North Texas moved to 6-1 and 2-1 in C-USA play after a nice, business-handling win over Southern Miss.
Perhaps you wanted some kind of 44-26 win where Mason Fine shows off his arm and his weapons? This blog wanted that but is more than happy to sit here with a 30-7 victory in which the defense held an opponent to under 10.
This was an old-school dominant victory. The Golden Eagles came in looking to exploit the NT secondary — ahem, young Cam Johnson — and did all that. They forgot to score points.
The defense was greedy and did some thievery again, intercepting Jack Abraham once and Khairi Muhammad ripped the ball away from USM’s Trevensky Mosley for a fumble recovery. Muhammad finished with six tackles — four solo — and one TFL.
The defensive line was ferocious, with L’Darius Hamilton (Hambone) getting two sacks, including a flying, diving one on Jack Abraham early in the first.
The offense came out throwing the ball — looking to stay ahead of the chains and go with the strength. That method was mildy successful, as drops and a good USM pass rush on Mason Fine forced some early scrambles and two early punts.
Fine eventually found Guyton for six — a beauty of a toss that travelled 58 yards in the air — and NT looked like it was beginning to get unstuck. He finished 24/38 for 292 and a TD.
Unfortunately, Jack Abraham had a nice day throwing with 318 n 29/42 and a score to Quez Watkins from 44 yards out in which Quez out ran the entire secondary.
Watkins and fellow wideout Jordan Mitchell each had over 100 yards receiving, the first time NT has allowed that situation since the New Orleans Bowl against Troy.
Jalen Guyton also had himself a day, with 7 grabs for 124 and a score on 10 targets. That puts him at 21 grabs 335 and 2 scores in two seasons against USM. Mason Fine found 9 different pass-catches including Caleb Chumbley, who grabbed one for five.
Fine was greater than the numbers in the box score. He scrambled, spun out of sacks, and did the things that turn negative plays into positive plays. That is the stuff of winning, and a good reason why NT is 6-1 on the year.
All told, this was a nice effort if you look at the box score. DeAndre Torry had another 3 TD game, including the bow on the game in the form of a 34-yard score with under a minute left.
What It Means
North Texas is 2-1 in conference play and 6-1 on the season, bowl eligible in the third season of Seth Littrell’s career. Just a few short years ago NT was advertising the #Hit6 tag, to reach this point. Now? It almost barely registers.
With Tech’s loss last week to UAB, North Texas can claim a portion of the division lead with a win at Birmingham next week.
The offense could use a game with some efficiency. Mason Fine will play tougher defensive lines (next week) and the run game has to improve some if Graham Harrell does not want Fine to take too many hits.
As it is, this was yet another 400+ yard performance and a good outing by the QB. There was winning football played, and 30-points is enough to get wins. Unlike last season when the offense needed 45 points to win, this year, 30 is plenty.
At UAB 6-1, 2-0.
It will be tough as UAB looks amazing right now. They dominated a terrible Rice squad and got to play the second and third teamers. That should prove to be the toughest game NT has played this season. Sure, Tech won, but that was at home.