DENTON, Texas —With 12:35 left in the third quarter, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette football team was ahead of North Texas 20-6 after Harry Peoples caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Terrance Broadway.
However, ULL managed just three more points the rest of the way as UNT erupted for 24 second-half points in a 30-23 win before 17,055 at Apogee Stadium.
The Mean Green (3-4, 2-1 Sun Belt) got the go-ahead touchdown with 1:54 left when Antoine Jimmerson caught his second scoring pass from Derek Thompson. ULL had tied the game at 20 with 3:01 left when Brett Baer hit a 47-yard field goal, but UNT took the next drive down the field in just more than a minute to take the lead for good.
“Disappointed in the second half ... we were up two touchdowns and got inept offensively,” Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said. “Got hit on a couple of big plays, trick plays.”
ULL picked up a 6-0 lead after taking its opening drive 83 yards, scoring on a 1-yard run by Effrem Reed, a former Dutchtown High standout, after taking more than six minutes off the clock. A 25-yard field goal by the Mean Green’s Zach Olen, the first of three in the game, with 7:08 left before halftime made it 6-3. But the Cajuns’ lead swelled to 10 on the next play, when Broadway scampered 75 yards to make it 13-3.
A second field goal by Olen, this one from 24 yards out less than a minute before the break, made it a 13-10 game at halftime. However, the Cajuns took their opening possession of the second half 68 yards in five plays and looked in control with just over 32 minutes left to play.
However, UNT exploded for 17 unanswered points, getting a 28-yard pass from Thompson to Jimmerson, a 34-yard run by Brelan Chancellor and a 22-yard field goal by Olen with 11:44 left in the game to take its first lead of the night at 23-20.
The Cajuns were hit with several key injuries in the loss, including losing senior receiver Javone Lawson for much of the first half because of a wrist injury and losing Peoples for most of the second halfbecause of an injured shoulder.
Broadway finished 26 of 41 passing for 265 yards with one touchdown in his second start. He also ran for 87 yards on five carries and another score. But the talented sophomore didn’t want to discuss his numbers after this tough loss. Instead, the ULL quarterback was focused on taking blame for his role in the defeat.
“Couple of our key guys went down. Including myself, we didn’t make plays we normally make, and that starts with me,” Broadway said. “It all starts with me. I’m taking the fall for it.”
UNT finished with 242 rushing yards, which didn’t surprise Hudspeth.
“They’re very good. They’ve played a very tough schedule. I hope our team didn’t take them lightly,” he said.
The Cajuns return to the field next Tuesday night, when they will host Arkansas State.
“We are going to get back, get to work and find a way to keep improving,” Hudspeth said.