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North Texas wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. (8) celebrates scoring a touchdown bringing North Texas ahead of Abilene Christian 23-0 in North Texas’ season opener game on Saturday.

North Texas’ season opener against Abilene Christian on Saturday offered up the answer to the question every Mean Green fan, player — and to a certain extent its coaches as well — wanted to know.

Just what would Bodie Reeder’s offense look like in his debut with the Mean Green?

The first-year UNT offensive coordinator vowed to pick up the pace and make use of all the weapons at his disposal.

That’s exactly what Reeder did during the Mean Green’s 51-31 blowout win over Abilene Christian in their season opener at Apogee Stadium.

Seldom-used tight end Jason Pirtle looked like a star, wide receiver Rico Bussey continued to shine and quarterback Mason Fine kicked off his Heisman campaign in style.

Fine threw for 383 yards and four touchdowns and continued to add to his considerable list of accomplishments with the Mean Green. He moved past UNT Hall of Famer Mitch Maher and into second place on the Mean Green’s all-time leaders list for passing touchdowns with 68.

Maher threw 67 from 1991-94.

Former NFL quarterback and UNT great Steve Ramsey and his 69 career touchdowns are all that’s left for Fine to chase down.

“Bodie did a great job,” UNT coach Seth Littrell said. “He managed it well overall. It’s never easy coming in, especially when you are working for an offensive-minded head coach. He has a lot of confidence, is extremely smart and understands out personnel well.”

The question heading into the season wasn’t so much when Fine would eclipse Maher and Ramsey but how much time it would take.

That’s why all eyes were on Reeder after Graham Harrell left UNT for Southern Cal in the offseason.

Harrell and UNT coach Seth Littrell develop Fine from a lightly recruited player out of tiny Locust Grove in Oklahoma into one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Fine entered his senior season as the leading active passer in college football with 9,417 yards.

He didn’t show any signs of slowing down in the Mean Green’s season-opener.

Fine’s first pass of the game was a 32-yard strike to tight end Jason Pirtle, his former high school teammate.

The strike was a sign of what was to come from Fine.

He connected with Pirtle again for a 17-yard touchdown later in the first quarter and a 12-yard strike just before halftime.

“It went well,” Fine said of his first time playing in a game with Reeder in the mix. “He did a great job of preparing our team.”

Reeder didn’t have to show too much before a critical showdown with longtime rival SMU next week but did open his bag of tricks with a flea flicker in the first half. ACU had two defensive backs draped all over Rico Bussey Jr., who hauled in a 49-yard touchdown pass anyway.

UNT led 31-0 late in the second quarter before ACU found its footing offensively.

Tracy James scored on a 19-yard run to get the Wildcats on the board and Billy McCrary broke free for a 69-yard run.

UNT safety Khairi Muhammad said earlier in the week that he thought the Mean Green were capable of shutting out ACU. The Wildcats provided a bigger challenge than UNT expected behind Luke Anthony, who threw for 273 yards.

The Wildcats were just no match for Fine and UNT’s offense on a night Reeder kept the Mean Green’s offense humming.

UNT average 34.6 points per game last season and showed no signs of letting up heading into the meat of Fine’s senior season.

Harrell may be gone, but UNT looked plenty comfortable with Reeder running the show. Bussey racked up 156 yards on just four receptions, while running back DeAndre Torrey rushed for 95 yards.

Those two are familiar weapons for Fine. Pirtle was a key addition on a night starter Kelvin Smith sat out due to injury.

“I was a little nervous,” Pirtle said. “The first play being a touchdown got the nerves out. The rest of the game felt normal.”

Reeder spent last season as the offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington, where is offense put up 43.1. points per game.

Reeder said he felt like he hit the jackpot earlier this summer when he landed the opportunity to work with Fine.

Fine was equally excited about what he could accomplish with Reeder.

The two showed a little bit of what they can accomplish together against ACU on Saturday.

What transpired didn’t look a whole lot different from what the Mean Green accomplished with Harrell in the press box last year.

“There is so much to learn from and build on,” Fine said. “We will look at the film tomorrow and get ready for SMU.”

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

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