North Texas football not satisfied with performance in first game

North Texas football not satisfied with performance in first game

Junior runningback Jeffrey Wilson (26), gets wrapped up and pushed out of bounds by Southern Methodist University's freshman linebacker Blake Carlisle (13) Saturday, Sept. 3 at Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX. The University of North Texas lost to SMU 34-21. Tomas Gonzalez

North Texas football not satisfied with performance in first game
September 03
22:57 2016

Disappointment was served under the lights of Apogee Stadium on Saturday night.

Head coach Seth Littrell was not pleased with his team’s performance, a 34-21 defeat at the hands of Southern Methodist University.

“I think we played awful, to be honest with you,” Littrell said. “That’s not our standards. We have higher expectations.”

Littrell was not alone. Sophomore wide receiver Terian Goree thought he and his teammates did not play their best.

“We played terrible and we lost 34-21,” Goree said. “We didn’t play up to our potential. Not even close. We had scrimmages that were better than that.”

The Mean Green offense struggled with the passing game, as senior quarterback Alec Morris threw 24 for 39 for 237 yards and two touchdowns. But Morris had three interceptions and was on his back plenty, courtesy of SMU’s relentless pass rush.

In the 4th quarter, UNT offense struggles to keep the Mustangs at bay, opening Senior Quarterback Alec Morris up for a tackle. Katie Jenkins

In the 4th quarter, UNT offense struggles to keep the Mustangs at bay, opening UNT senior quarterback Alec Morris up for a tackle by Justin Lawler, SMU junior defensive end. Katie Jenkins

Morris was later replaced by freshman quarterback Mason Fine in a somewhat unexpected decision, given the possibility Fine could be redshirted this year.

“It’s hard to get through the season with one quarterback,” Littrell said. “We wanted to get the jitters out in this first game. You could tell he was having fun, but he’s got a ways to go.”

Fine led an 80-yard, 11-play drive capped by an 11-yard Jeffrey Wilson touchdown run. Wilson finished with 15 rushes for 86 yards and a touchdown. He also caught six passes for 55 yards.

Wilson, a junior, echoed the thoughts of his coach and teammate.

“It’s the first game for everybody,” Wilson said. “We still got the rest of the season to go, and a lot of improving to go.”

On the defense, the Mean Green got torched for 572 yards. Senior SMU running back Matt Davis burned North Texas on the ground with 91 yards on 14 rushes. He was 8 for 17 for 155 yards and one touchdown.

Big plays were the Mean Green’s undoing. SMU scored on three plays that were 40 yards or more. The longest was an 88-yard touchdown pass that sophomore Courtland Sutton took to the house off the arm of freshman SMU quarterback Ben Hicks.

“They obviously made more plays than we did,” Littrell said. “We can’t get beat in an explosive play battle like that. I haven’t seen the film yet on defense, but those guys made some great plays down the field. We can’t allow that to happen. We’ve got to clean up our eyes on defense and make sure we’re playing more disciplined and together.”

One of the biggest gut punches came late in the first half, when SMU was faced with a 3rd and 45 from the North Texas 46. After eluding the rush, Davis threw a prayer to the end zone that Sutton hauled in. It was one of eight third down conversions by the Mustangs.

Despite the loss, morale in the locker room was not doom and gloom. Instead, they are looking at week two as a new opportunity.

“I’m telling y’all, we’re going to win,” Goree said.

Featured Image: Junior runningback Jeffrey Wilson (26), gets wrapped up and pushed out of bounds by Southern Methodist University’s freshman linebacker Blake Carlisle (13) Saturday, Sept. 3 at Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX. The University of North Texas lost to SMU 34-21. Tomas Gonzalez

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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