Scott Sidway | Sports Editor
On Thursday, Oct. 15, the University of North Texas football team hosted Western Kentucky University at Apogee Stadium. Here are five observations from the game.
1) Quarterback change – The change from Andrew McNulty to DaMarcus Smith at starting quarterback provided exactly what was to be expected – more electric plays, deeper throws, but often inaccurate passing. Smith finished the night 17 for 25 passing with four touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for 122 yards. He showed explosiveness and the ability to spark a previously inept offense, especially when he connected junior wide receiver Darvin Kidsy on a 46-yard hail mary to end the first half. He also failed to sustain drives until the game was out of reach, but he showed flashes of talent along the way.
2) New coach, same defensive woes – North Texas’ 113th ranked pass defense could not keep up with WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty, who entered the game with the second most passing yards in all of NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. The future NFL prospect threw for 350 yards on 26 of 37 passing. The rush defense for North Texas was not much better, allowing 283 yards on the ground and seven yards per carry.
3) Turnover margin – It took over 21 quarters, but the Mean Green finally intercepted their first pass of the season. However, they still rank dismally low in turnover margin after turning the ball over twice on Thursday night. North Texas sports a -8 turnover margin on the season, which is now tied for 122nd in all of FBS.
4) Sideline unity – Interim head coach Mike Canales said in his introductory press conference he wanted to make football fun again to the players while also promoting team unity. Before the game got out of hand, the team was bound together on the sideline and raised a single fist in unison on every defensive third down. Canales was even running up and down the sideline with his fist in the air to keep his squad energized and motivated. He said after the game this is a technique to teach his players about the game, as the hand sign is the official sign for fourth down.
5) Poor attendance – The official number was 10,155 in attendance, but the stands were sparse for much of the game. At the homecoming loss against Portland State University, the crowd at least started fuller and dissipated as the blowout ensued. Against WKU on Thursday night, the crowd was consistently barren.
Featured Image: Interim head coach Mike Canales encourages North Texas during a timeout during their game against Western Kentucky. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer