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All aboard the North Texas football hype train

All aboard the North Texas football hype train

North Texas junior running back Andrew Tucker (25) celebrates after scoring a defensive touchdown against Bethune-Cookman. Colin Mitchell

All aboard the North Texas football hype train
October 24
17:26 2016

When I looked at North Texas’ schedule before the season started, I remember thinking the game at Army could be a win. Maybe.

What happened Saturday, however, was so against the script the producers probably would have left it on the cutting room floor for being too ridiculous.

The now 4-3 North Texas Mean Green marched right into West Point, New York, and took what was rightfully theirs. The Mean Green looked like the better team all afternoon, drubbing the Black Knights, the second best defense in the nation, in a 35-18 win.

Before Saturday, some people said this group needed a signature win. This was the game people will look back on.

This was the real arrival of the turnaround.

The Marshall win was nice, but North Texas did not control the game as it did against the Black Knights. Army is a historically decent football program. Entering the game Saturday, the Black Knights sported a 4-2 record and a defense that made a living harassing quarterbacks.

But North Texas made Army look like chumps.

The Black Knights coughed the ball up seven times. Its iconic triple option offense was rendered useless by a defense that has done a complete 180 from a downright abysmal 2015.

Mike Ekeler and the Mean Green defense were on a mission. It was very obvious how well taught and disciplined the defense was. Ekeler and his crew made the most of their bye week.

You could see the defensive backs, especially junior Kishawn McClain, get outstanding reads at the line of scrimmage. Any motion that Army used was tracked by North Texas. Most of the time, the Mean Green knew where the play was going before the handoff.

This forced Army to step away from the triple option and pass – something it’s not comfortable doing. Junior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw threw four picks, and one was returned for a touchdown.

Stellar defense let the offense do its thing, especially junior running back Jeffrey Wilson, who had another personal record-setting game.

Second best-run defense in the nation? Wilson dropped 160 yards on just 15 carries. Wilson is averaging 6.7 yards per carry. Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson, of Louisville, is averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Wilson is tied for third in the nation in rushing touchdowns with 12. Two players have more. One of them is Jackson.

North Texas junior running back Jeffery Wilson dives on the sideline against Marshall. Colin Mitchell

North Texas junior running back Jeffery Wilson dives on the sideline against Marshall. Colin Mitchell

Wilson has taken pressure off freshman quarterback Mason Fine, who, all things considered, had a decent game Saturday other than his interception. He finished 9-for-17 with 118-yards and one touchdown.

How people are still not considering this team a real contender in Conference USA is surprising. North Texas is being overlooked in a lot of polls. ESPN has the Mean Green at No. 109, just above 1-6 Kansas.

Is this what we expected in the pre-season? Goodness, no. But here we are. Take notice.

North Texas is 4-3, and a winnable game against the University of Texas at San Antonio looms. That would put the Mean Green on the cusp of bowl eligibility with a chance to clinch a bowl berth on homecoming against an underachieving Louisiana Tech squad.

All aboard the North Texas hype train.

Featured Image: North Texas junior running back Andrew Tucker (25) celebrates after scoring a defensive touchdown against Bethune-Cookman. Colin Mitchell

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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1 Comment

  1. BleedTechBlue
    BleedTechBlue October 29, 22:29

    “An underachieving Louisiana Tech squad”?!?! What on God’s greens earth have you been smoking?!?! How bout them Roadrunners and them BULLDAWGS!!!!!!

    Reply to this comment

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