North Texas allowed UNLV to take the football 95 yards down the field for a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Then the defense woke up. Behind one of the more impressive all-around performances of bowl season thus far, the Mean Green cruised to a 36-14 Heart of Dallas Bowl win.
The Mean Green tied things up at 7-7 with an Antoinne Jimmerson one-yard touchdown rush late in the first quarter. Both teams had a couple of scoring opportunities before the half, but they were unable to put any points on the board before the break.
North Texas took over in the second half. Derek Thompson then connected with Drew Miller on a seven-yard touchdown strike to give the Mean Green a 14-7 lead, and Brelan Chancellor followed that with a 14-yard touchdown run on the following possession. Thompson completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Smith midway through the fourth quarter to just about put the nail in UNLV's coffin.
Both teams would go on to score touchdowns in garbage time, though the game was never really in question following Smith's late touchdown grab.
Box Score Heroes:
Derek Thompson: 21/30, 256 yards, 2 TD
Brelan Chancellor: 7 carries, 47 yards, 2 TD; 6 receptions, 74 yards
Caleb Herring: 22/41, 196 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Devante Davis: 10 receptions, 96 yards
Rankings Ramifications: While it was a nice win for North Texas, it won't be nearly enough to get them into the top-25 to end the season. What it will do is give the Mean Green some momentum heading into the offseason coming off a nine-win campaign. There's nothing worse than having to wait nine months to get a loss out of your system.
But Did They Cover? North Texas came in as a six- or seven-point favorite depending on the line, so they covered with ease. They came in just under the 53-point spread.
For More On This Game: For more on UNLV football, visit MWC community Mountain West Connection.