North Texas coach Seth Littrell spoke earlier this week about how important it was to him to send quarterback Mason Fine out on a high note in his final game on Saturday against UAB.
Fine had no idea the UNT athletic department had something up its sleeve to help with the process.
A video tribute played on the video board at Apogee Stadium before the beginning of the fourth quarter of the Mean Green’s 26-21 loss to UAB.
“I heard my voice,” Fine said after the game. “I had to look away or I would get emotional with the guys cheering me on.
“It shows how great this university has treated myself and my family. The experience is better than I ever dreamt it would be.”
The crowd of 16,406 gave Fine a rousing ovation and recognized his contributions to the program following the video.
The moment was one of several highs and lows over the course of Fine’s final game with the Mean Green.
Fine hit Jaelon Darden for a 2-yard touchdown pass in the second half that pushed the total number of touchdowns he is responsible for in his career to a program record 100. He finished with 268 passing yards and two touchdowns in UNT’s loss to UAB.
Fine also cleared the 3,000-yard mark for passing yards in a season. The senior entered the game with 2,820 yards and finished with 3,088 yards on the season.
Fine threw for more than 3,000 yards in each of his final three seasons with the Mean Green.
Fine helped lead UNT to three straight bowl appearances before the Mean Green came up short of making the postseason in his senior year.
The Oklahoma native entered the game as the nation’s active leader in passing yards with 12,237. He finished 28th in major college football history with 12,505 yards. He also landed in a tie for 39th in passing touchdowns with 93.
Three other players entered the day with 93, including former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
■ Wide receiver Jaelon Darden moved into the top 10 in UNT history for receptions in a single season. Darden came into the game with 66 receptions and picked up 10 more to move into a tie for fifth with John Love at 76. Love caught his career high 76 passes in 1965.
■ UNT struggled to run the ball for the second straight week. The Mean Green managed just 75 yards on the ground last week in a loss to Rice.
■ UNT finished with 21 yards on 35 carries against UAB. The Blazers came into the day allowing just 98.8 rushing yards per game.
■ UAB was forced to start backup quarterback Dylan Hopkins for the fourth straight game. The Blazers lost starter Tyler Johnston III to a knee injury in a loss to Tennessee on Nov. 2.