North Texas Opens 2017 Season With Some New Records

North Texas (1-0 0-0) started its 2017 campaign with a 59-14 rout of the Lamar Cardinals (0-1). The Mean Green are looking to continue the momentum from the 2016 season and post their second winning season in the last 10 years and last night’s 668 total offensive yards, a new record that surpassed the 635 total yards against Navy in 2007, was a good start. The last time North Texas won its home opener it finished the season 9-4 with a bowl win. It’s still very early in the season but it’s hard not to flash back to 2013 when North Texas surprised a lot of folks with a special season. Hopefully this game is the start of another surprising season for Mean Green fans.

On a more somber note, the Mean Green Brigade played the Alma Mater for Lamar University before and after the game. Also, a small Lamar flag could be seen flying just underneath the North Texas flag in the south end zone. Very classy thing to do for the Lamar fans that managed to travel to Denton, TX to watch the game. I’d like to see the band play the alma mater for all visiting schools.

Up next for the Mean Green is the SMU Mustangs, who dispatched their FCS opponent, the SFA Bearcats in a similar fashion of 58-14. The game will be at Ford Stadium in Dallas, TX with kickoff set for 6:00 PM. The game will also be streamed by ESPN3. For those wishing to tailgate at SMU, North Texas can purchase passes through the North Texas Alumni Association for $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Please RSVP by September 5th.

Solid Stable of Running Backs

The game saw two running backs ratchet up more than 100 yards — Jeffery Wilson 176; Nic Smith 101 — with Evan Johnson coming up just short with 98 yards. Altogether, North Texas rushed for an eye popping 436 yards and five touchdowns. Overall, the ground attack for North Texas is solid with little drop off from Wilson down to Johnson. The offensive line, the often unsung heros, gave a solid performance opening some holes for the backs and giving the quarterback the time needed to find an open receiver.

Rushing Att Gain Loss Net TD Long Avg
Wilson, Jeffery 12 176 0 176 3 62 14.7
Smith, Nic 18 101 0 101 1 32 5.6
Johnson, Evan 13 98 0 98 0 16 7.5
Shanbour, Quinn 3 31 0 31 0 28 10.3
Tucker, Andrew 4 29 0 29 1 12 7.3
Hosley, Christian 4 4 2 2 0 2 0.5
Fine, Mason 5 12 11 1 0 6 0.2
Team 1 0 2 -2 0 0 -2
Totals 60 451 15 436 5 62 7.3

Quarterbacks Manage the Game

Mason Fine in his Sophomore years posted his most “solid” game with 15 completions on 21 attempts with no interceptions for 224 yards and three touchdowns and two sacks giving him a career best quarterback rating of 208.2. Fine did a good job finding the open receiver, sometimes going to his second or third option. Quinn Shanbour also got his first ever pass completion for his North Texas college career finishing at 2-3-0 on the night for 8 yards and no interceptions or sacks. Shanbour looked like a solid option should something bad happen to Fine.

The Receiver Corp managed 13.6 yard per catch with a long of 44 yards by Michael Lawrence for a touchdown in the second quarter. As a unit, the receivers totaled 232 yards and three touchdowns. The receivers need to be a little more consistent as there were a couple drops but overall it was a solid performance.

The offense did what it needed to against the level of competition it faced. The real test will come against the SMU Mustangs next weekend. I expect the offense to continue its upward trend however without the flashy numbers like we saw last night.

Defense Keeps Rushing Attack in Check

The Mean Green Defense kept Lamar to under 100 yards in rushing and just 180 in passing. The defense managed an interception late in the game and forced a fumble ending a Lamar drive that lead to a Mean Green field goal. Pressure against the Cardinals was fairly constant with eight QB Hussles, two sacks for 15 yards, and five pass break-ups. There were five tackles for a loss of 22 yards registered by six different players.

The Mean Green Defense needs to put up a similar performance against the Mustangs to give the Offense the best chance to pull out a win

Special Teams – A Work in Progress?

Special Teams seemed to have a couple stumbles in the game. Eric Jenkins muffed a punt allowing Lamar to score a few plays later. Some of the kickoffs fell short of the end zone allowing for easier returns. Kickoff coverage needs some fine tuning as containment seemed to fall apart allowing the runner to break free for extra yards. I’m sure this will get some work in film study over the next week in preparation for the Mustangs.

Record Setting Affair

Trevor Moore notched his one-hundredth consecutive Point-After-Try with the opening score, a 10 yard run by Jeffery Wilson. So far in his career at North Texas, Moore has been perfect kicking PATs.

It seemed that the Cardinals could never find a way to slow down the Mean Green as they set a new team record for total yards in a game. Last time the Mean Green posted numbers like this was against Navy on November 11, 2007 in the Todd Dodge era.

North Texas finished the game with 436 yards rushing, making this the third most in a game in program history.

This was also the highest scoring home opener for North Texas.

Media Coverage

Mean Green Sports Recap

Denton Record Chronicle

North Texas Daily

Post Game Press Conference

Highlight Reel

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