The first time North Texas played at Apogee Stadium this season, Mean Green fans set a UNT attendance record, as a crowd of 29,519 witnessed the home team thump rival SMU. Tuesday at his weekly press conference, Seth Littrell challenged fans to set a new record Saturday when the Mean Green start Conference USA play against Louisiana Tech.
“I challenge all our fans to come out, and let’s set another record,” Littrell said. “Let’s make sure we show up, just like I challenge our players, let’s be the most exciting team to play. Let’s make sure Apogee is rocking and rolling, and we’re the most excited group out there. Let’s make it to our advantage. We’re really looking forward to that support.”
UNT run game turning corner
The Mean Green can obviously throw the ball with Mason Fine and a stellar receiving core, but the running game had been a concern since losing standout Jeffery Wilson to graduation. But after Saturday’s win against Liberty, in which UNT tallied a season-high 346 rushing yards, the Mean Green feel like they’re now balanced on offense.
UNT had 68 rushing yards in its first game against SMU, and after reaching 153 against Incarnate Word, the Mean Green dropped to 95 Week 3 against Arkansas.
“Any time a running back rushes for 170-something yards, you also have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line and things they did up front,” Littrell said. “It takes everybody, and that’s what we talked about. When that run game gets going, those receivers, you have to be physical and you have to sellout for your teammates in order for them to have success. Because the more success they’re having, the easier it’s gonna get for those guys, as well.”
Loren Easly led the running game with a career-high 177 yards and two touchdowns against Liberty. He has started at running back in all but one game this season but is still listed as a co-starter with DeAndre Torrey and Nic Smith on UNT’s depth chart. Easly leads the group with 276 rushing yards and three scores in three games.
“I think the last couple games he’s been very solid,” Littrell said. “... He’s a kid that’s really gaining more confidence and getting more comfortable each week. I thought he’s been playing physical. He’s breaking tackles. He’s running through. I think he’s seeing it well. We just gotta continue to develop that group and keep growing.”
La Tech coming off near upset against LSU
UNT’s biggest win of the season so far was against SEC foe Arkansas on the road, and the Mean Green’s next opponent almost did the same Saturday.
Louisiana Tech suffered its first loss of the season to No. 5 LSU 38-21 last weekend at Death Valley. LSU ended the game with a pair of touchdowns to seal the deal, but not before La. Tech got within three points early in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs mounted the comeback after starting the game down 24-0 in the second quarter and kept LSU scoreless until the final 8:06.
“You see they play extremely hard,” Littrell said. “They have a lot of experience. You look at certain teams on tape, even when things aren’t going well, how do you respond as a team? How do they respond on both sides of the ball? I thought they continued to fight through it as a group. They played well. They played hard the entire four quarters, and because of that, that’s what gave them an opportunity.”