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North Texas upsets Marshall 38-21

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Marshall continues to struggle, losing to UNT for the first time ever. North Texas, while not perfect, has much to be happy about.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Marshall
North Texas upset Marshall in Denton on Saturday. Time to re-adjust our expectations for both teams for 2016.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Looks like Marshall needs a new defensive coordinator.

On a day where everyone expected Marshall to return to the form of previous seasons, the Thundering Herd proved their 1-4 record is no fluke, falling to the rapidly-improving Mean Green, 38-21.

Our Marshall writer picked a Marshall victory. Our North Texas writer picked a Marshall victory. Marshall was favored by ten points. Marshall has the history and the national respect that North Texas just does not have, and none of it mattered on Saturday.

Chase Litton continues to struggle, even though he threw for 258 yards with a touchdown and one interception— a big one, late in the game, that let UNT seal the victory. But ultimately North Texas is just the deeper team— strange as that is to see— with more options both on the ground and in the air. They quite simply overwhelmed the Thundering Herd the whole way.

North Texas is improving every single week, and it’s not just a question of schedule. It took them until week two to settle on their starting QB, freshman Mason Fine. With Fine at the helm they struggled against Rice, needing OT to win. Last week they played back-and-forth to MTSU before losing on some dumb special teams mistakes.

This week, those special teams were improved, but not perfect, as the 2nd half opened with Marshall returning the kickoff 99 yards for a TD, tying the score at 14. North Texas was undeterred, needing a few series to get the momentum back, before scoring on an 11-yard TD pass to Tyler Wilson, capping an 80-yard drive. The teams traded touchdowns but Marshall was the first to blink, as North Texas was up 28-21 when Trevor Moore booted a 31-yard field goal to put the game out of reach for the Herd.

UNT’s Eric Jenkins returned an interception for a touchdown late in the game and Marshall had no answer.

North Texas RB Jeffrey Wilson contributed 188 yards on 26 carries, and six UNT receivers contributed overall. Fine finished 18/28 passing with 206 yards.

Litton spread out 258 yards among five receivers but they couldn’t get anything going on the ground, finishing with just 13 total yards rushing. Litton finished with -27 yards rushing himself, as the North Texas defense should start making future opponents nervous.

Marshall hosts 1-4 Florida Atlantic next week, and will hopefully be able to pinpoint and correct problem areas, as conference play continues.

North Texas has a bye week next week before travelling to Army on Oct. 22.