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RECAP: North Texas’ record breaking offensive output upends Middle Tennessee on the road

RECAP: North Texas’ record breaking offensive output upends Middle Tennessee on the road

RECAP: North Texas’ record breaking offensive output upends Middle Tennessee on the road
October 18
11:34 2020

For the second time of the season, North Texas (2-3, 1-2 Conference USA) broke its own program record with 768 total yards of offense in a single game in Saturday’s 52-35 win over Middle Tennessee (1-5, 1-3 C-USA). Despite turning the ball over three times and committing nine penalties, while trailing 28-14 with less than four minutes until halftime, the Mean Green offense utilized the rushing attack the remainder of the game.

Sophomore quarterback Austin Aune started the game for North Texas but was subsequently replaced after committing the offense’s third turnover in the first quarter. Two of the turnovers came on interceptions and the Middle Tennessee defense stripped the ball on a sack returning it 20 yards for a touchdown.

Aune’s replacement, sophomore quarterback Jason Bean, accounted for 350 yards of total offense (181 yards passing and 169 yards rushing) and five total touchdowns.

“I thought [Bean] came in and stepped up and did a great job,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “[Bean] had a great week of preparation with not only football but also the mental side of things and being prepared to go in there when that time comes. [Bean] showed a lot of maturities this week and I knew going into this game with how they play their safeties and within that match up. Not only did he do a great job running the ball but also made some great throws.”

North Texas came into Saturday’s matchup in polar opposite rankings within its offense and defense among C-USA competition. Offensively North Texas had the No. 1 total offense and passing yards in the conference and second in total rushing yards. On the defensive side of the ball, the Mean Green ranked last in total, scoring, passing and rushing defense.

The Blue Raiders scored 28 points in the first half on 263 total yards. Three of the four touchdowns came from the offense, two courtesy of junior quarterback Asher O’Hara in the air and a 24-yard rush by sophomore receiver DJ England-Chisholm.

Following the second half, North Texas held the Middle Tennessee offense to one touchdown and 169 total yards.

Besides Bean’s offensive production in the second half, North Texas rallied behind senior receiver Jaelon Darden, including senior and junior running backs DeAndre Torrey and Tre Siggers. Darden had 10 receptions for 204 yards and a touchdown, coming from a 55-yard pass by Bean.

Darden fell within the top three in the NCAA FBS leaders in catches, yards and touchdowns entering Saturday’s game.

Torrey rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns, scoring on a 60-yard touchdown in the second quarter. His counterpart in Siggers tallied 101 yards on 14 carries. The two running backs are the first duo since Jeffrey Wilson and current senior running back Nic Smith to have over 100 rushing yards in 2017.

The North Texas offense broke its own record dating back to Sept. 5 when they defeated Houston Baptist 57-31 on 721 yards of total offense. The rushing attack against Middle Tennessee produced 462 yards and the passing accounted for 306 yards.

“I’m really proud of the way we responded this week being able to go out on the road and getting a win,” Littrell said. “These guys overcame a lot and bounced back from the adversity early on to later play a great game. It can definitely be a turning point for us. I know we can have a really good football team but in order to do that it all has to come together and you have to stack some wins on top of each other.”

North Texas lost all six of their road matchups in 2019, earning the program’s first road win since Nov. 24, 2018, when the Mean Green defeated Texas-San Antonio 27-24.

UP NEXT: Following a bye week on Saturday, Oct. 24, North Texas will travel to UTEP (3-2, 0-1 C-USA) on Saturday, Oct. 31. The Miners fell 21-17 to Louisiana Tech (3-2, 2-1 C-USA) on Oct. 10 in their previous game.

Featured Image: Senior wide receiver Jaelon Darden attempts to break a tackle against Charlotte on Oct. 10, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas

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Preston Rios

Preston Rios

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