Mean Green soars into Bowl season against Utah State

Mean Green soars into Bowl season against Utah State

Mean Green soars into Bowl season against Utah State
December 06
00:32 2018

The North Texas Mean Green (9-3, 5-3 Conference USA) were invited to compete in the 2018 New Mexico Bowl against the Utah State Aggies (10-2, Mountain West 7-1) on Dec. 15th. The game will be aired on ESPN and played at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 1 p.m. CST.

This will be North Texas’ third straight season to be invited to a bowl game under head coach Seth Littrell. Littrell is 0-2 in bowl games as a head coach, and he will look to get the first bowl game win of his career.

Prior to the announcement of the bowl game, speculation began about whether or not Littrell will be offered the opportunity to join a Power Five program, specifically Kansas State after long-time head coach Bill Snyder retired. Littrell was not available for comment.

North Texas aims to block out all the surrounding narratives and try to win their first bowl game since 2013. The Mean Green are 2-7 all-time in bowl games as a football program.

“I think we’re going to have tremendous momentum coming into this game after two huge wins to end the season, said Wren Baker, Vice President and Director of Athletics. “It would be icing on the cake [to beat Utah State]. Its importance would help continue to build this program into something truly special.”

Utah State is coming into this game on a 10-game win streak since starting the season 0-2. The Aggies have had offensive success this year as they are currently averaging 47.2 points per game and 492.5 total offensive yards per game.

The quarterback numbers for this game between the Mean Green and the Aggies are quite similar.

Sophomore Utah State quarterback Jordan Love has thrown for 3,208 yards on the season, 28 touchdowns and five interceptions. Love finished the regular season with a 65.8 completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 159.9.

Junior North Texas quarterback Mason Fine finished the season throwing for a total of 3,734 yards, five interceptions and 27 touchdowns. Fine finished with an accumulated quarterback rating of 150.5 and a completion percentage of 64.6.

“Our main goal here is to win a bowl game, and that’s something that’s eluded me as well as the team these past two years,” Fine said, “It’s really cut deep, and it would be really nice to cap off this season with a bowl win.”

North Texas’ air raid offense is ranked No. 17 in the nation in total offense and ranked No. 1 in conference play for total offense. The Mean Green are averaging 473 yards per game and scoring 36.4 points per game. They will look to play their best football against a Utah State team that has allowed 385 total yards a game, of which 240.1 yards came through the air. They have also accumulated a total of 18 interceptions on the year and allowed opposing passers to complete 53.9 percent of their passes.

Meanwhile, the Aggies will be looking to get their first bowl win since 2014, which was also at the New Mexico Bowl. Utah State is slated to play with Frank Maile at the helm as interim head coach since former Aggie head coach Matt Wells was hired for the Texas Tech head coaching vacancy. The Aggies were 2-2 in bowl games under Wells.

In the 2017 season, the Mean Green were ranked No. 97 in the nation defensively, allowing 431 yards per game. This season, they are ranked No. 42 defensively and are allowing 360 yards per game. They have also improved from allowing 33.8 points per game in 2017 to holding opposing teams to 21 points per game this season. The North Texas defense has held opposing passers to a 53.4 completion percentage. They also have amassed a total of 17 interceptions on the season which is tied for second in the nation.

“That’s the first thing [Littrell] told me when he recruited me in junior college — that we were going to win a bowl game, and that was the number one mission,” senior linebacker E.J. Ejiya said. “It’s what we want to do for our last ride out: win a bowl game in the Littrell Era.”

Featured Image: North Texas has been invited to compete against Utah State in the 2018 New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15. Sarah Shaw

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Matthew Suarez

Matthew Suarez

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1 Comment

  1. Guido
    Guido December 06, 13:37

    I am seeing some reports that Fine is OUT for New Mexico Bowl, is this true?

    Reply to this comment

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