The Tigers accumulated 566 yards of total offense with the play of first and second string players. Quarterback Matt Flynn and wide receiver Craig Davis, however, stole the spotlight in the game, Flynn for making the most of his opportunity to play and Davis for coming back from numerous injuries to have a stellar game.
This season, the most football Flynn has seen has been from the sidelines. Playing against a relatively easy opponent in North Texas, Flynn knew he would have a chance to see considerable playing time, and he took advantage of his opportunity.
Flynn entered the game at the start of the fourth quarter with a 35-3 lead, but showed no signs of simply running down the clock. He finished completing all seven of his passing attempts for 139 yards and three touchdowns.
On his first play in the game, he threw a play action pass 49 yards to Xavier Carter for a touchdown.
Flynn said the receivers were on a go-route down the field and attributed the success of the play to Carter for finding the hole in the defense's zone coverage.
Flynn said he was unaware as to when he would actually play in the game, but was not nervous once he came on to the field.
Taking more snaps during practice last week helped Flynn to prepare, but he said his playing time and being able to throw big passes taught him more than practice could teach.
"It was a good experience for me, being out there and seeing game speed," he said.
Rather than playing conservative to avoid mistakes, offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher told Flynn to keep the same game plan the offense used with starting quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
Flynn executed that game plan perfectly, connecting on every pass and scoring on almost half of them. His performance earned him praise from his head coach Les Miles.
"I think he went in there and put the ball where he needed to," Miles said, "and may have been the highlight of the game as well as he played."
When asked about being the highlight of the game, Flynn laughed and said his receivers deserved most of the credit for his success.
One receiver in particular demonstrated his physical and mental toughness against North Texas. After suffering ankle and shoulder injuries early in the season and a concussion in the game against Tennessee, Craig Davis came out Saturday night and made big plays for the offense.
He and Russell connected on two big passes that put the Tigers inside the Mean Green five yard line. Davis caught a 15 yard pass on the North Texas four yard line in the second quarter and landed one yard short of the endzone in the third quarter after hauling in a 41 yard strike from Russell.
In his four games this season, Davis had a total of 12 catches for 198 yards, averaging 16.5 yards per catch. He finished the game Saturday with five catches for 97 yards, an average of 19.4 yards per catch.
Despite his big evening, Davis said believes he can improve throughout the season. He has yet to find the endzone this season and wants to finish his receptions with six points.
Even with the room for improvement, Davis was happy to get back on the field and play without injury.
"It feels great just getting back. I just wish wouldn't have gotten hurt," Davis said.
He felt like his injuries have hurt his team by not allowing him to be on the field.
Despite his long list of ailments, Davis said he feels roughly 100 percent, and wants to build upon this game throughout the season.
"I want to follow up each performance with a better performance every week," he said.
Miles said he believes Davis is playing at a level before the injuries and concussion sidelined him.
As a whole, Davis believes he and the rest of the offense executed their plays almost flawlessly. He admitted there were a few mistakes that could have been prevented, but praised the effort he and his teammates exhibited.
"Unfortunately we had one [turnover] tonight, and that was the only bad part about tonight," he said. "But overall I think we did real well."
Russell, Flynn pace Tigers aerial attack
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