MONROE, La. — Carlos Harris took a look around Saturday night before North Texas’ game against Louisiana-Monroe at Malone Stadium and came to a simple conclusion: The Mean Green needed him to produce in the worst way.
UNT was already without one of its top receivers in Brelan Chancellor, who was lost for the season with a broken collarbone in a loss to Middle Tennessee on Oct. 27 and was also without running back Antoinne Jimmerson, who was out with a shoulder injury.
“I did what I could when I had the opportunity,” Harris said. “I felt like I did some good things [today], but I would rather get a win. I was just trying to do my job.”
Harris led UNT with eight catches for 118 yards. Both totals were career highs and showed that he is continuing to grow as a player. The former Frisco standout also led UNT in catches and yards last week, when he caught three passes for 35 yards in a win over South Alabama.
“Harris is getting better and better,” UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. “He is a freshman who grows, matures, listens and has a lot of pride and talent. He continues to improve. He’s a freshman, but he doesn’t play like one.”
Harris drew a key pass interference penalty on second-and-16 on UNT’s first scoring drive that resulted in a Zach Olen field goal. His 28-yard catch in the third quarter helped UNT move into position for tight end Andrew Power’s 4-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Derek Thompson.
Harris capped his day by catching three straight passes that covered a total of 37 yards on UNT’s final scoring drive.
“He has grown up in the last few games,” Thompson said. “He has shown that he is someone I can trust. He is going to do a lot of good things here.”
UNT capitalizes after turnover series
UNT scored its first points of the day after an odd series that saw three turnovers in the span of four plays.
ULM went for the first down on fourth-and-1 from the UNT 45-yard line but came up short when defensive end Brandon McCoy cut Mitchell Bailey down for no gain.
UNT tried to capitalize on the momentum it gained on the play only to see ULM safety Isaiah Newsome intercept a pass from Thompson, who got rid of the ball just before being leveled by linebacker R.J. Young.
ULM ran just one play before giving the ball right back as Zac Whitfield intercepted a pass from ULM quarterback Kolton Browning, who tried to hit Tavarese Maye deep down the middle of the field.
UNT took over and drove 63 yards in 13 plays and cashed in on a 29-yard Zach Olen field goal.
UNT without Jimmerson
Jimmerson did not play against ULM after injuring his shoulder in the Mean Green’s win over South Alabama last week.
Jimmerson had been among UNT’s biggest playmakers late in the season and ranked second on the team with 544 rushing yards. The former DeSoto standout had scored a team-high eight touchdowns heading into the game.
UNT fails to get two again
UNT had one last chance to pick up back-to-back wins this season in its game against ULM after beating South Alabama last week.
The Mean Green failed to capitalize and is now 0-22 in games after a victory since the beginning of the 2005 season.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.