BLOG: North Texas 33, WKU 6 (FINAL)

From left, WKU wide receivers Blake Ayers, Will Adams and Austin Baker sit in the locker room to prepare for their game against North Texas. The Toppers lost 33-6.

Zach Greenwell

Follow along with the Herald’s live-blog coverage of WKU’s homecoming weekend matchup against North Texas. The Toppers have lost three straight years to the Mean Green and also three straight homecoming games. They’ll try to stem the tide with a 2 p.m. kick at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

UNT 33, WKU 6 — 0:48 FINAL

Lance Dunbar rushed 10 yards for his third score of the day. Dunbar has passed the 200-yard mark.

Look for more coverage of Saturday’s game later at

UNT 26, WKU 6 — 4:14 4th

UNT backup running back Brandin Byrd snaps off a 53-yard touchdown run, and this one’s in the bag.

Just not a very good effort from WKU, and whether coach Taggart will admit it or not, this was clearly a step back.

Look for more on the game later at

UNT 19, WKU 6 — 6:12 4th

Heartbreak for WKU. The Toppers move all the way to the UNT 21-yard line before Kawaun Jakes fumbles the ball right into the hands of a Mean Green defender.

Looks like WKU’s dreams of a 2-game win streak are about to be dashed.

The Homecoming attendance for today was also less than stellar, announced at 14,373.

UNT 19, WKU 6 — 8:07 4th

North Texas milks over five minutes off the clock with a 71-yard drive, and Olen hits a 24-yard field to extend the Mean Green lead.

WKU’s defense looked really bad on that drive, giving up third-down conversion after third-down conversion.

WKU will need a quick strike here if it’s going to get back into this one.

UNT 16, WKU 6 — 14:03 4th

Looks like Monte Merrick has won the kicking job. The freshman nails a 46-yarder, and the Toppers are within 10.

But at the same time, WKU really needed a touchdown there. Getting a stop on UNT’s next drive becomes even more important now.

UNT 16, WKU 3 — End 3rd

WKU has the ball at the UNT 30-yard line on first down after a 16-yard pass from Jakes to Rainey.

The Toppers really need to come away with a touchdown here.

UNT 16, WKU 3 –2:57 3rd

WKU finally forces North Texas into another punt, but the Toppers come up empty on their next drive as well.

This is just a lifeless game all-around. WKU has gotten some big yardage on a few offensive plays, but none of it has led to good results.

This Smith Stadium crowd is also pretty dead. I’m kind of questioning whether or not the players would hear me yell from the press box on the field right now.

UNT 16, WKU 3 — 10:35 3rd

Receiver Marcus Vasquez drops a pass from Kawaun Jakes on 3rd and 4, and WKU will have to quickly punt. Things aren’t looking very good right now for WKU, and the Tops don’t seem like they have their best focus.

UNT 16, WKU 3 — 12:42 3rd

North Texas is starting to break this one open, as Lance Dunbar dives into the end zone for a 3-yard score. UNT missed the extra point.

Dunbar set up the touchdown with a 40-yard run on 4th and inches.

It took the Mean Green just five plays and 1:15 to get that score, and it’s definitely gut-check time for WKU now.

UNT 10, WKU 3 — 14:04 3rd

WKU starts the third quarter with a pretty miserable drive. The Toppers started with an illegal procedure penalty, Rainey ran for no gain, and Jakes threw two incompletions.

This hasn’t been the same WKU team that beat Lafayette last week and nearly beat Monroe two weeks ago.

UNT 10, WKU 3 — Half

Things almost got a little dicey for WKU at the end of the half, as the Toppers had to punt with six seconds left from their own 11-yard line.

But Brakefield just got the punt off, and North Texas heads into the locker room with a 7-point advantage.

The statistics aren’t that different between the two teams — WKU has actually outgained UNT 154-134 — but the Toppers have left some points on the board.

The good news for WKU is that it gets the ball out of halftime with a chance to tie.

Bobby Rainey had 90 rushing yards on 18 carries in the first half. Lance Dunbar had 43 rushing yards and one touchdown for UNT.

Quarterback Kawaun Jakes picked up where he left off last week, completing 8-of-11 passes, but he doesn’t have much to show for it except 50 yards.

WKU has put some good drives together, but the second half will be all about whether or not they can convert those solid efforts into points.

UNT 10, WKU 3 — 0:51 2nd

North Texas quickly gets into field-goal range, and kicker Zach Olen drills a 48-yarder.

After forcing two early punts, WKU’s defense has looked a little more vulnerable. The Toppers will receive the ball with just less than a minute to go in the half.

UNT 7, WKU 3 — 2:07 2nd

WKU goes for it on 4th and 2 at the UNT 37-yard line, but quarterback Kawaun Jakes’ play-action pass is batted down.

The Mean Green now have just over two minutes to extend their lead before halftime.

Bobby Rainey now has 87 rushing yards on 16 carries for WKU.

UNT 7, WKU 3 — 6:46 2nd

UNT running back Lance Dunbar waltzes into the end zone untouched for a 7-yard touchdown, and the Mean Green has taken the lead.

UNT went 76 yards on 11 plays on the drive, and to be honest, the WKU defense of old reared its ugly head. Lots of third-down conversions, and lots of questionable coverage.

WKU 3, UNT 0 — 11:22 2nd

WKU gets another field-goal try, and this time, Monte Merrick is the kicker that comes out and nails it.

We may have just seen the kicker job get transferred from Casey Tinius to Merrick, but obviously, that’s a job that can change at any time. It’s just hard for Taggart to stay with Tinius when he’s kicking at a 40-percent clip.

The 37-yard field goal capped a 60-yard drive, and the Toppers will try to hold an early lead.

Bobby Rainey now has 70 rushing yards.

WKU 0, UNT 0 — End 1st

Well, we’ve played a quick first quarter, and the game is still scoreless. WKU is driving with the ball, and it’s currently 3rd and 1 at the UNT 46-yard line.

By my count, junior running back Bobby Rainey had 57 rushing yards in that first quarter. We’ll have official numbers soon.

WKU, UNT 0 — 2:45 1st

WKU has looked solid on defense on North Texas’ first two drives. They just forced the Mean Green to punt again and will take over at their own 19-yard line.

So far, UNT running back Lance Dunbar hasn’t been able to get anything going.

WKU 0, UNT 0 — 5:29 1st

This blog has started just like last week — with the woes of junior kicker Casey Tinius.

The Toppers put together a solid five-minute drive after forcing North Texas to punt, but Tinius missed a 41-yard field goal. He’s now 4-of-10 on the season.

Not sure if Monte Merrick would be any better at kicker, but Tinius just isn’t getting it done.


WKU has won the toss and defers. Media relations tells us Monte Merrick will be handling the kickoffs in place of Hendrix Brakefield.

The Toppers will be wearing their black jerseys for the first time this season.

The only change to the pregame depth chart appears to be freshman receiver Willie McNeal penciled in ahead of sophomore Dexter Haynes.