North Texas Daily

Five observations from football’s win over FIU

Five observations from football’s win over FIU

Five observations from football’s win over FIU
November 22
18:18 2014

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

The Mean Green football team won its final home game of the season Saturday afternoon, beating Flordia International University 17-14. It was an emotional day for the Mean Green as it was the last game that the seniors would play in Apogee Stadium. It was also the last home game for defensive coordinator John Skladany. There were tons of story lines despite no longer being bowl eligible, so here are the five observations from the team’s win:

1. Bad crowd: The Apogee Stadium crowd was the thinnest it has been all year. The official attendance for the game was 14,824 but there was no way that many people were there. Yes, the team is no longer in bowl contention, but this is the LAST home game of the season, and senior day. I thought at least there might be more students than there were, considering they get in for free. And the weather can’t be an excuse. There was no rain at kickoff  and it was actually quite pleasant outside for most of the game, until rain actually started falling late in the game. But, the Mean Green clinched it’s fourth straight winning season at Apogee under McCarney, which the head coach said was of extreme importance to the squad.

2. Defense plays for Skladany: It was announced on Monday that defensive coordinator will retire at the end of the season, and it looked like the defense was playing for him. Honestly, it seemed like this was the best performance that the defense has had against a Conference USA opponent all year. The team held FIU to 147 total yards and had three interceptions on the day. The only points that FIU scored were from a pick-six and a punt return. McCarney was visually emotional in his post game press conference when talking about Skladany, and it was clear that the defense wanted to win for him.

3. Quarterbacks: To no one’s surprise, junior Andrew McNulty got the start at quarterback and had an up and down game. He made a couple of good throws, but had a horrible pick-six as the first half wound down, and had three interceptions for the game. At this stage of the season, with no postseason to play for, I expected to see redshirt freshman Dajon Williams see some snaps behind center. The problem is that the Mean Green still don’t know what they have in Williams. With next year’s quarterback situation still unknown, there’s no reason why the team shouldn’t have McNulty and Williams both play next week against the University of Texas – San Antonio to get both some real game experience.

4. Rough offense: It was really a tough day for the Mean Green offense overall. It didn’t look bad with 266 total yards, but through out the second and third quarter, it seemed like FIU and North Texas were taking turns punting. Part of problem with this team all year has been the quarterback, but it’s not like the running game has done much. It will only get tougher next year as many members of the veteran offensive line are graduating. Thankfully, senior running back Reggie Pegram had 114 yards,  his best game of the season. North Texas needed all 114 of those yards to win this game.

5. Seniors shine: Pegram had a great game, Akunne had two sacks and Jones had a key interception. The one thing they have in common? They are all seniors. It was cool to see three key Mean Green players after phenomenal performances in their last game at Apogee Stadium. McCarney was also emotional talking about the seniors and what they have meant to the program. Despite a disappointing season, it was nice to see that the seniors took this game to heart and did whatever they could to win.

Featured Image: Senior wide receiver Darius Terrell makes a high flying catch against a Florida International University defender during the Mean Green’s last home game of the season. Terrell caught two passes for 25 yards on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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