I'm sorry this story is coming so late, but darnit I just went to bed last night. The game was a blowout, and it was boring, and nothing much happened after I went to bed.
Or so I thought.
I woke up this morning and found out that true freshman quarterback Jordan Jefferson played. This means that barring injury (or quote-unquote "injury" wink-wink) he will not be redshirting. If you play one play, you are not redshirting, unless you get "injured" (wink-wink) and can't continue playing (know what I'm saying?)
He wasn't the only true freshman I saw getting his first game action. True freshman cornerback Brandon Taylor also got into the game late. Other true freshmen to play included Patrick Peterson, DeAngelo Peterson, Karnell Hatcher, and Ryan Baker (special teams beast). It appears we will have a lot fewer redshirts this year than usual.
But I get ahead of myself. What about the action? Andrew Hatch had a nice night, completing more than 50% of his passes and having a respectable 7.4 yards per attempt and a rushing touchdown. He threw a bad interception, which incidentally is the third consecutive pass thrown Terrance Toliver's way that got intercepted. This time, it was not Toliver's fault, as he was not open, the pass was not accurate, and he had no chance to make a play on it. He got another pass thrown his way later, but it too was off-target.
Speaking of Toliver, they have not gotten him involved yet, and it appears the Mitchells may have passed him on the pecking order. This is disappointing, as Toliver is a big play guy. We just may not have the quarterback to get him the ball where he needs it, which is down the field. It's a problem that he's not involved, as he is supposed to be a playmaker. Chris Mitchell and Jared Mitchell have looked nice so far, but they do not have the explosion Toliver has. If we can't get Toliver involved, it makes us less dangerous.
Lee looked alright to me, but he had a much lower yards per attempt statistic, which is one of the most important measures of a quarterback. He missed some open receivers, but then again, so did Hatch.
I am concerned about the passing game. North Texas is a team that has given up a lot of yards in the passing game in prior contests. We got only 209 yards, which is not what you expect when you go against a poor passing defense. Then again, we only got 64 offensive plays, and it may just have been a matter of not getting enough shots at it.
The running game was very effective again, as Scott went for over 100 for the second consecutive game. Murphy was also effective with 70 yards of total offense on 8 touches (5 runs, 3 receptions). I am confident we can run on most teams, but I am afraid our passing game may severely limit us.
Defensively, we certainly have to hope that Darry Beckwith is OK. Les Miles sounded confident he was not seriously injured, but we don't know yet how serious it is, and if he will miss any time.
The team played OK on defense, but we did allow North Texas to keep the ball, move the chains, and run some clock. North Texas got 155 yards passing, mostly on underneath routes in front of soft coverage. When our corners played back, their receivers went out 5 yards and turned back to the QB to receiver the pass. They hit those passes all night, and they were able to keep possession. They had the time of possession advantage by about 5 minutes.
We will need to correct the issue of giving up underneath passes, because I know Auburn is going to try to exploit that, as they will be looking for any way to move the football against us.
The big news is on special teams as, for the first time since 2006, Trindon Holliday returned punts. He made an instant impact, taking his second punt to the house 92 yards. I hope we keep him there, because without an explosive offense, we will need to do something to give ourselves short fields or cheap touchdowns.
I will have more thoughts on this later, after I watch again.