With four games remaining this season, UNT sports a 2-2 Sun Belt Conference record which is their lone positive at this point. Their 3-5 overall record is a much more telling story. The team has yet to put up consecutive wins nor find any consistency that is needed. The loss to Middle Tennessee hurt the program in many ways. Instead of building on their nationally televised win over the Ragin’ Cajuns, the Mean Green followed up with sloppy play. They doubled the Blue Raiders in penalties and penalty yardage. Whereas Middle Tennessee played turnover free football, UNT had four of them – three interceptions and a fumble. By halftime, the Mean Green were in a 24-0 hole only to watch the deficit increase to 31 before getting on the scoreboard. The end result was a 38-21 loss for UNT. So much for momentum…
Football is a team sport, but when your starting QB has three interceptions on the day; the burden put on the whole team is simply too much. Derek Thompson only completed 17 of 29 attempts for 221 yards and a TD which isn’t enough for this team. The Mean Green did find success on the ground. The stable of running backs put up over 200 yards rushing. Brandin Byrd continues to be the featured back and Antoinne Jimmerson still has the hot hand (two rushing touchdowns). Jeremy Brown rushed the ball six times for 50 yards on the day. It was too little, too late.
Arkansas State is a pass first oriented team. QB Ryan Aplin makes great decisions with the ball. He’s only thrown two interceptions all season. Even against superior defenses he completes over half his passes. In the three games RB David Oku has been kept out of the end zone this season the Red Wolves have suffered losses. He’s a sound back and hard to tackle. WR J.D. McKissic is clearly Aplin’s primary target. He leads the team in receptions and yardage.
This week’s homecoming game against Arkansas State is “make or break” for the Mean Green. The scheduling gods didn’t do them any favors with Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky to end the season on the road. UNT needs to win their home games to squeak into a bowl. That would be a huge accomplishment for McCarney and his staff.
ARKANSAS STATE vs. UNT
SAT. NOV. 3 – 4:00PM