Chances are most have you haven’t seen much or any of North Texas football this season. I popped some popcorn and grabbed a cold beverage last night and went through their game against Iowa this past Saturday.
Iowa pulled away in this game very late by a final score of 31-14, dropping the Mean Green to 1-2 on the season. Let’s have a look at some of the key plays that has me believing North Texas is the best team UAB has seen early in the season.
Right out of the gate Iowa drives it down their throat and seemingly goes up 7-0 without breaking much of a sweat. Upon further review, the Iowa player fumbled the ball into the end zone, which resulted in a touch back and North Texas got the ball on the 20. Crisis number one averted.
North Texas gets the ball and puts together a string of low percentage passes together, which gets them to around midfield. This is where Conference USA’s leading rusher does them dirty.
Wilson is the real deal folks. He’s strong, shifty and has fantastic vision.
Iowa gets back the football now down 7-0 after just minutes ago thinking they were on the right side of that score. On this Hawkeye drive North Texas’ stud linebacker E.J. Ejiya gets some great pressure and puts Iowa in third-and-long.
Unfortunately for North Texas, their blitz gets exposed on the next play and Iowa scores on a 70 yard wheel route to their running back. But wait, there is more.
The Iowa player high steps before he gets into the end zone resulting in a unsportsmanlike penalty and the touchdown gets taken back. Crisis number two averted.
Iowa maintains the ball and ultimately continues their drive down the field and scores to tie it up 7-7. North Texas had some solid moments on defense as you’ll see below, but couldn’t quite stop their run game in the red zone.
North Texas squanders the following drive and Iowa is back in business and driving. The Mean Green’s defense steps up and comes up with a big stop on third-and-four.
On the following drive North Texas’ quarterback Mason Fine makes a heck of a throw on second down. Up to this point Fine had aired it out on long balls like this four other times but failed to make a completion. Fine does not shy away from the deep ball.
North Texas fails to score on that drive and Iowa gets a field goal on the following. A lot of clock is chewed up in the interim.
On the final drive for the Mean Green in the first half their backup quarterback throws a dart for a touchdown giving North Texas a 14-10 lead at the half. (Note: I thought it was Fine originally on this play. He was out for a couple of plays because of an injury)
The second half gets going and it’s apparent early North Texas isn’t going to go away quietly. Mason Fine really starts to settle in and makes play after play with his feet outside of the pocket. He is super accurate on the run.
Despite some solid drives in the third and fourth quarters, neither team is able to put points on the board. Finally, with a little over eight minutes left in the game Iowa imposes their will behind the running game and double tight end sets. It took Iowa three tries within the five yard line to punch this ball in. North Texas looked very strong against a huge Iowa line.
Iowa goes up 24-14 at this point and North Texas finally runs out of steam. The Hawkeyes would go on to put together a lengthy time consuming final drive that gave them the 31-14 win at the final horn.