Here are five quick thoughts following UNT’s 49-14 loss to Southern Miss:
1. Where is the hope now?
UNT is sitting at 0-4 for the first time since 2008 and has dropped its first two games in Conference USA play. At the beginning of the year, it was hard to look at the Mean Green’s schedule and pick out the six games UNT could win to become bowl-eligible. Now, it’s hard to look down the line and pick out many wins, period.
The Mean Green have to find a way to beat FCS member Portland State on homecoming next weekend. UTSA and UTEP are games that UNT should have a shot to win. Outside of that, UNT has some tough games against Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Marshall and Louisiana Tech.
2. DaMarcus Smith showed some good signs.
Smith has some physical talent that no other quarterback on UNT’s roster possesses. He threw a pretty strike to Carlos Harris that covered 61 yards and made some plays running the ball. The problem was he also threw an interception in the end zone. He was 3-for-11 overall, although UNT’s receivers didn’t do him many favors with some key drops.
Dan McCarney said Smith has talent after the game. He said UNT needs to develop that talent, but that Andrew McNulty has a better handle on the game and will continue to be UNT’s starter. McNulty also made some plays and threw a touchdown pass.
UNT has two guys it likes for different reasons and will continue to use both. This team just needs to develop Smith for the long-term good of the program.
3. Wilson is the real deal.
Jeffrey Wilson had a monster game against Southern Miss, rushing for 136 yards. The sophomore has all the tools and fits well in UNT’s run-first offense. UNT just has to hope he stays healthy. He could be a special player long-term for the Mean Green.
4. UNT’s defense just isn’t very good
UNT has given up at least 30 points in every game this season and surrendered seven touchdowns in its loss to Southern Miss and Nick Mullens. The Golden Eagles’ quarterback threw for 325 yards and four touchdowns and said after the game he was hit just once all night.
5. It’s gut check time for UNT.
UNT has to find something to play for now. McCarney essentially said this team is going to need to pull together and find a way to rally. UNT isn’t out of it when it comes to winning six games, but the odds get longer every week.