That was awesome.
North Texas defended home territory in front of 17K-22K fans (depending on who you believe) and hundreds of thousands watching all across this great land. Antoinne Jimmerson took a screen pass on 3rd and 8 from UNT 22 and scampered 78 yards for the game-winning touchdown. It was his second receiving score on the night. He finished with 141 total yards, 106 of which came on two catches for scores.
Although Jim Jim — as I will now be calling him — was the majority of the highlight reel, the night belonged to the team and the offensive line in particular. The Three Headed Monster that is the running back stable — Jimmerson, Brandin Byrd, Jeremy Brown — rattled off 256 yards on the ground. This came against the highly ranked (19th at 107 ypg allowed) Louisiana team that had the conference’s best record at 2-0.
It was a great night. It started very slow. The offense was great on first down, often getting three or four yards, but was terrible on second and third. The passing game was off. It looked like another frustrating night was ahead. The twin trips to the red zone were encouraging but ultimately resulted in two field goals from Zach Olen.
The defense played well early but was prone to allowing big plays. Two of the worst allowed touchdowns from the Cajuns. The first, on 3rd and 16, allowed ULL new life instead of pinning the back deep in their own territory. The second, that Terrance Broadway 75-yard scamper after UNT closed the gap to 6-3.
The second half didn’t portend good things either. The Cajuns marched down the field in five plays and scored on a Broadway TD pass. It all looked to be slipping away.
Then two things happened: North Texas got the ball in the hands of play makers in space, and the defense shut things down.
After turning the ball over on downs at the one (potential a momentum killer) the defense forced five consecutive punts from ULL, allowed a FG, then got the game winning fumble to ice the game.
Offensively, all three touchdowns came from outside of the 20-yard line. Jim Jim scored from 28 yards out on a flare out on third down to cut it to 20-13 , Brelan Chancellor scored from 34 yards on a end-around to tie, and finally Jim Jim again from 78 yards on 3rd-and-8 with the score tied at 23.
Mixed in there was the Olen field goal on yet another “failed” trip to the end zone. I hate that we can’t consistently score from close, but I’ll take 524 yards of offense, four trips inside the 20 and three scores. At the very least getting close means Zach, with his new found accuracy, can knock in a few field goals from relatively close. With Brelan, Jim Jim and Jeremy Brown, we have big play potential. With that defense getting timely turnovers and shutting down good offenses, a couple of field goals and a touchdown might be all we need to win the Sun Belt guys.