North Texas Daily

Five observations from the Mean Green’s win over FAU

Five observations from the Mean Green’s win over FAU

Five observations from the Mean Green’s win over FAU
November 08
22:06 2014

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

The Mean Green football team did something Saturday night that it hasn’t done since Sept. 20. Win a football game. It was the perfect night to get the 31-10 win over Florida Atlantic University, with it being Homecoming and the 1000th game in program history. It’s been a depressing last few weeks for Mean Green football, but there were definitely positives to take from tonight.

  1. Defense shines: After a rough month of October, the Mean Green defense bounced back in a big way against FAU. The unit held FAU to 197 yards of total offense and had five sacks in the con. All things considered, the defense looked more locked in than it has in weeks, and that bodes well for the last few games of the season.
  2. Dual quarterbacks: Junior Andrew McNulty got his third straight start at quarterback Saturday night and didn’t disappoint. McNulty completed 12 of 16 passes for 107 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also had one rushing touchdown in the win. The numbers aren’t flashy, but it seems like McNulty has really settled into the offense and is more comfortable with his receivers. The interesting part of the night was that redshirt freshman Dajon Williams took a few snaps under center. McNulty clearly gives the Mean Green the best chance to win games because of his experience and football IQ, but head coach Dan McCarney has said that Williams has the most talent out of all of their quarterbacks. McNulty will surely be the starter going into the final games of the season, but don’t be surprised if Williams gets a few spot snaps in certain situations since the coaching staff still needs to figure out what they have in him.
  3. Running game: The North Texas running game was supposed to be one of the strengths of this team coming into the season, especially with a veteran offensive line in front of them. However, coming into tonight, the team was a pedestrian seventh in Conference USA in rushing offense. Tonight, the Mean Green had 235 rushing yards on 52 attempts with junior running back Antoinne Jimmerson leading the charge with 111 yards and one touchdown. It does help that the Owls came in with the third worst rushing defense in C-USA, but if the Mean Green want any of chance of reaching six wins, then getting the running game going is crucial.
  4. Students drive attendance: Official attendance for tonight’s game was 20,957. Not great, but certainly not bad either considering it was Homecoming. The most impressive part of the crowd was by far the students, who came wearing black to “black out Apogee” and were as loud as I’ve heard them all year. The great home field advantage that McCarney has built during his Mean Green tenure has taken a step back this season, but it is good to see North Texas build up at least a little momentum at home as the season winds down.
  5. Playing for pride: The Mean Green is now 3-6 on the year, and still needs to win its final three games of the season to be bowl eligible for the second straight year. That’s a tall task considering two of those final three games are on the road. North Texas is probably in a hole that is too deep to get out of, but that clearly doesn’t matter to McCarney and his squad. They played extremely hard tonight and it showed as FAU was physically outmatched. Every game is basically do-or-die for this team, and it’s clear that they won’t be quitting anytime soon.

Featured Image: Junior tight end Marcus Smith hauls in a leaping catch for a touchdown against Florida Atlantic University Saturday night at Apogee Stadium Photo by Adrian Warfield – Staff Photographers

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