HOUSTON — North Texas secondary has faced an unfamiliar challenge just about every time it has lined up this season.
That goes with the territory for a team with an entirely new set of starting defensive backs.
Those players have met some of the challenges they have encountered.
Their showdown with Houston quarterback David Piland and his corps of receivers wasn’t one of them.
Piland torched UNT for 321 passing yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 44-21 win at Robertson Stadium.
“We were hesitant at times when the ball was in the air,” UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. “Do you want to go break on the ball? Are you cautious because you think they may make the play and you won’t? Then you go and miss a tackle. It snowballed. We never got control of the game with our defense. They dictated the game with their offense.”
Piland hit eight receivers on the night while picking UNT apart.
Houston didn’t make a whole lot of big plays in the passing game, but hit on just about everything Piland threw. He completed 31 of his 41 attempts.
UNT didn’t intercept a pass or sack Piland all night.
Dewayne Peace caught nine passes for 83 yards and a touchdown and was one of five Houston players who had at least four catches. Deontay Greenberry caught six passes for 71 yards.
Cornerback Hilbert Jackson finished with 15 tackles, while safety Marcus Trice added 10 tackles.
Both spent a big portion of their night chasing Houston’s receivers after they caught passes from Piland.
“It wasn’t a tough matchup at all,” UNT cornerback Zac Whitfield said.
UNT kept Houston’s receivers in front of them most of the night, but didn’t make nearly enough plays on the ball.
The Mean Green’s secondary spent most of the night chasing receivers after Piland got them the ball.
“We flunked the test,” McCarney said of facing Houston’s high-powered passing game. “We have to get better. We are not going to be able to bring in any draft picks. We have to do a better job of coaching. It was a lot of things that gave us problems.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .