UNT-Troy late-night thoughts

At the beginning of the season, I said the UNT-Troy game essentially was the season.

I expected UNT to be 1-2 heading into its Sun Belt opener, and I wasn’t the only one.

You just have to wonder where UNT is headed now after a horrible night on special teams, a bad night offensively and an even worse (at least in terms of the way it feels for UNT fans) loss to Troy. UNT was 1-2 as expected heading into tonight’s game. It’s 1-3 now after a 14-7 loss to the Trojans and in a 0-1 hole in the Sun Belt.

Troy isn’t what it was when it had a couple of NFL level players on defense every year. But the Trojans are one of those teams that that could get to six or seven wins and a bowl game with the right breaks and a couple of big wins.

Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette, maybe Arkansas State, are the best teams out there.

That’s what made this game so important for UNT. One of these teams was going to have a pretty clear path to a .500 season or better. That team is Troy now.

The Mean Green got the defense it needed, but couldn’t get it done offensively and was horrible in the kicking game. UNT missed three field goals and yanked Zach Olen after he missed a couple.

UNT had open receivers all night. Sometimes Derek Thompson, who was great against Kansas State, missed them. Other times, UNT dropped balls.

UNT just doesn’t have a lot of playmakers out there outside of Brelan Chancellor and newcomer Antoinne Jimmerson. Brandin Byrd is great at grinding out yards, but isn’t going to go all the way in normal circumstances. Ivan Delgado is a good possession receiver and had a good night with six catches for 126 yards.

UNT went to its bag of tricks a few times to try to get something done, but didn’t execute.

It says a lot when you look at the box and Tory has eight players who caught passes. UNT had four.

Delgado and Chancellor where UNT’s only two weapons in the passing game.

UNT’s defense did some good things and continues to improve.

It just didn’t matter when UNT couldn’t cash in on offense or special teams.

The road to 6-6 or better suddenly looks awfully long.

UNT has a two-game road trip to Florida Atlantic and Houston coming up. Louisiana-Lafayette is good and comes up to Denton for a TV game after that.

South Alabama ought to be a win, maybe Middle Tennessee as well.

That is what made tonight’s game so big. Had UNT gotten to 2-2, you could look down the road and see a path to six wins without a whole lot of imagination.

It’s a little harder to see that road now.