A season after giving up 74 points to Navy (see scoreboard below), North Texas surrendered a mind-boggling 77 to Rice last Saturday. The difference between the games? The Mean Green managed to score 62 against the Midshipmen but only 20 against the Owls.
And Saturday's loss could have been worse. Much worse, according to Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle:
"Rice called the dogs off in the fourth quarter. The Owls basically ran the ball to the middle of the field and fell down every time they had the chance.
"Rice head coach David Bailiff actually tried to apologize to UNT head coach Todd Dodge after the game.
"That's a bad sign for UNT.
"Another bad sign for the Mean Green, [Rice's] Jarett Dillard and Chase Clement received a helmet sticker on ESPN's college football show late Saturday night for torching UNT's secondary."
Vito asks if the honeymoon is over for Dodge, who parlayed a successful run as a Texas prep coach into the North Texas job.
"Judging from my e-mail and the comments on the blog, it seems like people are starting to question what is going on with the Mean Green, and they are not being blasted for it by a horde of torch-carrying Dodge supporters.
"Greg weighed in today with this gem: 'To all those who thought hiring a high-school coach was a good idea, I hate to say it: 'Told you so.' "
Up next for North Texas is Florida International, which defeated the Mean Green, 38-19, last Dec. 1 — the final game played at the Orange Bowl. That victory ended the Golden Panthers' 23-game losing streak.
To make matters worse for North Texas, Florida International suddenly has momentum. It is coming off a 35-19 victory at Toledo. When the team arrived back on campus Sunday at 5 a.m., it was met by 200 fans at a pep rally.