I watched the game at Freddie’s in Austin, Texas. I had a wedding to kind-of-crash and friends to see. So I skipped the watching party in San Antonio and made my way up. While only one of the bunch I was there to see had any connection to UGA, they all were from Ess Eee See country and thoroughly dismissed our chances. So did everyone else with no connection to Denton, basically.
I hold no illusions about our status in College Football. We have had a handful of winning seasons, haven’t been to a bowl in eight years, and still get confused with a fictional team that occupied Fouts on screen only.
Forgive us all if we got a little giddy at the 21-21 score there for a while. Give us a pass when you see the message-board-of-record replete with plaudits for the team’s efforts. Don’t shake your head when you see me gladly accepting high-fives from strangers in the streets of Austin.
I am proud of the way the guys played. The defense won praise for their hitting, their stinginess in the run game, and the way they didn’t hang their heads after giving up a 98-yard TD strike.
The offense put together a scoring drive against a top-ten team.1 Although they were the weak link of the three units, they availed themselves well considering the defensive quality, and our recent lack of explosiveness.
This team competes. For a program of our standing, that is all a reasonable fan can ask for. No one wants to get FIU’d and have them turn on the running clock because you are embarrassing everyone. Our guys made a game of it when no one thought there would be.
That is step one. The next is taking advantage of probably the worst conference in the nation and a lenient schedule. The conference season begins in earnest after the bye. Although we don’t get to beat up on FIU, we do get some of the tougher match ups at home, with only the away Tulsa game looking sketchy.
But hey, playing Georgia between the hedges is tough. North Texas didn’t look like they were scared, just a bit out matched on the offensive side of the ball. Aaron Murray was nearly perfect in the first half and yet they only held a 7-point lead at half.
Things To Be Concerned About
Well, how about the run game? Brandin Byrd had 23 yards in a game where we didn’t get behind by more than 14 points. The rest of the rushers this game had a grand total of -11 yards. Yeah. Negative yardage rushing. It is really hard to complain about Derek Thompson completing short stuff only, and not being able to lead the team to the game tying score in the third quarter when he was getting zero help.
Giving Up Big Plays
There was that 98-yard score that erased a great coffin-corner punt. There was the 39-yard romp by JJ Green, too. Oh and four other plays of 20-yards or more. It was the third straight game that we allowed a 50+ yard play that scored and the fourth straight that a play of 50+ or more led to a touchdown2
Things To Be Excited About
This team is not perfect but it does not need to be to compete for a CUSA title. 3 The league is in a down year and we don’t have to face ECU or Marshall, the class of the conference right now. Sure, we have MTSU coming to town but that will be at Apogee. Rice also will be coming to Denton, in case you are afraid of them. Tulsa? Hell, if you can’t get up for a potential Division-Title matchup on the road against a team that has owned you the last decade then I don’t know why you follow football. I like our chancesin that one, especially after Dan McCarney’s likely epic locker room pre-game pep talk.