North Texas Daily

Five observations from Southern Miss vs. North Texas

Five observations from Southern Miss vs. North Texas

Senior quarterback Alec Morris (5) throws the ball against Southern Miss. Morris started his first game since playing the season opener against SMU. Colin Mitchell

Five observations from Southern Miss vs. North Texas
November 19
21:25 2016

1) Trick plays galore: Two trick plays were the highlight of the first half and jump-started the North Texas offense. With the game still scoreless. the Mean Green came out in a wildcat and junior running back Andrew Tucker took the snap, flipped it to senior wide receiver Kenny Buyers, who flipped it back to graduate quarterback Alec Morris. With no one covering him, Morris heaved the ball downfield to Buyers for a 49-yard completion.

Later in the quarter, North Texas tried a flea flicker, and with the Southern Miss defense collapsed on the run, Morris found a streaking Turner Smiley for a 55-yard touchdown pass to put the Mean Green up 17-0.

The Golden Eagles eventually got in on the fun before the half ended with a trick play of their own in the form of a double pass that went for 47 yards. A few plays later, Southern Miss punched it into the endzone to get on the board before halftime.

2) Tale of two halves (almost): North Texas dominated most of the first half, and was up 20-0 late in the second quarter. That’s when the wheels came off. The Golden Eagles scored 23 unanswered points and dominated the third quarter through early in the fourth quarter to put the Mean Green in a bleak position. But with their season on the line and down three points, North Texas took control of the game again and dominated when it mattered most — the last minutes of the game.

Junior running back Willy Ivery (29) runs the ball against Southern Miss. Colin Mitchell

Junior running back Willy Ivery (29) runs the ball against Southern Miss. Colin Mitchell

3) Backups come up big: With freshman quarterback Mason Fine sidelined with a sprained A/C joint in his throwing shoulder, Morris gave the team and ample and experienced backup. Although he did not have gaudy numbers, Morris managed the game and put the team in a position to win.  He finished 14-of-29 for 267 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Also out due to injury was junior running back Jeffery Wilson, who had knee surgery last week. In his place was junior running back Willy Ivery, who had a great game with 111 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.

4) Program defining win: After going up 20-0, many thought Southern Miss would fold tent and check out. They didn’t. Instead, they continued to come at North Texas, who got complacent with its lead. As a result, the Golden Eagles rattled off 23 unanswered points and took the lead 23-20 early in the fourth quarter. But the Mean Green punched back. On the ensuing drive, North Texas marched into the endzone to re-take the lead, and they never relinquished it. With their bowl hopes hanging in the balance, the Mean Green never blinked.

5) Bowl hopes still alive: Speaking of bowl hopes, the Mean Green are now in prime position to go bowling. After three consecutive losses to UTSA, Louisiana Tech and Western Kentucky, some people questioned whether or not North Texas would be able to bounce back. With the win over Southern Miss, the Mean Green move to 5-6 and will have a play-in game Saturday against UTEP. It’s pretty simple. Win, and North Texas is in a bowl game.

Featured Image: Senior quarterback Alec Morris (5) throws the ball against Southern Miss. Morris started his first game since playing the season opener against Southern Methodist University. 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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