Mean Green football lose despite winning turnover battle

Mean Green football lose despite winning turnover battle

Mean Green football lose despite winning turnover battle
November 28
20:00 2015

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer
@toriemosley

After a turnover riddled game, one of the worst seasons in North Texas football history has finally come to an end. The University of Texas at El Paso handed the Mean Green its 11th loss of the season with a 20-17 final score.
Twenty seniors dressed up for the last time for North Texas (1-11) on Senior Day to host the UTEP (5-7) Miners on a cold, wet and windy afternoon.
Senior quarterback Andrew McNulty started his last game at North Texas, going 8-of-17 for 64 yards through the air and for 21 more on the ground before getting knocked out of the game with a cracked rib after a viscous hit in the pocket just before halftime.
“I obviously didn’t see the season ending like this but I love these guys,” McNulty said. “I know what our [senior] class has put in so it’s hard to see it end like this for these guys.”
The winter breeze likely slowed both offenses as scoring came few and far between early on.
The North Texas defense pitched its first opening quarter shutout since hosting Rice in week two, and its first halftime shutout since hosting Southern Methodist University week two of last season.
The defense saw much improvement, forcing three first-half Miner turnovers and five throughout the game. The guys in green gave up 43 points a game before today’s match up.
“I was extremely proud of what they did,” interim head coach Mike Canales said. “They stepped up and made some plays. We were able to stop the run, load the box up and force them to throw the ball.”

North Texas junior lineman Jarrian Roberts (30) rushes UTEP freshman quarterback Ryan Metz (12) to force a scramble. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

North Texas junior lineman Jarrian Roberts (30) rushes UTEP freshman quarterback Ryan Metz (12) to force a scramble. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

Scoring picked up in the second half for both squads.
The game’s first touchdown came on the opening UTEP drive with a five-yard run by quarterback freshman Kavika Johnson.
North Texas couldn’t get the ball moving enough on offense early, going without a touchdown until junior receiver Tre Johnson returned a punt for 53 yards for a special teams score midway through the 3rd quarter.
Third-string Mean Green junior quarterback Josh Greer threw a pick six on his first and only pass attempt moments later, putting the Miners up 13-10.
“We gave it our all,” senior defensive tackle Austin Orr said. “There were a few times tonight I thought we had the game in the bag but it just didn’t go our way.”
A couple drives later, junior linebacker Courtney Finney returned a fumble for 13 yards to put North Texas up 17-13 to end the third quarter scoring frenzy.
The Miners retook the lead with eight minutes left in the game on a 32-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-17 UTEP. The play would be the last score of the season as North Texas struggled to move the ball to end the game.
After a roller coaster season filled with coach firings and endless changes in player personnel, coach Canales will leave Denton with his head held high knowing he coached a programmed that loved him just as much as he loved North Texas.
“This place means a lot to me,” he said. “This is the toughest year I’ve had in my six years here but every day I came to work I gave it my best and that I’m proud of. I wish them all the luck in the world.”

Featured Image: North Texas junior wide receiver Tre Johnson (13) runs the ball for a touchdown on a UTEP punt. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

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