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(Saturday, September 14)
Final Score: North Texas 34, Ball State 27
Denton, TX (Sports Network) - Derek Thompson passed 274 yards and added 72 more on the ground as he led the North Texas Mean Green to a 34-27 comeback victory over the Ball State Cardinals in a non-conference bout at Apogee Stadium.
Thompson completed 31-of-47 pass attempts and averaged 12 yards per carry for North Texas (2-1), which overcame a 14-point halftime deficit last week before losing to Ohio. This week, the Mean Green trailed by 11 points in the second quarter and for 47 minutes of the game. Brelan Chancellor and Darnell Smith both made nine receptions in the win. Chancellor finished with a team-best 88 yards and a touchdown while Smith amassed 64 yards. Brandin Byrd and Reggie Pegram combined for 144 yards on the ground. Zachary Orr paced the defense with 11 total tackles, one stop for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Ball State (2-1) suffered its first setback of the 2013 campaign as Keith Wenning completed 27-of-46 pass attempts for 333 yards and two touchdowns. Willie Snead tallied 77 yards and two scores on five catches while Jamill Smith racked up 115 yards on four receptions. Star tailback Jahwan Edwards was sidelined again as he continues to recover from a concussion. Horactio Banks contributed 141 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts.
The Cardinals jumped on top just over three minutes after kickoff as Wenning completed a two-yard touchdown pass to Snead. The extra-point conversion by Scott Secor was no good, which kept UNT down 6-0.
The Mean Green picked up a couple of first downs on their opening drive as Thompson connected on six short passes, but they had to settle for a 48-yard field goal by Zach Paul which cut Ball State's lead in half.
Ball State created some distance on the scoreboard as Banks broke away for a 77-yard touchdown run at the 5:28 mark of the opening quarter. The Cardinals' defense helped the cause as senior cornerback Jeffery Garrett forced Antoinne Jimmerson to fumble with UNT backed up against its own goal line. Brian Jones scooped up loose ball and returned it three yards for six points. Secor's made extra-point try put BSU ahead, 20-3, as the contest progressed into the second stanza.
UNT had a much more efficient drive its next time out as Byrd broke into BSU territory with a 25-yard run. The Mean Green moved all the way to the two-yard line before settling for a 22-yard field goal by Paul.
UNT's defense came up with a big play and registered a takeaway on the ensuing Cardinals' drive as Lairamie Lee jarred the ball loose with a hit on sophomore wide receiver KeVonn Mabon. Orr recovered the fumble at the Mean Green's 43- yard line. The offense was once again not able to take advantage, but added three more points as Paul drilled a 47-yard field goal attempt with 6:23 left in the first half.
BSU ended the home team's run when it took back over as Wenning completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Snead. UNT finally found the end zone as Thompson connected with Chancellor on a 25-yard touchdown pass that made it 27-16 with less than two minutes before halftime.
The Mean Green continued to narrow the deficit in the second half as Pegram scored on a 32-yard touchdown rush less than three minutes after kickoff. Thompson completed a pass to senior tight end Drew Miller on a two-point conversion try, which left BSU with a 27-24 advantage.
UNT's defense held BSU scoreless for the third quarter and Paul chipped in a 19-yard field goal seconds into the final frame to tie the score at 27. The Mean Green took their first lead of the game with a 56-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown run by Thompson at the 9:47 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals were unable to mount a comeback as they were limited to 18 total yards on their final three possessions.
Secor missed two field goal attempts and an extra point try in the seven-point loss. UNT held a narrow, 505-496 edge in total yards of offense in the shootout despite running 26 more plays and picking up 31 first downs to BSU's 19.
09/14 20:52:59 ET
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