Five observations from North Texas vs. Lamar: Jeffery Wilson and Mason Fine shine in victory

Five observations from North Texas vs. Lamar: Jeffery Wilson and Mason Fine shine in victory

North Texas senior running back Jeffery Wilson (3) attempts to stiff arm sophomore Caleb Abrom (13). Wilson finished the game with 176 yards on 12 carries. Colin Mitchell

Five observations from North Texas vs. Lamar: Jeffery Wilson and Mason Fine shine in victory
September 02
22:42 2017

1) Jeffery Wilson makes a statement: The senior from Elkhart is poised for a huge year and absolutely torched the Lamar defense in limited playing time. Wilson finished with three touchdowns and 176 yards on just 12 carries, gashing the Cardinals almost every way imaginable. North Texas fans collectively held their breath when he went down in the first quarter, but Wilson came back into the game and insisted nothing was wrong in his postgame interview. With a sophomore quarterback in Mason Fine who is still developing, it will be critical for the Mean Green to establish the run with Wilson to open up the passing game. If he can stay healthy, there is no reason why Wilson won’t be among the nation’s leading rushers at season’s end.

North Texas sophomore quarterback Mason Fine (6) throws the ball downfield as he is being hit by a defender in the Mean Green’s 59-14 win against Lamar University. Nathan Roberts

2) Mason Fine shows improvement: He wouldn’t say as much after the game but Fine looked more poised and collected than in any game he played in last year. Even though he was playing a team like Lamar, it appeared as though the game was coming much more naturally for him, as he cleanly and swiftly progressed through his reads. It’s doubtful Fine will ever stuff the stat sheet, but he did his job on Saturday and managed the game, finishing with 224 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-21 passing. If he continues to have efficient games like this, North Texas’ offense will be hard to stop, as evidenced Saturday night. Along with setting a record for most points in a season opener, the Mean Green also broke the school record for most yards in a game with 668.

3) Defense still work in progress: They gave up a few big plays in the first half but slammed the door in the final two quarters, pitching a shutout in the last 30 minutes to seal the deal. North Texas’ secondary played the part as the strongest unit on the defense, limiting Lamar to 232 passing yards while recording an interception. With defensive tackle Bryce English sidelined with a broken foot, the defensive line was still able to apply enough pressure on the Cardinals quarterback to disrupt their offense.

4) Offensive line still posing some questions: In fairness, Lamar brought a ton of pressure all game, but there were too many times when the offensive line buckled and left Fine scrambling for his life or on his back. North Texas’ offense starts and ends up front. We knew after last year depth along the offensive line was an issue, and while it wasn’t terribly problematic tonight, it will be interesting to see how they hold up against FBS schools. Speaking of which…

5) Let’s talk SMU: The Mean Green got the tune-up game they wanted, and took care of a team they needed to beat. Now the real season for North Texas starts, and it will begin with a road contest at SMU. The Mustangs have had the Mean Green’s number the past two seasons, and haven’t lost to North Texas since 2014. This will be an important game for the Mean Green, not only because its a rivalry, but because of their schedule. North Texas has arguably its toughest game of the season in Week 3, a road game at Big 10 foe Iowa.

Featured image: North Texas senior running back Jeffery Wilson (3) attempts to stiff arm sophomore Caleb Abrom (13). Wilson finished the game with 176 yards on 12 carries. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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