By Craig Fields
The North Texas defense gave up 593 yards to Indiana University and the Hoosiers won this one in a rout, 49-24 over the Mean Green. The defense could not stop anyone on the Hoosier team, looking completely lost and confused at different times during the game.
This difference between this year’s defense and last year’s defense is night and day. Last year’s defense had senior leadership. It had continuity, playmakers, a presence, a fear factor that let wide receivers know that if you come across the middle you will get popped, HARD! This defense does not have that, at all.
Now I know that there are reasons for that. One of those reasons is that this is one of the most overhauled defenses in the country. Many of the leaders and talent graduated or transferred. Another reason is that as a result of the first reason, other players have to step up and accept roles that are probably not ready or even suited for.
As a result of both of those reasons, we have a team that allows a quarterback to throw for 230 yards and a team to rush for 363 yards. Two running backs ran for over 100 yards each. The Mean Green’s front seven were pushed around like rag dolls all afternoon long.
The Mean Green offense, however, was able to take something positive away from this game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dajon Williams definitely had some growing pains in this one. But he also showed some poise and playmaking ability, which is more than we have gotten from the quarterback position all year long.
He did have two interceptions, but he also had three touchdowns as well. I think what we saw in this game was a little bit of growth and maturity out of the young man. After not being able to do much of anything for the majority of the game, Williams connected on two quick strike touchdown passes in the fourth to make the game look a lot better.
If anything, we saw that the young man can make plays under heavy pressure against a formidable opponent. If he can make the kinds of plays he made against a team in a big 5 conference, imagine what he could do against less talented teams in his own conference.
The Mean Green have seven remaining games this season. They need to win at least four in order to be bowl eligible. If the defense does not become a cohesive unit, realizing that dream of back to back bowl seasons may be far fetched.
The Hoosier quarterback, Nate Sudfeld was hardly under pressure all game long. He threw dot after dot to the tune of 23-29 from the field. That is dang near an 80% completion percentage. That is unacceptable. The Mean Green front seven will have to be more dominant if they want to get quarterback pressures and sacks. That will cause errant throws and turnovers.
The Mean Green running game was not bad, but 143 yards was not enough to take control of the game. Indiana had 33 minutes of possession. The Hoosier offensive line completely dominated the Mean Green defensive line. If the thought coming into this game was that Indiana was a one dimensional team, then the impression after the game was that they can do it all; and do it all well.
The Mean Green will look to bounce back when conference play continues. They will travel to Alabama to play against the UAB Blazers this weekend. The Blazers are coming off an exhilarating win against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.