North Texas Daily

Observations from the Mean Green loss to Southern Miss

Observations from the Mean Green loss to Southern Miss

Observations from the Mean Green loss to Southern Miss
October 18
23:16 2014

Akshay Mirchandani / Sports Editor

The Mean Green football team extended its losing streak to three games with a 30-20 home loss to the University of Southern Mississippi. The Mean Green still doesn’t have a conference win and things seem bleak for North Texas, but there were a few story lines and things to take away. Here are five observations from the loss.

  1. A defensive collapse: For the first portion of the season before the bye-week, the defense showed flashes of potentially becoming a great unit. They weren’t great and had some struggles, but they at least showed potential. But since then, that defense has collapsed. Southern Miss compiled 506 yards of total offense and was 7 of 13 on third down. With the game tied at 20-20 in the third quarter, the Golden Eagles went 94 yards in eight plays for a touchdown after starting on its own 4-yard line, and never gave up the lead afterwards. That is inexcusable for this North Texas defense.
  2. McNulty’s first start: After redshirt freshman quarterback Dajon Williams struggled during his past two starts, junior Andrew McNulty got the starting nod against Southern Miss. McNulty put together a nice day completing 20 of 35 passes for 287 passing yards. Even though he didn’t throw a touchdown pass, it was nice to see McNulty take care of the ball and not turn it over, which is something Williams struggled with. I personally thought McNulty would be the starting quarterback from day one because of his knowledge of the North Texas system. But that wasn’t the case as the Mean Green decided to go with Josh Greer for the starter for the first three games, and turned to Williams for the next three. It’s hard to have a successful year when a team cycles through three quarterbacks within the span of seven games, and it makes me wonder if the Mean Green made a mistake by not starting McNulty all along if they wanted to win now. I agreed with the decision to go with Williams instead of Greer to see what they had in the redshirt freshman, but if the team started McNulty all along it might not have even come to that point.
  3. Carlos Harris shines: Part of McNulty’s success was the career game from junior wide receiver Carlos Harris. Harris had 15 catches for 216 yards, both of which are career highs. Harris has always been a talented receiver, and it was all on display tonight as he was one of the lone bright spots for North Texas. It looks like McNulty and Harris already have great chemistry judging by tonight, and, if McNulty remains the starter, expect that connection to grow even further.
  4. Solid attendance: The official attendance for the game was 19,127, which isn’t good, but also not horrible. As usual, the alumni weren’t out in full force by any stretch, but the student section looked crowded and loud. It’s nice to see at least the students come out, even for a team that has struggled over the past month.
  5. Bowl game not happening: The Mean Green would have to go 4-1 in its final five games to be bowl eligible for the second straight year and “hit six.” Three of those games are on the road against the University of Rice, the University of Texas – San Antonio and the University of Texas – El Paso. Perhaps this team will improve and have a nice last five games of the season, but it’s hard to fathom that they will only lose one game the rest of the way.

Featured Image: Senior defensive back James Jones, left, makes a shoestring tackle on Southern Miss sophomore running back George Payne. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

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