North Texas falters in 52-13 loss in New Mexico Bowl

North Texas falters in 52-13 loss in New Mexico Bowl

North Texas players celebrate after senior kicker Cole Hedlund kicked a field goal in a game against Southern Methodist University on Sept. 1 at Apogee Stadium. Sara Carpenter

North Texas falters in 52-13 loss in New Mexico Bowl
December 16
11:59 2018

The North Texas Mean Green lost in the New Mexico Bowl to the Utah State Aggies with a final score of 52-13. North Texas came into Albuquerque with their sights on winning their first bowl game under head coach Seth Littrell.

On the third play of the game, the Aggies scored their first of seven touchdowns on a 72-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Love to Aaren Vaughns.

A first-quarter injury to starting quarterback Mason Fine set the Mean Green offense back, leading to North Texas playing a caravan of quarterbacks to try to find something to beat the Utah State defense. The Mean Green played the trio of redshirt senior Quinn Shanbour and freshmen Jason Bean and Kason Martin during the game.

“When one guy goes down, the next has to step up,” Littrell said.

Before leaving the field to see medical personnel, Fine finished the drive, which resulted in the sole Mean Green score of the first half — a 2-yard run from sophomore running back Deandre Torrey. Littrell confirmed after the game that Fine pulled his hamstring.

North Texas went into the locker room at halftime down 38-7 and without their starting quarterback.

Martin started the second half with a 75-yard touchdown to redshirt junior receiver Jaylon Guyton for the Mean Green’s last trip to the end zone of the game.

“You always gotta stay ready,” Martin said. “You hate to see guys get hurt. With the ideal game, Mason stays in.”

Utah’s State high-tempo offense led to North Texas giving up a season-worst 52 points. Leading up to this game, the Mean Green were the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision that had not trailed by eight points at any time during the season.

The Aggies took advantage of North Texas’ defensive struggles by striking quickly, with four of Utah State’s touchdown drives lasting less than one minute.

“It was just misalignments and miscommunications,” senior cornerback Kemon Hall said.

Inexperience at the quarterback position led to four interceptions, three of which came from Shanbour, who played a majority of the game following an injury to Martin.

The Aggies improved their season record to 11-2 after the win. North Texas finishes the season 9-4, marking their second straight nine-win season just three years after going 1-11 in 2015.

“[We had] way too many mistakes on all three phases,” Littrell said. “We gotta make sure we come back stronger in the offseason and get better.”

Featured Image: File Sara Carpenter

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Jeremy Beadling

Jeremy Beadling

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