North Texas Daily

Football hopes to build on momentum following second win of the season

Football hopes to build on momentum following second win of the season

Football hopes to build on momentum following second win of the season
November 05
13:23 2021

North Texas football travels to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to take on Conference USA rival, the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday afternoon.

Fresh off their first win since Sept. 11, North Texas (2-6, 1-3 C-USA) carries momentum into their game versus Southern Miss (1-7, 0-4 C-USA) for the first time since week two of the season.

“Finally found a way to win, which is huge,” head coach Seth Littrell said at Tuesday’s press conference. “Now we got to build off [the win] and make sure that all the positive things that went throughout that game, we build on.”

As it stands, the all-time series for North Texas and Southern Miss is tied at four. With UNT leaving C-USA in the near future, this game is one of the last chances for them to take a series lead over Southern Miss.

Last season’s matchup saw the Golden Eagles beat the Mean Green by a score of 41-31 at Apogee Stadium. Current North Texas starting quarterback sophomore Austin Aune kept the Mean Green in the game with 339 passing yards and two touchdowns, but North Texas narrowly fell in a 10-point contest.

North Texas won in overtime last weekend versus Rice for their first conference win of the season after three straight conference losses to begin their C-USA campaign. The win was the Mean Green’s first win in an integral six-game stretch in which the Mean Green must win out to gain bowl eligibility.

As for Southern Miss, the season has been one to forget thus far, as the Golden Eagles are 1-7 and were eliminated from bowl-eligibility last weekend with a 35-10 loss to Middle Tennessee University. 

Freshman Jake Lange has taken a majority of starts at quarterback for the Golden Eagles, compiling four touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. Lange took over versus Rice in week five of the season following injuries to Southern Miss’ first three quarterbacks on the depth chart, including starter Trey Lowe III, who hurt his foot against Grambling State in week two.

Freshman running back Frank Gore Jr. has scored only one touchdown on the season for the Golden Eagles, but still leads the team in rushing with 526 yards. Southern Miss has struggled to get on the board this season, only averaging 13.63 points a game while surrendering 29.25 per contest.

North Texas’ defense has seemed to turn a corner late, evident with junior linebacker K.D. Davis, who recorded a career-high 18 tackles, which was good for the most tackles for the Mean Green since 2000. 

Davis said following last Saturday’s game that the team could build off the win.

“Whether we won by six points or three points, it doesn’t matter,” Davis said. “We got to come in, just keep the feeling and keep this chip on our shoulders.”

The running game has woken up late in the season with the Mean Green rushing for 436 yards and six touchdowns late in the last two games. 

Adeyi said that the rotating run-game for North Texas was the key in the team’s second win last weekend.

“We saw that [Rice] couldn’t stop it,” Adeyi said. “We just kept on [rushing], rotating backs, and you know, came away with the dub.”

Saturday’s contest with Southern Miss kicks off at 2:00 p.m. as North Texas attempts to keep their bowl-season hopes alive. 

Featured Image: Running back Isaiah Johnson (23) scores a touchdown at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas on Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Zach Del Bello

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

Senior Sports Writer.

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