TULSA, Okla. — Derek Thompson began his senior season at North Texas fielding questions about whether he would be able to hang on to the starting quarterback job for a third straight season.
The senior ended it — at least the regular-season portion of it — talking about his place in UNT history following a 42-10 win over Tulsa on Saturday at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
Thompson didn’t have his biggest game of the season — let alone his career — but was efficient while completing 17 of 26 passes for 173 yards.
The performance was vintage Thompson, who has ridden that consistent level of play to a host of wins and milestones, the latest of which was moving into second place on UNT’s all-time passing yardage list.
The former Glen Rose standout pushed his career passing total to 7,191 yards against Tulsa, moving him past Steve Ramsey.
“It’s absolutely a proud moment,” Thompson said. “It’s a great feeling to be in that kind of company. I couldn’t have done it without the guys who have helped me through the years, but it is pretty special for me.”
Ramsey threw for 7,076 yards at UNT from 1967-69 before playing seven seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Denver Broncos.
Mitch Maher set the UNT record for career passing yards while throwing for 8,519 yards from 1991-94.
“[Thompson] has been a model of consistency throughout his career, but especially this year in his senior season,” UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. “When someone says you are consistent and productive and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, those are pretty strong words, and that is exactly the way I feel about DT.”
Offense gets back on track
UNT bounced back in dramatic fashion from a tough offensive performance last week in a loss to Texas-San Antonio.
The Mean Green rolled up 550 yards of offense and five touchdowns on a night the Mean Green also picked up a special teams score on a blocked punt return.
That was a major improvement from last week, when UNT managed just one touchdown and two field goals in a 21-13 loss to the Roadrunners.
“I told my football team not to look back this week and look forward with confidence, belief, trust and hope that we are going to get what we want,” McCarney said. “We hit a bump in the road last week but showed great determination.”
That determination was evident on defense and special teams in addition to on offense, where UNT had several players perform at a high level.
Running back Brandin Byrd led the way with 251 rushing yards, but several other players got into the act.
Antoinne Jimmerson rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns, while wide receiver Brelan Chancellor caught five passes. Darnell Smith led UNT with 51 receiving yards.
Review negates UNT score
UNT appeared as if it would score on defense when cornerback Kenny Buyers returned what originally was ruled a fumble for a touchdown.
Tulsa faced a third-and-6 situation at its own 48-yard line, and Sanger product Dane Evans tried to hit running back Trey Watts over the middle. Watts appeared to catch the ball and take a step before fumbling.
Buyers scooped the ball up and ran it back to the end zone. Officials reviewed the play and ruled that Watts never had control of the ball.
UNT blows scoring chance
UNT blew a scoring chance in the second quarter after cornerback Zac Whitfield intercepted a Cody Green pass and returned it to the Tulsa 26-yard line.
UNT drove to the Tulsa 12 after Byrd converted on third-and-1 with a 5-yard run. The Mean Green stalled out from there and was forced to try a 32-yard field goal that Zach Paul pushed wide right.
Paul had hit six of his seven field goal attempts from inside 40 yards heading into the game.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870.