North Texas’ bowl loss proves how important Mason Fine is to the Mean Green
North Texas star quarterback Mason Fine suffered a hamstring injury in UNT’s worst bowl loss in school history, losing 52-13 to Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl.
In Utah State’s 52-13 win over North Texas (9-4) at the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, it showed just how important Mason Fine is to the Mean Green’s success.
It was the second time in Fine’s three-year career he suffered an injury in a UNT bowl loss.
The star junior quarterback left the game early in the second quarter after he suffered a left strained hamstring injury. Before Fine was ruled out for the remainder of the game, the contest was still up for grabs as the score read 21-7 at that point. However, as Fine was not able to come back, UNT’s chances quickly faded away as his replacements couldn’t fill his big shoes. In total, UNT’s three replacement quarterbacks – Kason Martin, Quinn Shanbour and Jason Bean – only combined for 134 passing yards and one touchdown, while throwing four interceptions.
Although Martin racked up a team-high 110 passing yards and one touchdown pass on the same amount of pass attempts as Fine, UNT has shown time after time their best shot at winning any game is under Fine. This season, UNT finished with UAB as Conference USA’s best record at 9-3 due to their stellar year on offense. The Mean Green finished atop the conference in points per game (34.6), most touchdowns (57), and most passing yards per game (306.8). Not to mention, Fine became UNT’s all-time leading passer earlier this season.
Needless to say, Fine’s presence would have made the game more competitive instead of it being a snoozefest.
Instead, it was the Aggies’ signal caller Jordan Love that stole the show in Albuquerque. Love led the Aggies to the bowl win with his performance of 359 passing yards and four touchdowns. The duo of Love and Jalen Greene were a nightmare for UNT’s defense as Love connected with Greene for 151 yards and one score on six catches.
Despite losing the opportunity to capture UNT’s third bowl win in program history, Mean Green’s change of culture is something they can hold their heads high about. Since Fine took over the starting position his freshman year, he has not only put up video game numbers of 9,358 career passing yards and 64 touchdown passes, but he has put Mean Green on the map in college football. As a team under Fine, UNT has put together their first back-to-back nine-win seasons since the 1977-78 seasons.
The only thing missing from Fine’s illustrious career is a bowl win.