A new weekly feature, where we look at the 5 plays that had the biggest outcome on the game.
The Flames were unable to slow down the high octane Mean Green offense despite two lightning delays. Liberty also failed to convert on two of three trips into the red zone as they were routed by a very good North Texas squad, 47-7.
Throughout every game, there are several moments or plays that go unnoticed, or could be overlooked. Still, they play a huge role in the eventual outcome.
Let’s look at five plays that changed the direction of this game
Mason Fine connects with Rico Bussey for a 22 yard touchdown pass – On UNT’s 2nd drive of the ball game, Liberty’s defense had forced a 3rd and 11 from the 22 yard line. Hoping to hold them to a field goal attempt, Mason Fine had other plans as he found Bussey for a 22 yard score giving the Mean Green an early 14-0 lead.
Buckshot intercepted at the goal line – In what may have been the turning point of the game, Buckshot was intercepted at the goal line as he tried to find B.J. Farrow on a quick slant. The senior WR was open, but Khairi Muhammad jumped the route ending the Flames drive that would have cut the deficit in half.
UNT’s offense comes back to life with 43-yard completion – Liberty’s defense seemingly found its stride, stopping Fine and the Mean Green on 4 consecutive drives to give the Flames’ offense a chance to get back in this one. And the game would have been tied, had Liberty not been intercepted, as mentioned in the previous play. However, with just 92 seconds remaining in the first half, Fine found Jaelon Darden for 43 yards, setting North Texas up with a first down in the red zone. Just a few plays later and the game is 21-7 heading into the locker room.
King unable to hang on to the ball – On Liberty’s first drive of the 2nd half, one that was interrupted by the 2nd weather delay of the evening, the Flames again reached Mean Grean territory and the red zone. Facing a 3rd and 11 at the 15, Buckshot found an open Damian King on a crossing route right at the first down marker, but King was unable to reel in the wet ball as the pass was dropped. This forced an Aaron Peart 32-yard field goal attempt from the right hash that had no chance of going through the uprights.
Buckshot sacked, ending the Flames’ chances – With the Mean Green leading 27-7 and looking to run away, the Flames faced a crucial 3rd down and 6 at the UNT 41 yard line. Calvert held on to the ball too long as he was dropped for a 9 yard loss leading to a 4th and 15. Even if he was able to get rid of the ball and throw it away, Liberty offensive coordinator Joe Dailey could have elected to go for it on the 4th down from a manageable distance. However, he called on the punt unit which lead to the infamous negative 4 yard punt, and ending any realistic hope the Flames had to keep this one respectable.