There was talk going into the season about a “new era” at North Texas, one that included “swag.” The “new era” officially now has a win in the books.
The Mean Green ran off 24 unanswered points in the first half to cruise to the 41-20 win over Bethune-Cookman at Apogee Stadium in Denton. North Texas relied on their running game, with Jeffrey Wilson finding the endzone twice for a pair of touchdowns in the first half. Willie Ivery took over in the second half and finished with 103 yards and a touchdown. The Mean Green even their record at 1-1 for the season.
“It feels great for these kids,” said head coach Seth Littrell, who got his first win at the helm at North Texas. “They’ve worked so hard through the transition. They’ve put a lot of work into this.”
In that win on Saturday, North Texas may have found a new starting quarterback. After struggling in the season opening loss to SMU with transfer Alec Morris under center, the Mean Green turned to freshman Mason Fine, who was making his first collegiate start. The numbers for Fine were modest, throwing for 108 yards while adding 46 yards on the ground. However, his performance was based on more than just numbers.
“He did some good things,” said Littrell. “His numbers may not be eye-popping, but he led us on some touchdown drives and he really managed the game well.”
“I was excited for the opportunity,” said Fine. “I was mentally and physically ready. I wanted a shot.”
Now the Mean Green will get a shot at a chance to finally make that signature statement. They will hit the road to face number 23 Florida this Saturday. The Gators are coming off a 45-7 win over Kentucky, which possibly saw them finally solve their quarterback issue that has plagued them over the last couple of years as Luke Del Rio threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns. Florida racked up over 500 yards in total offense against the Wildcats, while the Gator defense forced four turnovers.
There’s no doubt that North Texas will face an incredible challenge going into the Swamp to face a Florida team that may have finally found the consistent play on offense they’ve been searching for. The Mean Green will be the last non-conference game for the Gators before SEC conference play begins. North Texas is also looking for a good showing before going into C-USA conference play in two weeks.
Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday in Gainesville, Florida.
Written by C. James