North Texas Daily

Mean Green overcome slow start, use offensive explosion to knock off Southern Mississippi

Mean Green overcome slow start, use offensive explosion to knock off Southern Mississippi

September 30
22:57 2017

With 47 seconds left in the first quarter, North Texas trailed the University of Southern Mississippi 14-0. Desperately searching for their first first-down of the game, the Mean Green faced 4th and 1 on the Southern Miss 46-yard line and had almost no choice but to go for it.

In need of one yard, senior running back Jeffery Wilson was asked to deliver. He did just that and some.

Wilson broke off a 46-yard touchdown run and ignited a pulse into the Mean Green that continued beating until the final whistle.

North Texas defeated Southern Miss 43-28 by way of a dominant comeback Saturday night in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The win marked just the third time since 2007 that the Mean Green have won a road game immediately following a home win.

“I was really proud of the way our guys played,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “They really bounced back from some things in the first half and started building some momentum and some confidence. I was proud of the way our guys stuck together and dominated the second half.”

Dominate is a strong word, but it’s appropriate for what the Mean Green (3-2, 2-0) did to the Golden Eagles (2-2, 0-1) in the second half after being down 21-17 at halftime.

North Texas outscored Southern Miss 26-7 in the final 30 minutes of the game.

“It’s a long game,” Littrell said. “This group sticks together. They just grinded. This is a great team with great chemistry and they’re just figuring out we can be a special group.”

The offense stole the show, especially after the first half, and ended the game totaling 540 yards of offense while going 4-of-4 on 4th down conversions.

Wilson rushed for 148 yards on 30 attempts with three touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Mason Fine threw for 366 yards on 24-of-40 passing with two touchdowns and one interception.

Of Fine’s 24 completions, 14 went to sophomore receiver Jalen Guyton, who obliterated the stat sheet with 211 yards and one touchdown on 18 targets.

“[Their chemistry] is really starting to pick up,” Littrell said. “That’s all the work they’ve put in. The more practice you get the better you’re going to be this season. I’m really excited about our depth at [wide receiver] and we’ve been really explosive this year.”

In one of its most impressive efforts of the season, the defense settled in after allowing a touchdown on the first two Southern Miss drives.

They were led in tackles by junior E.J. Ejiya and sophomore safety Khairi Muhammad, who finished with 10 each.

In the secondary, senior Eric Jenkins started at cornerback for the first time this season. He was part of a Mean Green pass defense which only allowed Southern Miss quarterback Kwadra Griggs to complete 19-of-42 attempts.

The reigning special teams player of the week, senior kicker Trevor Moore, went 3-for-3 on field goals and averaged more than 37 yards per attempt.

After holding onto their lead last week against UAB and coming back from behind this week against Southern Miss, Littrell said the consistency and will to win is finally there for the North Texas football program.

“They wanted it,” Littrell said. “This group has been itching to get in there and finish out games. These are the situations that build confidence and will build momentum through the rest of the season.”

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore quarterback Mason Fine (6) throws downfield against the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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