DENTON, Texas — Indiana scored three somewhat flukish touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make it interesting, but still lost 24-21 to North Texas in the program’s second game at brand new Apogee Stadium.
The Hoosiers were destroyed on both lines of scrimmage in the first three quarters and were out 226-50 in the game by a Mean Green squad that had given up at least 41 points in three losses in its first three games.
“They worked us pretty good,” Wilson said.
The Hoosiers fall to 1-3, and will fail to win more than one non-conference game for the first time since 2003. Combining this with the Ball State loss, they’ve also lost two games to schools from conferences without an automatic qualifier to the Bowl Championship Series for the first time since 2008.
North Texas senior tailback Lance Dunbar broke out from an early-season slump with 127 yards on 24 carries and 152 yards on seven receptions. That included an 83-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
North Texas quarterback Derek Thompson completed just 10 of 20 passes and threw an interception, but he finished with 201 yards through the air and three touchdowns. The other two went to wide receivers Chris Bynes and Michael Outlaw.
The Hoosiers trailed 24-0 until they rallied in the fourth quarter. Freshman safety/linebacker Mark Murphy caught returned an interception 31 yards for his first career touchdown to put Indiana on the board.
Backup quarterback Dusty Kiel took over for starter Ed Wright-Baker in the fourth quarter after Wright-Baker completed 23 of 40 passes for 209 yards, but threw an interception and was sacked three times. Kiel hit freshman wide receiver Cody Latimer on a 44-yard touchdown pass and hit sophomore Kofi Hughes for a 67-yard score. On both plays, he took advantage of startlingly busted coverages by North Texas, however, and Wilson gave no indication that Kiel’s performance would warrant a reconsideration of the quarterback position.
“Bottom line, they didn’t get lined up,” Wilson said. “They kinda messed up and we got lucky, maybe had the right call on. Our kid saw it and took advantage. Little bit of them helping us as much as anything.”
The Hoosiers shook up the wide receiver corps significantly, starting sophomore Jamonne Chester, senior Dre Muhammad and freshman Jay McCants. Chester led the team with eight receptions for 92 yards.
Senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher didn’t make the trip, Wilson said, because of a minor injury, the nature of which he did not disclose. Sophomores Duwyce Wilson and Kofi Hughes didn’t start the game also because of minor injuries that limited them in practice, according to Kevin Wilson. Wilson’s was back related and Hughes’s was a wrist injury.
Wilson also said that defensive end Kevin Bush has left the program. He said that Bush, a 26-year-old defensive end who joined the team after a 3 1/2 year stint in the U.S. Army, which included tours in Iraq and North Korea, had simply decided to move on from the program.
“He just kinda thought where he was age wise, he felt he kind of lost his spark about playing,” Wilson said. “ … I encouraged him to try to stay with it and he could go through it as a senior basically if he wanted to, but I think he thought with just where he was. … I want to do what’s best for him, would want to work with him, but want to respect his decision because of his sacrifices he made for the country, one, and for him to be an old guy coming back. That’s an unusual man, so we hold him in high regard.”