North Texas Daily

Five observations from the Mean Green win over SMU

Five observations from the Mean Green win over SMU

Five observations from the Mean Green win over SMU
September 06
18:38 2014

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

The Mean Green football team came out firing on all cylinders as they dismantled the SMU Mustangs 43-6 to earn their first win of the season. This marks the fifth all time win for the Mean Green against the Mustangs and there were a ton of positives to take from this game.

1. Hard nosed defense: If this game proved anything, it’s that the Mean Green’s defensive performance in the first half against the University of Texas wasn’t a fluke. This defense is one of the best in Conference USA even without Zach Orr and Marcus Trice. Against SMU, the Mean Green defense came up with three sacks, two interceptions, three fumbles and a touchdown. On the season, the Mean Green has scored two defensive touchdowns. They also held SMU to 1-11 on third down conversions. This is a physical defense that isn’t afraid hit hard. They scramble all over the field and have a knack for forcing turnovers. A great defense is a characteristic of a Dan McCarney coached team, and don’t be surprised if they are near the top of major C-USA defensive statistics by the end of the season.

2. Smash mouth running game: The other big characteristic of a McCarney team is a power running game, and that’s exactly what the Mean Green showcased on Saturday afternoon. They ran the ball 55 times for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Senior running back Reggie Pegram led the charge with 21 carries for 81 yards and touchdown. SMU ran the ball 14 times for eight yards. The Mean Green clearly gave the Mustangs fits with their power running game, and no matter how a game is going McCarney has shown he won’t abandon it.

3. Better quarterback play: UNT’s quarterback play last week was a disaster to say the least, but things improved significantly on Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Josh Greer got the start again and went 9-12 for 86 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The numbers weren’t flashy, but Greer took care of the ball and took what the defense gave him. The offensive line around Greer played better as well, only allowing one sack compared to four from last week.

4. Special teams shines: While a lot of the attention for today’s win will go to the defense, the special teams unit of the Mean Green deserves its share of the credit. True freshman kicker Trevor Moore went 5-5 on field goal attempts. Punter Blake Macek had two punts that went for an average of 32.5 yards, while punter Eric Keena had two punts that went for an average of 46 yards. SMU consistently began drives deep in their own territory, which helped the Mean Green defense have a phenomenal game. The special teams unit also recovered a fumble on an SMU punt return in the fourth quarter that helped set up UNT’s final touchdown of the day.

5. Crowd was good, could have been better: The official attendance for the game was 22,398, which is the fourth largest crowd ever at Apogee Stadium. While it was a good crowd, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I surely thought there would be at least 25,000 people in the crowd for UNT’s home opener, and for the first game that Apogee would sell alcohol. The student section seemed completely full, but there were still plenty of empty seats elsewhere in the stadium. The Mean Green has built quite a home field advantage at Apogee Stadium, but it could be even better if 30,000 or more fans come out.

Featured Image: Senior running back Reggie Pegram breaks through a pile of Southern Methodist University defenders on Saturday during UNT’s first home game. The Mean Green pummeled the SMU Mustangs 43 to 6. Photo by Ryan Vance – Staff Photographer 

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