The University of North Texas Mean Green have flipped the script of previous seasons. Heading in to its matchup against the University of Ohio, UNT is coming off one of the biggest victories margins since head coach Dan McCarney took over two years ago.
McCarney has taken on big events and celebrations since joining the Mean Green including the opening of Apogee Stadium, entrance into Conference USA and the 100-year celebration of the UNT football program all in his short stay with the team.
A 40-6 victory over the University of Idaho Vandals this past Saturday is an indication that the team is moving in the right direction, but hopefully the confidence isn’t over flowing because when teams get cocky mistakes are made.
The last couple of years UNT has had a problem with playing down to its opponent. With the Vandals taking refuge at the bottom of the Division I cellar this year, is nice to see a team like the Mean Green defeat a team that is supposed to be easily defeated.
Before the game, I figured that McCarney made a mistake starting quarterback Derek Thompson over the freshman sensation Dajon Williams.
Around the UNT fan base, Thompson is not their favorite quarterback to wear the Mean Green colors. Too many bonehead plays and failed comebacks over the last couple of years didn’t get him in the good graces of the student body and loyal fans.
To be fair, he has had to play second fiddle on the offense to now current Dallas Cowboy Lance Dunbar and the shifty senior receiver Brelan Chancellor since he first win the starting job in 2011.
To my surprise, Thompson shined bright in the victory over Idaho. Chancellor over shined him in this game as well but in all fairness when the ball is in his hands he’s a top tier play maker. You can’t argue with a six catches for 135 yards, a 85 yard touchdown reception and 111 yards on three punt returns. Giving Thompson the credit he deserves, he had one of the better week one performances for a quarterback in the nation.
Thompson ended the game 23 for 27 with 349 yards and two touchdowns. Keep in mind, after the final score of the game with 11:17 left the game in the fourth quarter Thompson came out of the game so Williams could get his first look at college football. The true freshman performed well himself connecting on five passes on six attempts for 55 yards.
Considering the following, there’s a good reason for the Mean Green to have confidence heading into this Saturdays game against the Ohio.
Being around the UNT fan base for a little over three years now, the reactions to hype around its teams is a tad on the pessimistic side. Who would blame them, it seems that last couple of years the football and basketball programs has been sponsored by Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong).
Idaho was beaten badly because it’s a bad team. It was as much as a tune up game that you can get for the Mean Green. They paid the Vandals 410,000 dollars to come visit Denton to lose in week one and a well spent 410,000 dollars it was indeed.
UNT’s schedule still has four teams coming off bowl victories last year, two of them in the next three games.
Because the Mean Green are not going to break into the top 50 anytime soon, the Conference USA games are much more valued than the non-conference match ups. With six bowl game opportunities in C-USA, it is not tough to see the heightened emphasis put on games when Oct. 5 comes around. With that being said they still need six wins to have a chance at a bowl game this year.
Enjoy the feeling right now UNT fans because September is going to be a lonely month for the win column.
It’s not because the Mean Green are going to be a bad team this year because it’s quite the opposite. This is the best team assembled by the Mean Green in since former head coach Todd Dodge allowed the team to implode. The loss column this year is going to be reflective of the level of talent UNT will have to face, not because of the team’s abilities.
The schedule will lighten up my mid-Octctober and wins would likely start piling up, but as for now prepare for a quick slap back to reality.
To end on a good note, the Mean Green has adopted some form of home field advantage. Apogee Stadium and McCarney became a part of UNT history at the same time. Since then the Mean Green are 8-4 at home and there are five more home games left on the schedule.