By Craig Fields
After a valiant effort, the North Texas Mean Green football team (4-8) lost a close game to the University of Texas San Antonio Roadrunners (4-8) 34 – 27. The Roadrunners were able to move the ball passing and rushing, en route to their fourth victory of the season.
The Mean Green fell down early in this one, only managing four field goals in the first half, while the Roadrunners scored 20. The Mean Green’s deficit actually reached 15 in the third quarter when junior wide receiver Kenny Bias caught a 39-yard pass touchdown. From that point on the game got really exciting.
Down 27-12 the Mean Green defense showed the kind of resolve that is indicative of a John Skladany type defense. They buckled down and kept UTSA from scoring for about 20 minutes and managed to tie the game at 27. The game was ultimately lost on a 21-yard run by UTSA’s Brandon Armstrong. However senior David Glasco II was the more effective of the runners, gaining 99 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Senior quarterback Tucker Carter had to be considered the player of the game, completing 18 of 29 passes for two touchdowns. He kept the defense off balance all day, throwing the rock to 11 different receivers. The Roadrunners were ranked 111th in both passing and rushing offense, so their efficiency doing both against UNT was a little unexpected. On top of getting 11 receivers involved with the passing offense, UTSA also ran the ball with four different backs to keep the defense off balance passing and rushing the ball.
For the Mean Green, their most effective runner was Jeffrey Wilson. He gained 105 yards on 19 carries, and even though he didn’t get into the end zone, he helped the team manage the clock. Junior Andrew McNulty completed 24 of 43 pass attempts and threw a touchdown to wide receiver Marcus Smith.
The defense played well in spurts but in the end could not make that one stop needed to keep the Roadrunners out of the endzone. The Mean Green end the season without winning one game on the road. They manage to preserve a winning record and tradition at Apogee stadium, but ultimately failed to “Hit Six” wins per their motto at the beginning of the season.
The Mean Green managed to win eight games in the regular season last year and were bowl bound. They won the Heart of Dallas Bowl game and brought their win total to nine. This year they lacked the overall talent and playmaking ability to realistically repeat last years success.
This team lost plenty of seniors and leadership in key positions. Their defense was not the same hard hitting tough minded group that we had come to expect. Amidst playing musical chairs with the quarterback position, their offense just seemed to be out of sorts and unable to make the timely plays when needed the most. I would have to say that perhaps the biggest change to this team was their inability to run the football like they did last year.
That is not to say that they were completely inept when it came to running the pigskin, but they were not as effective as last year’s squad. If this team want’s to have similar success then young bucks will need to mature, quarterback play will have to improve, and a sense of edginess will need to return to the whole team in order to experience the success of last year. In a nutshell, this team needs to get its swagger back. And that starts with the coaching staff and will permeate to the rest of the team.