North Texas Tackles SMU This Saturday

North Texas travels to Southern Methodist University to take on the Mustangs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium Saturday September 8, at 7PM. The game will be a rematch from last year's 24-6 North Texas victory in Denton.

North Texas fell behind quick against Oklahoma last week and never recovered as they lost the game by the final score of 79-10. The new spread offense that Head Coach Todd Dodge implemented gained 232 yards through the air, but could only muster 15 on the ground. Quarterbacks Daniel Meager and Giovanni Vizza combined to go 19-for-38 with one touchdown and 3 interceptions.

On the flip side of things, SMU traveled to Texas Tech and also lost control of their game as they lost to Texas Tech 49-9. The key player from the game for the Mustangs was Quarterback Justin Willis as he threw for 138 yards on 15-of-33 and two interceptions, he also led the team with 40 yards rushing. Willis, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year last year will definitely cause problems for the North Texas secondary due to his ability to run and pas. Last week the Mean Green secondary got lit up by Redshirt Freshman Sam Bradford for over 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. Coach Dodge emphasized that his team needs to work on getting their angles and spacing more technically sound this week in practice. The pass rush didn't help out the secondary either as North Texas was unable to reach the quarterback leading to zero sacks.

The offense actually performed well at times, but couldn't seem to put a good drive together and the only touchdown the team mustered was on a 69-yard bomb caught by Casey Fitzgerald who had a career-high seven catches for 126 yards. This week the offensive line hopes to improve on their play last week against a less experienced defensive line. On there radar though is Defensive End Cory Muse, who was a 2nd Team All-Conference pick last year, despite having a knee injury that limited him to 10 games.

One of the bright spots for the team, though, was the kicking game, Junior Truman Spencer who showed why he was a Second Team All-Conference pick last year as he had boomed 10 punts for a 41.2 yard average. Walk-on Freshman Thomas Moreland also got to show his abilities as he nailed his first kick attempt of the year, from 29 yards, and connected on his only extra-point attempt of the day. The Mean Green hope to improve on their return game this week, as many of their drives started at or inside their own 20 yard line.

This game, however, has more riding on it than just "bragging rights" until next year. Both coaches realize that this game is a good opportunity to get back on the right track after stumbling in their first games.

"I'm not worried about revenge," said Coach Bennett, "I just want to become a better football team, and that's what our goal with these players is going to be. This game is about execution and doing the things that you're capable of doing" "Our collective focus for this week is for us to obviously improve on our mistakes," said Coach Dodge. "but to go win a football game."

For Coach Dodge losing is not something he is used to, losing only once in the past five years, and he wants to instill that mentality with his players here at North Texas.

"I just want our kids to understand that losing is not pkay," said Dodge, "It shouldn't feel right, it shouldn't sit right."

North Texas has a chance to pick up their second win playing at SMU and their fifth win overall as they trail the series 27-4-1. SMU's big lead in the series is mostly due to their dominance before 1976, when they lost just one of their 22 meetings.


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