North Texas Daily

ROUNDTABLE: What to expect from football after a 1-1 start

ROUNDTABLE: What to expect from football after a 1-1 start

ROUNDTABLE: What to expect from football after a 1-1 start
September 17
17:00 2021

North Texas football season has what could be described as a grey season through two weeks. After a 44-14 win over Northwestern State University in week one, the offense hit a wall against Southern Methodist University the following week, losing 35-12. While the defense held the Mustangs to seven points in the first half, it began to fall apart in the second. In addition, all of the offense’s points came in the first half – they were completely shut out in the second half. Even with a chance to beat SMU and start 2-0 for the first time since 2018, North Texas squandered their opportunity.

With the Conference USA opener looming, the North Texas Daily sports staff convened to discuss what their expectations are for the remainder of the season.

“The first two games of the season have shown us two very different sides of North Texas. Against Northwestern State we saw a potentially explosive offense centered around DeAndre Torrey but a suspiciously porous defense. That defense, however, proved surprisingly sturdy against SMU, but fell apart as Jace Ruder and the offense failed to capitalize on their red-zone chances. I believe the offense will pick back up – the question is can the defense sustain the form they showed against the Mustangs?”

-Caleb Yum, sports editor

“Now is not time to press the panic button. Although SMU beat North Texas handily 35-12, the team put up a stronger fight than they have in recent years. Seth Littrell and the team have emphasized cleaning up mistakes, which is something that the team needs to do before Saturday’s C-USA opener versus the University of Alabama Birmingham. If the Mean Green can put up the turnover numbers (three in the first half) that they did against SMU during C-USA play, there is plenty of reason to believe the team is a legitimate West contender. The receiving corps–namely Roderic Burns and Jyaire Shorter – has been good following the exit of Jaelon Darden, and Jace Ruder has shown flashes. I believe the Mean Green will pull off an 8-4 season.”

-Reed Smith, senior sports writer

“This Mean Green team that wants to prove they are not rock bottom in the FBS. They finished 4-6 last year, going 3-4 in conference play. One of the biggest storylines to follow this season is how much different this North Texas defense is from last season, where they finished second to last in the entire FBS in points given up per game. If the Mean Green want to improve off last season, they will have to tighten up their defense. With a complete team and an improved secondary, the Mean Green has the potential to finish 7-5 overall this season.”

-Milo Mihaltses, “Milo’s Take” writer

“This Mean Green team looks a lot different than recent Littrell-led teams. The days of Mason Fine and Jaelon Darden putting up absurd passing numbers are over. The team has made a considerable effort this year to play to their strengths and run the football–letting senior running back DeAndre Torrey carry the offensive load. Defensively, the Mean Green struggled to be consistent in both the running game and the passing game over the past few years. If the defense can get timely turnovers and prevent big plays and get consistent quarterback play, this team can go further than many expect.”

-Paul Witwer, sports writer

“I think football’s key to success this upcoming season is defense. The offense has been phenomenal the last couple of years, but their defense lags behind. Last year, North Texas ranked last in yards and points given up per game. A new defensive coordinator in Phil Bennett may be the key to a successful season. My prediction for the Mean Green is a six-win season powered by an electric passing and running combo, with a middle-of-the-pack defense.”

-Tyler Luker, sports writer

“Football will have a good season. They have a lot of talent in the quarterback room. Ruder is accurate and has a good arm. Overall, the offense will be decent this year with the run game being key. On the defensive side, I think they will be better than last year thanks to Phil Bennett.

-Lidianna Reyes, sports writer

“I think this season will be dependent on Jace Ruder and how he controls the offense. DeAndre Torrey will need a great O-line that can open up holes in the run game. The receivers will need to be productive on every single down and the defense needs to maintain a low score from the opposing offense every weekend.”

-Kevin Walker, sports writer

“If the offensive line can’t fix their issues with snap count, high snaps, and missed reads the Mean Green will be in for a rude awakening in conference play. The University of Texas-El Paso put up a great defensive battle against Boise State University, the University of Texas-San Antonio put on a strong offensive performance against the University of Illinois. If the offensive line can fix their mistakes and buy the defense some time to rest and last through garbage time, they can change their season entirely by a promising showing by Ruder–who was much more confident in throwing even under pressure.”

-Chris Sotello, sports writer

Featured Image:Sophomore quarterback Jace Ruder prepares to pass the ball against Northwestern State on Sept. 4, 2021.Photo by Zachary Thomas

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

sports editor

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