North Texas 21 Tulane 24 – 10.5.13

Today’s game was brought to me by Fox College Sports, one of the few I have that is in standard definition. It was great to see North Texas play on a screen bigger than my iPad but it was in standard definition. I mean come on. Okay. /First World Problems.

North Texas dropped a incredibly tough game to a poor Tulane team on the road. While the CUSA West title still is within reach, this made it slightly less so. We stand here at 2-3 instead of the 4-1 we should be. Despite all the growth and progress in the program, this team is still getting its bearings under Coach Danny Mac.

This team hits hard and competes even harder. Whereas the last regime would have produced a 40-point loss, this one engineered a comeback. Sure, the losses are losses, but they are much easier to take, and your pride takes less of a bruising after a tough game than after a shellacking.

Things To Be Concerned About

Offense

Derek has been a lot more consistent this year, in that his ups and downs are less wild and he plays — on average — okay through the course of the game. Look at today — some poor throws, some poor decisions, but some really awesome throws, and really great decisions. By all measures that we have access to, he’s the best we have. That doesn’t mean I can’t get incredibly frustrated with him. Just that I accept it.

The Run Game was and has been completely absent. We resorted to Derek Thompson dives on 3rd-and-short-and-also-crucial instead of Brandin Byrd. This is North Texas running football now? I guess.1 Derek, Brelan, Darnell Smith, and Carlos Harris are the passing game. Do you recall anyone else catching the ball? Me either. We couldn’t even get the ball into our running back’s hands on screens plays! The offensive line is not creating holes big enough to run through or something. Also of note? Derek got hit a ton today. Strange times indeed.

Despite all this, we are good for about one or two good drives per game. I can live with this when the defense is playing well and Brelan is a threat to score on special teams.

Special Teams

Last two weeks = two touchdowns for the good. This week? A TD allowed on a blocked kick. Terrible. If they held their own this game this likely would have been a Mean Green win.

Gah!

Things To Be Excited About

Defense

Wow. That was awesome to watch. The defensive line was in the backfield and in Kid Montana’s face all game. The tackling by Kenny Buyers, Lairamie Lee, Will Wright, and Zac Whitfield was especially awesome. They were playing zones and coming up to make tackles on short passes all game. They did an amazing job. Played well enough to win this game and then some.

What It All Means

The conference division is still winnable. CUSA is looking like the SunBelt in that nothing is set in stone and any given Saturday anyone not named SoMiss can win. Sure, this was a gut-wrenching loss but in seven days North Texas hosts Middle Tennessee. All isn’t lost … yet.


  1. Also threw a short route to Carlos Harris on one. This doesn’t bother me so much as a strategy, but it illustrates my point that we are not even pretending like we think we can run the ball.