UNT will take on Nicholls State at Apogee Stadium this afternoon.
On the surface, this game appears like a clunker. Nicholls competes in the Football Championship Subdivision and might be one of the worst teams in the country at the next step down in terms of divisions in college football. The Colonels are 0-3, lost to Arkansas 73-7 and fell last week to Division II Henderson State 27-10.
Nicholls is a team UNT (or any other major college team for that matter) should flatten without much of a problem.
There is a bit of intrigue when it comes to today’s game because Dajon Williams will make his debut at quarterback today.
UNT dug the redshirt freshman out of mothballs when it fell behind 42-7 to Louisiana Tech in a nationally televised game at Apogee last week. Williams proceeded to lead UNT on a pair of fourth quarter touchdown drives in garbage time.
UNT named Williams its starter on Monday despite the fact he missed a huge chunk of offseason workouts due to injuries and off-the-field issues. We talked a little about the situation in today’s paper.
The question now is if Williams can spark UNT’s offense that has struggled all season following the departure of Heart of Dallas Bowl MVP Derek Thompson. Any reasonable person knew that UNT would miss Thompson, and it has. UNT set a school record for total offense last season with 5,336 total yards and averaged 410.5 yards a game.
There was a ridiculous notion out there that UNT would be better at quarterback without Thompson. Well, three games into the year UNT has used three quarterbacks and is averaging 242 yards a game, a total that ranks No. 122 nationally. UNT ranks 121st out of 125 teams nationally in passing offense at 99.3 yards a game.
UNT believes Williams will be able to handle the promotion, largely because of his calm nature that coaches and players told us about this week.
We are about to find out how Williams fares.
And in a side note …
UNT cornerback commit Nate Brooks is at today’s game.
Stay tuned, I will update the blog all day.
2:10 p.m. — UNT will be without a couple of key players today. Defensive end Daryl Mason hasn’t played all year and won’t be in there again today. I would expect Jarrian Roberts to start. UNT will also be without running back Jeffrey Wilson, who was hurt in the Mean Green’s loss to Louisiana Tech. Wilson actually started in the Mean Green’s game against the Bulldogs. Mason is expected to return in UNT’s game at Indiana after a bye week.
2:28 — It won’t matter today, but it is interesting when one looks back at UNT’s recent history to see how the Mean Green’s running game impacts its overall performance. I mentioned this earlier in the week, but the Mean Green have lost six straight games when rushing for 110 yards or fewer.
14:52 — Nicholls won the toss and deferred. UNT received and has the ball at its own 41-yard line.
13:42 — Well, that started well. Williams hit all four of his passes on UNT’s opening drive and scored on an 8-yard run. UNT is up 7-0 less than two minutes in.
13:34 — James Jones intercepted a Nicholls pass on the Colonels first play from scrimmage. Dajon Williams rolled out and hit Carlos Harris, who no one covered down the field for a 41-yard touchdown.
11:46 — Derrick Teegarden blocked Nicholls’ punt and UNT quickly stuck the ball in with three straight runs from Reggie Pegram. UNT leads 21-0.
5:03 — Nicholls is on the board on a Francisco Condado field goal at the end of a 13-play drive. It’s 21-3 UNT.
1:19 — UNT has the ball back at its 26-yard line late in the first quarter.
End of the first quarter — UNT is up 21-3 and is at the Nicholls 24-yard line after Carlos Harris picked up 43 yards on an end-around on third-and-3.
14:24 — Williams goes in from five yards out at the end of a 74-yard drive. UNT is up 28-3 and is rolling. Williams has two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown — UNT’s first of the year.
14:08 — UNT is on the board again, this time on defense. James Jones intercepted a Kale Henderson pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. UNT is up 35-3.
12:30 — UNT forced a punt on Nicholls last possession, but was called for roughing the kicker.
10:29 — UNT has the ball back after forcing another punt. Darvin Kidsy returned it to the Nicholls 41-yard line. UNT will have great field position to start this drive.
10:08 — UNT is on the board again. Marcus Smith was open over the middle. Dajon Williams hit him for a 41-yard touchdown. UNT is up 42-3.
7:46 — UNT has the ball back at its 12-yard line in the second quarter. The Mean Green are up 42-3 and are rolling.
4:38 — UNT has tacked on another touchdown. Dajon Williams hit Willy Ivery on a perfectly set up screen deep in Nicholls’ end of the field. Ivery went in untouched from 14 yards out. UNT is up 49-3.
Halftime — UNT is up 49-3 at halftime of its game against an over matched Nicholls State team. Dajon Williams had a monster first half and didn’t show any signs of jitters in his first start.
13:43 — Darvin Kidsy just took a punt back 75 yards for a touchdown. He was pinned to the sideline and just stayed in bounds before turning around and taking the ball back while cutting across the field. UNT is up 56-3.
9:10 — Linebacker Sed Ellis blocked a punt on Nicholls last possession. He had a clear path to return it, but couldn’t get a handle on the ball. UNT needed just five plays to cash in with an 8-yard run from Reggie Pegram.
6:01 — UNT will have the ball back again after another short Nicholls possession. This is a perfect scenario for UNT, which will have an opportunity to get Williams some work with no pressure on him. This game has long since been decided with UNT up 63-3. The question now is how long UNT will leave Williams in the game.
5:37 — And there is the answer. Dajon Williams is done for the day. Andrew McNulty is in for the Mean Green at quarterback.
2:34 — Andrew McNulty led UNT down the field and has the Mean Green in the end zone again. Erick Evans took the ball in from a yard out to put UNT up 70-3. UNT
14:03 — Zac Whitfield just intercepted a pass from Beaux Hebert at the UNT 2-yard line and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown. UNT is up 77-3. The crazy part of it all is that this game essentially still has an entire quarter to go.
8:30 — This is over. I am about to head down. I will be back later.