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Mean Green open up season with high expectations against SMU

Michael Barera/Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Mean Green open up season with high expectations against SMU

Is the third time the charm?

Fans of North Texas hope so as their head coach Seth Littrell starts his third season in charge of the Mean Green football team. Coming from a successful stint as offensive coordinator at North Carolina, Littrell took over a team that only won one game in 2015. In just two seasons, he won 14 games, made two bowl appearances and won the Conference USA West Division title last season. Can the Mean Green go for the outright title? They are hoping this is the season the team wins the Conference.

It won’t be easy as the Mean Green open their season at home against rival SMU tomorrow night. North Texas has lost three consecutive times to the Mustangs and none of the games were close. The last time the Mean Green beat SMU was back in 2014. Though SMU will look somewhat different bringing in a new head coach, they are still talented to give UNT some fits.


UNT has an advantage of experience, as they bring back 17 starters from a squad that went 9-5 last season.  One of those starters is quarterback Mason Fine who lit up C-USA last season. Fine threw for 4,052 yards and 31 touchdowns last season.  The success should continue as his top receiving threats in Michael Lawrence, Jalen Guyton and Rico Bussey all return in 2018.

The offense was prolific last season putting up 35.5 points per game and is going to be the strength of this football team going forward. If they are to have any success, it will have to do so with the arm of Mason Fine.

Rushing Problems:

On the downside, UNT faces a big challenge in trying to replace running back Jeffery Wilson, who was fourth in school history in rushing yards. Wilson last season put up 1,215 rushing yards with 16 rushing touchdowns.  According to Brett Vito of the Denton-Record Chronicle, UNT was 8-0 over the last two seasons when Wilson ran for 100 yards, but just 6-13 if he failed to do so.

The job of replacing Wilson’s production goes to Nic Smith.  Smith and the other running backs will have to be very productive to ease the pressure off of Fine.

Defensive Struggles:

Though SMU has gone through a coaching change and some of their star players have left, they still pose a major threat to the Mean Green defense.  It wasn’t pretty last season on defense, especially against the Mustangs.  The defense lacked the ability to stop the big plays and SMU took advantage racking up 54 points in a win last season. Overall, the defense allowed 35 points per game and ranked 111th out of 130.

If this team wants to get to the next level and compete for a conference title and a better bowl game, they need to improve on defense. The offense can’t carry this team alone all season long.


This team is starting to make a lot of people believe in this program again, despite the fall from grace almost three years ago. There is excitement from this team going into this season and the fact that it is returning a lot of the key members of last year’s team bodes well. Though the defense is still a huge question mark, the positives outweigh the negatives with this up and coming team.

The Mean Green will win their opener against SMU, 35 to 28.


Staff writer covering the Dallas Cowboys | A DFW native, EA has grown to love his local teams with a fury. His passion for sports led him to get a degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas. He has aspirations to be a sports writer and radio host. He has articles in multiple publications online, including The Dallas Morning News. He also is a part-time host on 103.3 FM ESPN Dallas' "Game Night" and a co-host on the Internet Radio Show "Best for Business"

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