MIAMI — North Texas coach Seth Littrell has spoken the last few weeks about how the Mean Green continue to become more comfortable — not to mention productive — in coordinator Phil Bennett’s system.
UNT entered its game against Florida International on Saturday at Riccardo Silva Stadium coming off three straight solid outings.
The Mean Green one-upped themselves in a 49-7 win over the Panthers.
UNT gave up just 245 yards and a single touchdown, and that was long after the game had been decided.
“We’re playing together, executing the calls and running to the ball,” UNT linebacker Kevin Wood said. “We’re eliminating mistakes.”
The Mean Green are also making a host of big plays. None was bigger than Wood’s interception early in the game. FIU drove to the UNT 5-yard line before Wood intercepted a pass from Max Bortenschlager at the goal line in a scoreless game.
He nearly returned it for a touchdown before being caught from behind. UNT was called for an illegal block on the return and settled for getting the ball at the FIU 40. The Mean Green scored four plays later and were off and running.
UNT has now allowed 24 points or less in all four games in the Mean Green’s winning streak.
“Other than the first drive, we settled in,” Littrell said. “Wood’s pick was huge.
“We sputtered early but our defense kept us in it.”
Cornerback John Davis Jr. made his return after a three-game absence and started UNT’s game against FIU. The junior had not played since being knocked out of the Mean Green’s loss to Liberty on Oct. 23.
- UNT dominated FIU in the first half while jumping out to a 35-0 lead. The 35 points the Mean Green scored were their top total since scoring 38 in the first half of a win over ACU in 2019. UNT had not shut out an opponent in the first half since a win over SMU in 2018.
- Quarterback Jace Ruder came on in relief of Aune in the second half. The sophomore had seen action in just two of UNT’s six games.
Ruder started the first four games of the season. He rushed for 14 yards and also threw for 14.