Fans of North Texas finally have a reason to celebrate, kind of. It may have taken five weeks of gut-wrenching losses, but the Mean Green have finally taken a step forward in their quarterback race. After weeks of fans calling for a change at the quarterback position, they finally got their wish.
Thursday's game against Western Kentucky saw the first start from UNT quarterback and junior college transfer, DaMarcus Smith. Did Smith live up to the hype? Was he everything that the Mean Green faithful dreamed he would be? Sort of.
One thing was abundantly clear by the end of the game. Smith is by far the most talented quarterback on the North Texas roster. Aside from a slow start, which should be expected in your first start, there were signs of promise through the air and on the ground. Smith finished the game with 228 yards passing, 122 yards rushing, and four passing touchdowns.
The last time a North Texas quarterback threw for four touchdowns was 2009. More importantly, that's more touchdowns in one game than every quarterback on the roster has thrown all year. There is absolutely no argument that the move to start Smith was a great one. If only someone had suggested that the move be made from week one.
Years later, DaMarcus Smith still has potential. Check out this play. https://t.co/kHJ5R9yS7Z— Jonathan Lintner (@JonathanLintner) October 16, 2015
Aside from general improvement at the quarterback position, the change clearly unleashed untapped potential from the Mean Green receivers. Tee Goree and Darvin Kidsy both picked up their first career touchdown receptions. Kidsy finished the game with 93 yards to compliment his touchdown, a career high for him. Seven total receivers picked up at least one reception throughout the course of the game.
Although it was great to see Goree and Kidsy get involved for the game, there is a bigger picture involved. Kidsy is a junior and Goree is a freshman. Sophomore Turner Smiley and freshman O'Keeron Rutherford also picked up receptions in the game. Although he is having a very productive season, the Mean Green can not rely on Carlos Harris to bail them out forever. With what seems to be a push towards find an offensive-minded coach, the Mean Green have pieces in place to avoid a third straight losing season next year.
North Texas is still searching for its first win of the season. Realistically the best chance for that to come is in two weeks when the Mean Green host UTSA in what has become a rivalry game in Denton. There may finally be hope with Smith under center, Jeffrey Wilson's explosiveness in the backfield, and a whole receiving corps coming together to compliment Carlos Harris. Although he looked ready to take control last Thursday, all eyes will be on Smith for the remainder of the season as he tries to ensure that UNT does not finish the year without a win.