North Texas is coming off yet another come from behind victory against the Old Dominion Monarchs last Saturday and maintains its sole possession of first place in Conference USA West Division.
Louisiana Tech is coming off a rout of Rice but the Bulldogs are pretty banged up. It’s likely the earlier report of 18 players who are questionable or out for the season will drop down to the high single digits to low double digits by game time Saturday.
With a win this Saturday, North Texas will hit six wins and become bowl eligible for the second time in 10 years. A win all but assures the Mean Green the West Division title and another likely shot Florida Atlantic (in Boca Raton, FL). The last time the Mean Green were at or above the .500 mark was 2013 when North Texas finished 9-4 and defeated UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on January 1st, 2014.
2017 C-USA Standings
|UT San Antonio||2-2||5-2|
University of North Texas Vitals (5-3 4-1)
|Head coach||Seth Littrell
2nd season, 9–10 (.474)
|All-time record||493–490–33 (.501)|
|Bowl record||3–6 (.333)|
Louisiana Tech Vitals (4-4 2-2)
|Athletic director||Tommy McClelland|
|Head coach||Skip Holtz
5th season, 34–25 (.576)
|Stadium||Joe Aillet Stadium
|All-time record||604–451–39 (.570)|
|Bowl record||5–3–1 (.611)|
|Claimed nat’l titles||3 (Division II) (1972, 1973, 1974)|
Advantage: North Texas. North Texas is in the Top 5 in most every offensive category with Mason Fine rewriting the passing record book. Any of the top four wide receivers (Guyton, Lawrence, Smiley, and Bussey) are capable of a big game. When it comes to the rushing attack, the Mean Green sports a stable of three backs (Wilson, Smith, and Johnson), all with slightly different different skill sets, capable of breaking a big run.
LaTech just doesn’t have the explosive offense that North Texas sports. Quarterback J’Mar Smith can sling the ball around pretty well (146-258-4 for 1960 yards and 10 TDs) and the rushing attack is middle of the road for the conference. The Bulldogs are in search of their 5th win of the season on the hunt for at least a six win season, which won’t be easy with FAU, UTEP, and UTSA still left to play.
Advantage: LaTech. The Bulldogs are statically a better team but one has to wonder whether they have the depth to stand up to a potent like what the Mean Green bring to the field. As previously mentioned, North Texas is in the Top 5 in most every offensive category however LaTech sits in the bottom have of many of those same respective defensive categories.
North Texas comes in dead last many different statistical categories but perhaps most importantly points allowed — 37.9 per game. The Mean Green defense did keep the Monarchs from converting three consecutive 4th downs in the 4th quarter last weekend
Advantage: LaTech. I can’t say I know much about the ST squad for LaTech but they can’t be any worse than what the Mean Green have done this season.
North Texas gave up not one but two kick off returns for a touchdown last week allowing the Monarchs to stay in the game. Due to the lack of consistent play, I have to give the nod to the Bulldogs. Trevor Moore is still perfect on kicks has attempted and the team is 33-36 on the season.