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Five observations from North Texas vs. UAB: offense and special teams come up big for Mean Green

Five observations from North Texas vs. UAB: offense and special teams come up big for Mean Green

North Texas celebrates after a 47-yard touchdown reception from Jalen Guyton in the first half of Saturday's 46-43 win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Colin Mitchell

Five observations from North Texas vs. UAB: offense and special teams come up big for Mean Green
September 23
23:54 2017

1. Mr. Reliable 

Trevor Moore is an often overlooked part of the North Texas roster, but his play Saturday is what made the difference in the Mean Green’s 46-43 win. Moore went 4-for-4 on field goals in the game, including the game-winner from 22 yards out. Moore was 9-for-13 as a junior last season and is 6-for-7 to begin the season this year. He gives the Mean Green an almost guaranteed three points from anywhere inside 40 yards, and he was the hero in the win over UAB after freshman Evan Johnson set the team up with tremendous field position on the team’s final kickoff return.

2. Jeffery Wilson continues to shine

If it wasn’t abundantly clear already, Jeffery Wilson is a star. After rushing for 95 yards against a Power Five opponent in Iowa last week, Wilson exploded for 211 yards and a touchdown Saturday to spark the Mean Green’s win over UAB in the Conference USA opener. Wilson looked explosive from the opening snap, using his unique combination of speed and power to run all over the Blazers’ defense. UAB was billed out to be the dominant rushing team in this game, but Wilson stepped up to the plate and did everything in his power to get North Texas off to a 1-0 start in C-USA. He set a new season-high and moved into fifth in program history in rushing, surpassing former Mean Green great Kevin Galbreath in the process. If Wilson stays healthy, this offense will continue to shine moving forward.

3. Front seven impresses

UAB came into Apogee Stadium averaging more than 254 yards per game on the ground, and the Blazers rushed for at least 169 yards in each game. The offense ranked as the No. 16 rushing attack in the country and North Texas knew it had to slow down running back Spencer Brown and quarterback A.J. Erdely. The Mean Green did just that and more, completely bottling up the UAB run game from start to finish. The Blazers averaged just 2.1 yards per carry on the ground, finishing with a total of 74 yards rushing in the loss. North Texas got a big game from Joshua Wheeler, who led the way with five tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss while making a big impact in the backfield. Brandon Garner and Sid Moore added two TFL each, and E.J. Ejiya had a team-high nine tackles as the Mean Green controlled the battle in the trenches.

4. Jalen Guyton will be trouble for opposing secondaries in Conference USA

After joining North Texas in the spring, Jalen Guyton has lived up to the hype surrounding his arrival time and time again. Guyton hauled in a circus catch early in the win Saturday night, going up over a UAB defender and coming down with a pass from Fine before running through two defenders and twisting his way into the end zone for a 47-yard score. Guyton has four touchdowns through four games and has brought an entirely new threat to the Mean Green offensive attack. As a former blue-chip recruit who spent time with Notre Dame as a freshman, Guyton has wasted no time proving he is worthy of the No. 1 receiver role with North Texas. He will continue to torch opposing defenses throughout the year.

5. Secondary struggles

The North Texas secondary was believed to be the strongest unit on the team heading into the season, with both cornerback Nate Brooks and safety Kishawn McClain named to the preseason Conference USA squad. McClain, who came up with an interception Saturday, has lived up to the hype. But Brooks and fellow corner Kemon Hall have both struggled, with Brooks allowing two long touchdown passes after biting on double-moves against UAB. The poor play in the secondary is what allowed the Blazers to stay in the game, and is something the Mean Green will have to address moving forward. Eric Jenkins came off the bench at times to replace both Hall and Brooks, but the damage was done. UAB threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

Featured Image: North Texas celebrates after a 47-yard touchdown reception from Jalen Guyton in the first half of Saturday’s 46-43 win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Brady Keane

Brady Keane

Brady Keane is the Sports Editor of the North Texas Daily. He previously served as Deputy Sports Editor (Jan. 2017-May 2017) and as a Staff Writer (Aug. 2015-May 2016).

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