North Texas Daily

North Texas defense shredded in loss to Louisiana Tech

North Texas defense shredded in loss to Louisiana Tech

November 05
21:56 2016

Down seven to 20-point favorite Louisiana Tech University, North Texas was looking for a stop midway through the second quarter.

Instead, they received a proverbial body blow to their defense and morale.

Bulldogs senior quarterback Ryan Higgins gained 10 yards on a read option and, at the end of the run, slid to avoid oncoming Mean Green defensive back Kishawn McClain. As he slid, McClain plunged into Higgins, leading with his shoulder and head.

The result was a 15-yard penalty and an ejection for McClain, one of the leaders of the defense.

Scoring on the drive, and emphatically pushing the lead to 14, Louisiana Tech was able to keep its foot on the gas for the remainder of the game, which dealt a huge blow to North Texas’ bowl hopes.

“We tried to do some different things defensively,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “But they stretch you out schematically and they executed very well. Against a team like that you have to do different things or they’ll hurt you.”

The defense had arguably its toughest game of the season, allowing 45 points — the most an opponent has scored this year. They gave up a score in five of their six defensive possessions in the first half, with the only stop coming via an interception. In short, the defense was repeatedly torched all night.

North Texas freshman defensive back Khairi Muhammad (4) tackles junior Louisiana Tech running back Jarred Craft (3). Colin Mitchell

North Texas freshman defensive back Khairi Muhammad (4) tackles junior Louisiana Tech running back Jarred Craft (3). Colin Mitchell

The best offense in Conference USA flexed its muscles, racking up 479 total yards of offense and forcing the Mean Green into several penalties that came back to bite them.

“We can play a lot better, especially in the back end,” senior defensive back Chad Davis said. “We had some injuries and younger guys had to step up. We just fell short today.”

Offensively, the Mean Green were able to keep pace with the Bulldog’s high-powered offense for most of the first half.

But eventually, the defensive struggles got the better of them.

Higgins and company converted four of five third downs in the first half, a few of them coming on defensive penalties from North Texas. The Mean Green had nine penalties for 84 yards in the first 30 minutes while Louisiana Tech had merely three for 30 yards in the entire game.

“Penalties will kill you,” Littrell said. “We have to do a better job and do a better job of being more disciplined during the week. You have to trust your technique, do your job and be disciplined.”

After turning the ball over three times last week, freshman quarterback Mason Fine bounced back, completing 23-of-34 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown. Unfortunately for the Mean Green, he was not enough, as the Bulldogs’ offense continued to overmatch the defense.

And while this was not an acceptable performance from the defense by their standards, they insist they will learn and grow from it.

With three games left and two wins needed to reach a bowl game, the defense will face an uphill battle in order to reach the postseason.

“We learned a lot from this week,” senior defensive back James Gray said. “We’ll get in the film [room] tomorrow and get better.”

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore defensive back Ashton Preston (27) intercepts Louisiana Tech. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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2 Comments

  1. Kennel Up
    Kennel Up November 06, 11:53

    207 yards passing will not get it done against the Hilltoppers. Time for Alec Morris to step in.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ralph
      Ralph November 07, 04:39

      Agree. We have a QB with two national championship rings sitting on the bench while the offense sputters. The competition have figured out Wilson. The coaches should think about how the treatment of Morris will impact recruiting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

      Reply to this comment

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