Five thoughts

North Texas offensive lineman Manase Mose (72) congratulates running back DeAndre Torrey (13) after Torrey scored a touchdown during the Mean Green's win over Southern Miss on Saturday at Apogee Stadium.

North Texas knocked off Southern Miss 30-7 in a key Conference USA matchup on Saturday at Apogee Stadium.

UNT became bowl-eligible at 6-1 and bolstered its hopes of repeating as C-USA West Division champions by improving to 2-1 in league play.

Here are five thoughts on the win.

1. One can never overlook the importance of being bowl-eligible

UNT has higher aspirations this this year, but one can never underestimate the importance of becoming bowl-eligible with six wins.

The Mean Green essentially punched their ticket to a postseason game with their win over Southern Miss. UNT coach Seth Littrell set a goal to win a bowl game when he took over the program before the 2016 season.

A team can't reach that goal without getting into a bowl game in the first place.

2. UNT's defense is becoming a huge asset

UNT ended up putting up enough points to knock off Southern Miss, but the big reason the Mean Green picked up their sixth win was a defense that pitched a shutout in the second half. 

Linebacker E.J. Ejiya posted 12 tackles and Tyreke Davis added 10 for the Mean Green, who pitched a shutout in the second half.

UNT couldn't depend on its defense to win games in its first two seasons under Littrell. That's changing quickly, which is making the Mean Green a complete team.

3. UNT's game against UAB next week is going to be huge

Conference games always feel important. 

There is little doubt that UNT's game against UAB next week will be even bigger.

The Blazers blasted Rice 42-0, are 3-0 in C-USA play and all alone atop the league's West Division. UNT, Louisiana Tech and UTSA are all 2-1.

The Mean Green have already dropped a game against the Bulldogs. 

If UNT can knock off the Blazers, things will get really interesting in the division. If UAB wins, its path to the division title starts to look pretty smooth.

4. UNT's offense has to be a concern

UNT put up 30 points in its win over Southern Miss, but there is little doubt that the Mean Green have not looked as good as they did in the first four games of the season.

UNT picked up a touchdown in the final minute, when DeAndre Torrey scored on a 34-yard run. 

The Mean Green had just 10 points at halftime.

UNT will need to pick it up at some point later this season.

5. Seeing Guyton get doing is a good sign for UNT

Jalen Guyton had a big game against Southern Miss, catching seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Guyton hadn't had more than 51 receiving yards in a game in any of the last four weeks.

The Notre Dame transfer is one of UNT's biggest talents. The Mean Green will need him to be at his best at some point down the stretch. 

Seeing Guyton come up big is a good sign for UNT.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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