BATON ROUGE, La. — Brelan Chancellor made history in North Texas’ 41-14 loss to LSU on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.
UNT’s top returning wide receiver scored not just once but twice for the Mean Green in its season opener.
That was an impressive feat for a couple of reasons. First off, LSU is ranked No. 3 nationally and is known for having a standout defense. Not to mention the Mean Green has struggled mightily to score against the Tigers in the five-game history of the series.
UNT did not reach the end zone in any of its last three games against LSU.
Quarterback Derek Thompson connected with Chancellor for scoring strikes of 80 and 15 yards that were the highlights of the night for the Mean Green.
“It was just the offensive line giving him enough time, and Derek throwing the ball where it needed to be,” Chancellor said. “It was all them. They made me look good.”
Chancellor knew that touchdowns are hard to come by against LSU but would have been much happier if UNT had been more competitive against the Tigers.
“It made me feel good, but it would have felt better if we had won and played better ball,” Chancellor said.
Thompson credited the scoring strikes largely to his wide receiver.
“I tried to change the play on the first one, but he kept it on and luckily I was able to find him,” Thompson said. “He made a great play on the second one. He set the defender up well and made a good move to get into the end zone. I know I can trust Brelan. He’s a big asset for me.”
Bellazin gets first sack
Defensive end Aaron Bellazin picked up UNT’s first sack of the season in the first quarter.
The sophomore broke through LSU’s line and nearly pulled down Zach Mettenberger, who threw the ball out of bounds.
Mettenberger was flagged for intentional grounding, a spot foul that cost LSU 17 yards and counted as a sack for Bellazin.
Running back Byrd starts
One of the key questions UNT had to answer heading into the season was who would replace record-setting running back Lance Dunbar in the Mean Green’s lineup.
Junior Brandin Byrd was UNT’s starter and picked up 3 yards on a run up the middle on the Mean Green’s first play of the night.
Byrd and Jeremy Brown combined for 106 rushing yards last season and were among three players McCarney planned to rotate early in the season. Redshirt freshman Antoinne Jimmerson was the third player UNT planned to use.
All three played. Byrd rushed for 40 yards, while Jimmerson had 23 and Brown 20.
Feldt not on travel roster
Offensive lineman Cam Feldt, a highly regarded transfer from Arkansas, did not make the trip to Baton Rouge for UNT’s game against LSU.
Feldt sat out last season after transferring and practiced with the Mean Green throughout the spring and fall. He was recruited as a tackle out of Pilot Point by UNT, but moved to guard after joining the Mean Green.
Several Mean Green freshmen stay home
UNT head coach Dan McCarney has maintained throughout the fall that he won’t close the door on the possibility of playing several of his freshmen this season.
UNT could need a few of its incoming freshmen depending on the way the season progresses.
The players McCarney left at home for the Mean Green’s season opener at LSU could indicate who might be headed for a redshirt year, though.
UNT left defensive backs Xavier Kelly, linebacker Jarrian Roberts, wide receiver Nick Schrapps and defensive lineman Dylan McDorman back in Denton.
Kelly and Schrapps were among UNT’s most highly regarded recruits.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.