North Texas takes pride in defending unblemished home record

North Texas takes pride in defending unblemished home record

North Texas takes pride in defending unblemished home record
November 08
01:42 2017

It’s been discussed throughout the North Texas football community that attendance, while not bad, has not been great. The number of fans in the stands has led to increased promotions from the athletic department and players taking to Twitter to get people in the seats.

However, even with a crowd averaging an announced attendance near 19,000, the Mean Green football team is 4-0 at home this season. That unblemished mark starts up top with head coach Seth Littrell, whose goal before the season began was to go undefeated at home.

It’s been a point of emphasis the team has taken to heart so far this season.

“[Going 6-0 at home] would be a huge milestone,” sophomore receiver Jalen Guyton said. “It’s a great goal to have because this is our house. I think that’s understood even by those who have never played sports – you’re going to protect your house. It’s a respect thing.”

That sense of pride in playing at Apogee Stadium has resonated throughout the season. In Littrell’s first season, the Mean Green went 3-3 at home with a key win over the University of Southern Mississippi that eventually allowed the team to sneak into a bowl game.

This season, their four home wins have come over Lamar University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Old Dominion University. The margin of victory in those games has been 45, three, three and seven respectively.

“It’s pride,” Littrell said. “Coming out here in front of your fans, your alumni, your student base, it’s important to give them fun games to watch in our house. We need to continue to be very competitive and win at home.”

Littrell instilled this thought process as soon as he stepped into Denton. Win all of the your home games, and you have a chance to get into a bowl game regardless of what happens on the road.

The team clearly plays to win every game on the road or at home, but the players’ intensity in home games has continued to grow as they look to increase attendance and put on a show for those fans already at Apogee Stadium.

“I’ve just been taking it one week at a time, but it’s a huge goal to win at home,” sophomore quarterback Mason Fine said. “It’s important to show what your team can do and not disappoint and lose when people are here watching in the stands.”

The Mean Green’s comfort level rises at home and it shows on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they average nearly 45 points per game at Apogee, while averaging just over 25 points per game away from Denton.

While their road schedule has not been easy – including games against Southern Methodist University, Iowa University and Florida Atlantic University – North Texas has shown more of a spark when playing at home.

“I feel like guys are being coachable and just taking it all in,” senior safety Kishawn McClain said. “We’re winning [now at home], so everybody is liking that. It’s just being consistent in everything we do. We’re just trying to stay on top of things [here] and it flows into [our play].”

From the kick return by Evan Johnson in the final seconds of the UAB game to the “Midterm Miracle” against UTSA, the turf at Apogee has simply been a special place for the Mean Green this season.

While the players won’t admit their approach changes drastically, the FAU loss proved some variables are simply not always in the team’s favor on the road. The energy is hard to recreate when the fans are rooting against you, and North Texas has found out the hard way.

Senior running back Jeffery Wilson believes when it comes to home games, their talent comes out and is what separates the Mean Green late in games.

“It’s just the way we’re playing at this point, period,” Wilson said. “We want to win every game. Every week is another stepping stone, and we’re going to keep stepping. That’s how we look at every opponent.”

The team’s pride will be at its apex for this weekend’s homecoming game against the University of Texas at El Paso. With UTEP and Army still left on the home schedule, the goal of completing the season undefeated at home is now in reach.

Playing in Apogee against a surging North Texas team just hasn’t worked out well for opponents. And the Mean Green plan to keep it that way.

“Most coaches are going to stress winning at home because it’s a respect thing,” Guyton said. “This is where we’re comfortable, and you’re not going to come take what’s ours at our place.”

Featured Image: Head coach Seth Littrell celebrates with his wife and fans after a win over the University of Texas at San Antonio on Oct. 14. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men’s basketball.

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