Derek Thompson completed 21 of 30 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns as North Texas rolled to a 36-14 win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl Wednesday afternoon.
For North Texas, it’s the program’s first bowl victory since 2002 and gives the Mean Green its fifth nine-win season in program history.
UNLV jumped out to an early lead when Caleb Herring hit Marcus Sullivan for a nine-yard touchdown to cap a 95-yard drive, then forced a North Texas three-and-out. But, statistically, it was all North Texas after UNLV’s Kevin Whitley fumbled the ensuing punt.
The game was tied at seven at halftime and North Texas really didn’t pull away until the fourth quarter, with a trio of scoring drives vaulting the Mean Green to a 28-7 lead midway through the frame.
For North Texas coach Dan McCarney, the win had to provide some nice vindication. After spending a dozen years at Iowa State, McCarney took over a downtrodden program at North Texas in 2011 and built them to a bowl winner in only his third season in Denton.
UNLV fell to 7-6 with the loss, though it’s still the program’s first winning season since 2000.