By Craig Fields
North Texas quarterback Derek Thompson threw for 300 yards and two scores, and ran for another and the Mean Green completely destroyed the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on their way to a third straight victory, 55-14.
One glaring reason why the Golden Eagles were routed in this game is time of possession. The Mean Green completely monopolized the game as they had the ball for 41:51 of game time. They were able to do this, in large part, to the outstanding running that Reggie Pegram, Brandin Byrd, and Antoinne Jimmerson did on the day.
The three running backs just mentioned headed a rushing attack that totaled 229 yards on the day and six touchdowns. When you are able to rush the ball 62 times at 3.7 yards a clip, time of possession will often be on your side.
The Mr. Hyde to UNT’s Dr. Jekyll was of course the Golden Eagles rushing attack. They totaled 39 yards on 21 attempts for a dismal 1.9 yards per carry average. Frankly it was painful to watch them attempt to run the ball. They knew that if they did not at least attempt to be a two-dimensional team, the Mean Green defense would be able to easily key in on the offense.
As it was, the effort was for naught. The Golden Eagles quarterback ended up throwing the pigskin 31 times with 12 completions, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Not a good day.
Even though the three interceptions seem bad, Thompson had two of his own. In all actuality the turnover battle was bad for both teams, Southern Miss had five and the Mean Green had four. The only difference is that the Golden Eagles offense was not able to take advantage of the turnovers the way the Mean Green’s offense did.
Byrd, Jimmerson, and Pegram accounted for six of UNT’s scores scoring two each. Wide receiver Brelan Chancellor also accounted for one touchdown while snagging four balls for a total of 127 yards.
This is the type of team that the Mean Green has wanted to be. Their slogan, “Hit 6”, in response to the amount of games needed to win before they were bowl eligible, has been chanted since the beginning of the season. Not since the 2004 season has that mark been reached.
If this team can keep this level of intensity for the duration of the season, I see this North Texas team not only getting that sixth win, but changing the culture of a team that hasn’t sniffed success in almost 10 years. WHO’S READY?!