And they still lost. That was the reaction from the casual observer to Daniel Meager’s historic evening at Ford Stadium against then pseudo-rival SMU. After all that, North Texas still lost. All that was a 601-yard passing performance on 71% completions with three touchdowns. Meager set SMU’s secondary on fire, the Mean Green found a way to drop the game to the Ponies by 14, 45-31.
If you were a Mean Green fan, watching your team lose during the Todd Dodge era was commonplace. Dodge won six games in 43 tries, a 14% winning percentage. The 2007 version was his first North Texas team; they opened the season at 8th ranked Oklahoma then traveled down I-35 to face SMU.
Meager, then a junior out of J.J. Pierce, started seventeen games entering the 2007 season. Up to that fateful night in Dallas, his high water mark for passing yards was 155 the year before against Louisiana Tech. He threw for nearly twice that number to Casey Fitzgerald against the Mustangs. Fitzgerald caught a school record 18 passes for 327 yards. The 327 yards set a school record that stands today, shockingly the reception mark sits second behind Marvin Walker’s 22 catch game against Tulsa in 1982. North Texas lost that game as well to a top 20 ranked Golden Hurricane team that finished 10-1 and didn’t go to a bowl game.
Fitzgerald, by the way, caught fourteen balls three times and thirteen balls once during his record-setting career in Denton.
Back to Meager, he completed his longest pass as a Mean Green quarterback, a 66-yard strike to set up a field goal. He threw three interceptions to go with his three scores, SMU returned one 49-yards for the score that iced the game for the Ponies. Meager is one of just seventeen humans in the FBS to throw for 600 or more yards. Five of those 600-yard games came via Texas Tech quarterbacks, two via Washington State signal callers. The Klingler brothers from Houston are each on that list; Jimmy threw for 613 yards in 1992 while older brother David torched Arizona State for 716 yards in 1990. Thanks to one historic night, Daniel Meager is on that select list.