It was over before it started, but on a day with a few legitimate conference surprises, today’s 45-24 thrashing by the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs certainly helped clarify the conference race.
On Tech’s side of the ball, Ryan Higgins was superb as always, throwing for 253 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 8.4 yards a pass and was largely unperturbed by the North Texas defense. The Bulldogs’ base core of receives, particularly Jarred Craft (24 carries, 120 yards, 1 TD) totaled out at 226 yards overall, and the Mean Green never came close to stopping their explosive offense.
For North Texas, this game showed just how far they have to go. After surpassing expectations with wins against Army and Marshall, those two teams have underwhelmed in other games and reminded fans that this season is, at the end of the day, still very much a rebuilding project.
Mason Fine remains a middling quarterback (still a vast improvement for UNT), throwing for 207 yards (1 TD, 1 INT) and spreading it out to seven different receivers when the offense usually relies on the top 2 or 3. Fine remains a “threat to run” only in the most technical sense, as he took off nine times and finished with one yard rushing.
Non-conference games turned out to be not much of a barometer, as North Texas had a better overall record than UTSA going into last week, before getting clobbered by a Roadrunner team that went on to beat up MTSU today.
Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, in addition to beating the spread, moves to 7-3 (5-1) and first place in the C-USA West division. They can thank USM’s unexplainable loss to Charlotte today for pushing them to the top of C-USA West.
The conference finish line is in sight at this point, and provided Tech can take out UTSA next week, the race is all but over. Of course, suddenly that might not be such a given, considering the Roadrunners’ aforementioned thrashing of the Blue Raiders.
North Texas, meanwhile, lost their homecoming game by fewer points than a year ago, and will continue their quest to become bowl eligible next week when they travel to Western Kentucky.