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UNT Overwhelmed by SMU Offense


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DENTON – SMU used a dominant first quarter to open up a three-score lead before UNT's offense found its footing, and the Mustangs left Apogee Stadium with a 65-35 win over the Mean Green on Saturday night.
 
After playing second fiddle at quarterback in UNT's season-opening win over Houston Baptist, redshirt sophomore Austin Aune relieved redshirt sophomore Jason Bean after the Mean Green's stagnant start and finished the night with 276 passing yards and a pair of touchdown tosses on 13-of-25 passing while also notching his first career rushing touchdown.
 
"It was great to see," UNT coach Seth Littrell said of Aune's breakout performance. "You can see it in practice with both of those guys (Aune and Bean). I think they've both had a really good two weeks, so I was a little surprised with the uneasiness early. They're only going to gain confidence as it goes. Last week it was Bean, and this week it was Aune. If they come out and start the way they finished, we'll be fine."
 
UNT finished with 517 total yards of offense, but the Mean Green defense struggled all night while SMU senior quarterback Shane Buechele and his teammates rolled up 710 yards of offense as Buechele completed 24 of 33 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns.
 
SMU receivers Rashee Rice and Reggie Roberson Jr., each eclipsed the 100-yard mark receiving, and Ulysses Bentley IV rushed for 227 yards on 19 carries, including an 84-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
 
"There was a lot of self-inflicted wounds," redshirt senior linebacker Kyleb Howell said. "A lot of gaps that should've been filled that weren't filled. A lot of calls we didn't get and some confusion in coverage. That's not an excuse. We have to get our calls. They're a good team, but I don't think we were overwhelmed. We have to get our run fits together and our coverages worked out."
 
Howell was making his first career start at linebacker after playing fullback in UNT's season opener. He replaced the team's leading tackler KD Davis, who was out along with fellow starting linebacker Tyreke Davis – both forced to sit due to medical issues.
 
Littrell praised Howell's play, as he finished with 11 tackles on the night, second only to Kevin Wood's career-high 12 after he started in place of Tyreke Davis. But he also acknowledged missing the two Davises was a detriment.
 
"It certainly doesn't help to miss your two best players on defense," Littrell said. "But we're not making excuses. You just have to get better. I believe in (defensive coordinator Clint) Bowen and our staff. I believe they'll make the corrections. I believe in our kids. We just have to settle into our system and figure out what we're good and not good at."
 
Aune said the offensive struggles early on were mostly self-inflicted but said the unit gained confidence after getting its first first down of the game after a couple of three-and-outs. In the second half, the Mean Green fared much better and scored 28 points.

"Well, I don't think we started very fast in the first half, and that killed us," Aune said. "We came out in the second half and had good momentum and got our confidence up a lot. Penalties killed us in the first half. We'll look at the film and learn from it and be ready to go next week.
 
"In the second half, we just came out hot," Aune added. "We made some plays and kept it going. We wish we could've done it from the start. It was a little too late, but I told our guys we were going to score and they continued to fight."
 
Despite the tough loss to a rival, Aune said his team won't have a problem moving on and preparing for next week's road opener at Houston.
 
"Yeah, it sucks but one game doesn't define you," Aune said. "We still have a lot to play for. There are a lot of teams on the schedule, so we'll continue to learn and get better."
 
QUICK HITS

  • The UNT loss takes SMU's advantage in the all-time series to 33-6-1 and the Mean Green move to 4-2 all-time against SMU in Denton.
  • The Mean Green win puts the program record at 19-7 in Apogee Stadium under head coach Seth Littrell. The Mean Green are 1-1 at home this season.
  • SMU's 65 points marked the first time UNT has allowed 60 or more points since Florida Atlantic scored 69 points on Oct. 21, 2017.
  • Redshirt sophomore QB Jason Bean (Mansfield) finished the day 4-for-9 for 29 yards with a passing touchdown after drawing the start under center.
  • Redshirt sophomore QB Austin Aune finished the game with 276 yards on 13-of-25 passing and two passing touchdowns and rushed for a score.
    • His 5-yard touchdown run with 8:44 left to play in the third quarter was the first rushing touchdown of his career.
  • Senior WR Jaelon Darden (Houston) had five catches on the day for 66 yards and two touchdowns, giving him five touchdown receptions through two games this season.
    • Darden's 33-yard touchdown reception from Aune with 14:02 remaining in the game put him alone in second place on the program's all-time receiving touchdown list with 24. He now trails only Ron Shanklin (1967-69), who had 31 in his career. It was his 25th career touchdown (receiving/rushing/returns), and he is now alone in eighth place on the program's all-time list.
    • His 12-yard touchdown reception from Bean with 8:31 left in the second quarter capped a 10-play scoring drive and was his 23rd touchdown reception of his career, moving him into a tie for second place on the program's all-time list with Troy Redwine (1992-95).
    • His five catches on the day gives him 166 career receptions, putting him alone in fifth place on the program's all-time list. He passed Pete Harvey (1978-81) and now trails David Brown (1991-94) by 16 receptions to move into fourth place.
  • Redshirt sophomore WR Roderic Burns (Houston) hauled in two catches for 66 yards, to tie his career high for catches in a game.
  • Redshirt freshman RB Oscar Adaway III finished the night with 20 carries for 104 yards.
    • The game marked Adaway III's second 100-yard rushing performance in as many games, as he had five carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns in UNT's season-opening win over Houston Baptist.
  • Senior RB DeAndre Torrey (Gautier, Mississippi) had 45 yards and 14 carries and a touchdown.
    • Torrey's 7-yard scoring scamper with 12:02 left in the third quarter was the 18th rushing touchdown of his career, putting him in a tie for 10th on the program's all-time list with Antoinne Jimmerson (2011-15) and Mitch Maher (1991-94).
    • The 7-yard touchdown run also put Torrey in a tie for 10th place all-time on the program's career touchdowns (rushing/receiving/returns) list with 22.
  • Sophomore WR Deonte Simpson (Beaumont, Texas) caught one ball for 55 yards and a touchdown.
    • His 55-yard touchdown reception from Aune with 10:52 remaining was his first touchdown of the season.
  • Sophomore LB Kevin Wood (Converse, Texas) led the team with 12 tackles to set a new career high.
  • Redshirt senior LB Kyleb Howell (Lantana, Texas) made his first career start at linebacker and finished the game with 11 tackles.
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All those stats lead me to a disappointment in the UNT offense. Be upset about the loss to smu and be better. 
GMG

Edited by NM Green
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27 minutes ago, NTSU52 said:

I think this game could have looked really different if Aune had started.

I agree. I think Aune started to show late why he was so highly recruited out of high school. He just has to settle in at QB. Unfortunately he has SMU and Houston to try and settle in. Bean has speed, but I think he is too reliant on his legs and not figuring out how to read defenses. They both need to learn to step up in the pocket instead of being so quick to roll out. Maybe if we had a QB coach instead of guy accused of inappropriate relationships with high school girls.

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