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Army had a Half-Day: North Texas smashes Army, 35-18

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The Mean Green Defense was the star of the day but Jeffrey Wilson was great too.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Army
North Texas RB Willy Ivery rushes during the second half of the Mean Green’s 35-18 victory. It was Army’s first-ever loss to UNT in five meetings.
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Let us first start with an apology: Underdog Dynasty (and more specifically, me) got this one entirely, entirely wrong.

The stats just didn’t support this game. Army is a rushing monster and bowled over superior competition this season, and Texas teams traditionally don’t do so hot when traveling to colder climates (witness Houston at UConn last year, or the entire history of the Houston Texans). Army even provided more offense on the day, finishing with a total of 396 yards to UNT’s 320.

The difference, dear reader, was the teams played to their strengths. In our preview, which we shall now light on fire, we noted that Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw was not prone to passing, as the Black Knight offense favored a ground attack, distributing the ball to over a dozen different rushers. Well, turns out the reason for this is throwing the ball isn’t Bradshaw’s strong suit to begin with, as UNT’s defense forced him to throw more often here than he had in any game this season. The result? Four interceptions. Thank you, please drive through.

What did turn out to hold weight was that on the ground, UNT doesn’t have much more than Jeffrey Wilson, “but that’s enough.” And at least that remains a constant, as Wilson knocked down Army like bowling pins, rushing 15 times for 160 yards— that’s 10.7 yards per rush.

Once again, Mason Fine was good not great, throwing a mere 9/17 for 118 yards, but when you’re counterpart throws that many INT’s, you pretty much just have to show up. And that he did, throwing for 1 TD and 1 INT in a thoroughly baseline day.

Army had a few bright spots, notably some receivers who actually got to catch some passes for a change. But the UNT defense was just brutal, shutting down Army on the ground to the point where, with all the tools at their disposal, the top rusher at the end of the day was the QB Bradshaw, who rushed 24 times out of what must’ve been desperation, finishing with 90 yards.

Looking ahead, North Texas just might be bowl-bound after all, as a win over UTSA and UTEP seem like locks at this point, though we’ll be having heated debates with the writers for those schools in the coming weeks. Army, meanwhile, still has upcoming games against a surging Air Force and Navy.

Next week North Texas travels to UTSA with some swagger in their step, as between the two of them UNT has been the more impressive squad to date.