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Football: Defense puts in solid first half

Profile image for By Brett Vito / Staff Writer
By Brett Vito / Staff Writer

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Trips to Kansas State traditionally have been a miserable experience for North Texas’ defense.

UNT was able to turn the tables for a short time during a 35-21 loss to the Wildcats on Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Kansas State ran six plays in the first quarter and lost one yard.

The Mean Green eventually wore down against the 15th-ranked team in the country, but that opening period gave UNT something to build on heading into its Sun Belt Conference opener next week against Troy.

UNT could have defensive end Brandon McCoy and linebacker Jeremy Phillips back by then after they both missed the Mean Green’s game against Kansas State.

The Wildcats came into the game having averaged 51.3 points in its last three games at home against UNT.

“We are growing,” UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. “It’s a young bunch. We left two starters at home. Hopefully we will get McCoy and Phillips back soon. Kansas State wore us out in the second half.”

UNT played keep-away from Kansas State early, holding on to the ball for a whopping 19 minutes, 54 seconds in the first half.

The Mean Green’s defense had a lot to do with that statistic.

Kansas State ran just 22 plays in the first half.

“Their defense played lights-out for most of the ballgame,” Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said. “We did not run the ball well. We had those two three-and-outs right at the outset of the ballgame that really set the tone for a long time.”

Kansas State eventually took over, but had just 373 yards of offense on the night. Collin Klein threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas State, which made just enough big plays to pull away from UNT.

“We were playing fast and had no mental busts,” UNT linebacker Zach Orr said of the first half. “We had some mental busts in the second half. That was the difference.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is