A Day-After Look At North Texas-Southern Miss
Weekly Feature Looking Back And Looking Ahead At North Texas Football
DENTON -- Each week at MeanGreenSports.com, after the dust has settled, we take a look back at the football team's previous matchup and look ahead to what it means for the team and program moving forward. Here are some of our thoughts on North Texas-Southern Miss:
North Texas returned to conference play, traveling to face a much-improved Southern Miss team on the road in Hattiesburg. Many of the same concerns that plagued the first three games of the season reappeared, as North Texas fell to 0-4 on the season with a 49-14 loss to Southern Miss.
One of the bright spots for the Mean Green was the play of sophomore running back Jeffrey Wilson, who has led a revamped ground game over the last two weeks. He rushed for a career-high 136 yards on 22 carries, his second 100-yard rushing game, and as a team, North Texas finished with a season-high 185 yards on 49 carries. Wilson average more than six yards per carry and was responsible for five of the team’s seven rushing plays of 10 yards or more. If he had enough games played and attempts to qualify, he would be the league’s third-leading rusher.
Despite the play of Wilson and the general success on the ground, North Texas unable to find sustained consistency on the offensive side of the ball. The Mean Green converted just five of 17 third-down opportunities and scored just seven points on three trips to the red zone. And the offensive line, while successful in the ground game, was less successful in the passing game, contributing to a season-high five sacks allowed on the night.
Senior wide receiver Carlos Harris continues to be a model of consistency for the Mean Green, hauling in nine passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. For the season, he ranks fourth in the league in receptions per game (6.8) and third in receiving yards per game (103.0). He’s also one of just 12 players nationally to rank in the top 20 in both of those statistical categories.
On the defensive side of the ball, facing one of the team’s top aerial attacks, North Texas was unable to slow down the Southern Miss ground game, allowing 7.5 yards per rush, the highest average per rush by any Mean Green opponent this season. Whether though the air or on the ground, Southern Miss averaged more than eight yards per play and also made the most of their scoring opportunities, scoring touchdowns on all six of their appearances in the red zone. And for the second time this season, North Texas failed to force a turnover, and for the entire season, they have yet to intercept a pass.
Next up for North Texas is a homecoming date with Portland State on Saturday. Ranked and unbeaten entering the weekend, Portland State suffered its first defeat of the season, coming up short, 19-17, in a battle with Big Sky Conference foe North Dakota. The Vikings will be in search of their second FBS scalp of the season, having knocked off Washington State in their season opener this season.