lost its season-opener to vastly improved SMU and then lost its Conference USA opener to Rice, which has all the looks of a bowl team.
UNT will get no break when it faces an Iowa team today that is 3-0 and could have one of its better teams in recent memory.
We look at the situation in today’s DRC, which also includes our weekly gameday page.
UNT is looking to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2011. The Mean Green are a baffling 1-37 in nonconference road games since 2001.
Turning the tide against Iowa will be a huge challenge. The Hawkeyes are 3-0 and have already beaten Iowa State and Pittsburgh. Iowa can move to 4-0 for the first time since the 2009 season.
Update 2:14 — One of the big keys to this game for UNT will be its running game. The Mean Green have leaned on it for years and will face one of the nation’s best rushing defenses today. Iowa is allowing just 51 yards a game on the ground.
Update 2:18 — Another key point to watch in today’s game is if UNT can keep its offense on the field. UNT is averaging just 21:10 in time of possession. That is the lowest total in major college football. UNT has gone to an uptempo offense. That problem with that kind of approach is that it can lead to short possessions.
Update 2:25 — Iowa’s players have just come out on the field. This is one of the worst crowds of the season for an Iowa game, according to the guys who cover the Hawkeyes here in the press box.
Kickoff — Iowa has won the toss and will receive to open the game. UNT’s defense will have a chance to set the tone right away, if they can get off the field.
11:36 — That didn’t take long. Iowa went straight down the field on seven plays and scored on a Jordan Canzeri 16-yard run. Iowa is up 7-0, which puts a whole lot of pressure on UNT’s offense here.
10:22 — UNT went three-and-out and gave up 11 yards on third down when Andrew McNulty was sacked. A long punt return has Iowa sitting at UNT’s 40-yard line to begin its second drive. This is not starting well for UNT.
10:02 — This isn’t good. James Gray is down. That looked bad, but he is up and walking off under his own power. UNT is already down two of its top five DBs.
8:32 — UNT’s defense came up with a big stop on Iowa’s last drive. Iowa ran the ball on third-and-3 and couldn’t crack UNT’s front. UNT has the ball at its own 3-yard line.
6:32 — UNT went three-and-out. Iowa has the ball at the UNT 10 after a long punt return and a 16-yard pass.
5:56 — Iowa has extended its lead to 14-0 on a Jordan Canzeri run that covered 10 yards. Canzeri has 59 yards and two touchdowns already.
4:29 — UNT moved the ball a bit on its last drive, but came up just short on a third-and-5 run by Antoinne Jimmerson. UNT elected to punt on fourth-and-1. UNT has Jeffrey Wilson open down the middle of the field earlier in the drive. Andrew McNulty put the ball on Wilson’s hands, but he couldn’t pull it in
:25 — UNT has come up with the kind of big play Dan McCarney has been looking for from the Mean Green’s defense all season. Cornerback Chad Davis pulled the ball away from Jordan Canzeri and Cortney Finney fell on it. UNT has the ball at the Iowa 37.
14:26 — UNT has the ball at the Iowa 27. It’s fourth-and-1 UNT is going to go for it.
13:17 — UNT converted on fourth down on an Antoinne Jimmerson run and then cashed in on that turnover with a Trevor Moore 38-yard field goal. It’s 14-3 Iowa.
12:20 — Iowa has answered UNT’s field goal with a 46-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle. It’s 21-3 Iowa. UNT had a chance to pick up a first down on the ensuing drive, but Tee Goree dropped a pass after taking a huge hit.
9:16 — Iowa has tacked on another long touchdown pass, this time an 81-yard strike to Tevaun Smith, who bat Zac Whitfield deep. Iowa is up 28-6.
7:33 — UNT has gotten the break it needed here late in the first half. Iowa tried a reverse and lost the ball on a pitch. UNT fell on the ball and scored one play later on trick play with Carlos Harris throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Loving. Iowa is up 28-13.
1:56 — Iowa has come right back and answered UNT’s touchdown with one of its own. Jordan Canzeri dove into the end zone from 3 yards out. Iowa is up 35-13. This is the third straight game a team has scored 30 on UNT.
Halftime — UNT is down 35-13 at halftime here in Iowa City. The Mean Green came up with two turnovers in the first half and cashed in both. Carlos Harris hit tight end Chris Loving for a 6-yard touchdown on a trick play. UNT picked up a Trevor Moore field goal after recovering another fumble.
UNT has struggled to stop Iowa’s offense outside of those turnovers. C.J. Beathard has hit on all 15 of his pass attempts for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Iowa has 340 total yards. UNT has 149 yards.
UNT will get the ball to start the second half.
10:48 — UNT opened the second half with a nice drive, moving 61 yards in 15 plays. The only problem was the drive stalled out deep in Iowa’s end. Carlos Harris nearly hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass, but the Mean Green settled for a 31-yard field that has cut Iowa’s lead to 35-16.
9:23 — UNT has forced an Iowa punt. It was a great one. UNT will get the ball back at its 7-yard line.
4:56 — Iowa may have just put UNT away. The Hawkeyes blasted Andrew McNulty in the backfield and forced a fumble. Iowa has the ball deep in UNT’s end now.
:15 — Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell just picked off an Andrew McNulty pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. Iowa is up 48-16 and is pulling away.
14:41 — Iowa has the ball back early in the fourth quarter up 48-16 after UNT had to punt the ball away.
7:02 — UNT is down 48-16. I will be back later.