Utah State entered bowl season having lost head coach Matt Wells to the open position at Texas Tech, and while Gary Anderson will return to coach the team in 2019, he isn’t the coach yet, which left co-defensive coordinator Frank Malle as the man in charge for this New Mexico Bowl.
You’d never know it after watching this game, as the Aggies had 16 offensive drives, went three-and-out three times, had two more drives where they got a first down and then went three-and-out, plus another drive where Jordan Love was intercepted on the first play… and they still hung 52 points on North Texas.
So yes, that’s seven touchdowns and a field goal. Not only did they score often, but they also scored fast, too, as their final touchdown – a seven minute and ten second slog in the fourth quarter – took longer to score than their first five combined.
North Texas, as you might guess, had rather the opposite day on offense. They came out of the locker room and watched Kason Martin connect with Deandre Guyton for a 75 yard touchdown pass on their first play from scrimmage.
That play, unfortunately, was half their points and a third of their yards for the game.
Right, well a quick peek at the stat line for UNT’s quarterbacks will very quickly tell you where this game went south for the Mean Green:
North Texas was already a slight underdog in this game, but not having a healthy Mason Fine after getting banged up in the first quarter meant playing three quarterbacks, none of whom are Mason Fine (both literally and athletically).
Quinn Shanbour completed more than half his passes, and more than half his completions went to the wrong team. Outside of that half-opening touchdown pass, the UNT quarterback known as “Not Mason, Not Fine” finished the game 8-for-21 59 yards and four interceptions.
Suffice it to say, even with that score from Martin to Guyton, by halftime most of the crowd agreed…
Suffice to say, a Utah State team that still has two more seasons of Jordan Love, plus Gerold Bright and Darwin Thompson both returning next season, should be just fine with talent next season.
We’ll see how the coaching staff does, but there’s plenty in the cupboard to work with,
As for North Texas, this realistically was an anomaly for them as they’ve spent most of the season with a whole lot of success by Mason Fine and just hoping a game like this didn’t happen.
They clearly need to develop their quarterback depth so their offense doesn’t shut down if Fine has to, but they’ll be right back at the top of Conference USA next season.