Middle Tennessee at North Texas
- Start Time: 6:00 PM CST. Saturday, October 1.
- Location: Apogee Stadium. Denton, Texas.
- Streaming: Campus Insiders
- Records: MTSU: 3-1. UNT: 2-2.
- Line: Middle Tennessee -16. O/U: 61.5.
Brent Stockstill and the high-powered Middle Tennessee offense have the Blue Raiders sitting at the top of the conference yet again. A comeback victory last week fueled by a 31 point second half, gave Middle Tennessee an impressive 3rd win on the season.
Middle Tennessee is scary for a number of reasons, but their offense is by far the biggest one. Let’s take a peek at all of the different weapons on the roster.
If you haven’t heard by now, Brent Stockstill is sort of good. He has a completion rating just short of 64% for the season after completing 113 of 177 passes. Within those 113 competitions, Stockstill has 13 touchdowns with only 3 interceptions thrown. With 1,362 yards passing for the season, he is coming in at 340 yards per game. Impressive to say the least.
More impressive, perhaps, is that Stockstill doesn’t exactly have “a guy” in his receiving corps. Richie James leads the team with 419 yards receiving, but Stockstill’s 13 touchdown passes have been spread out amongst 8 different receivers. It has to be difficult to create a plan for your secondary when you have to figure out which one of eight different receivers may pose the largest threat to you that day.
As If Stockstill wasn’t enough to prepare for, the Blue Raiders have quite the athlete in the backfield as well. Running Back, I’Tavius Mathers, currently ranks 13th in the NCAA with 447 rushing yards. He’s also tossed in 7 rushing touchdowns which is tied for the 3rd highest in the NCAA.
In the interest of full disclosure, Middle Tennesse has not exactly had a tough schedule. Their first game was against Alabama A&M who only managed to put up 146 total yards of offense in the game. Their second win came against a Bowling Green team that has been outscored by their opponents 195-61 this season. Aside from the comeback victory against Louisiana Tech last week, the Blue Raiders really haven’t had a statement win this season. One can only assume they’ll be looking to leave Denton with one on Saturday.
North Texas is on a bit of a high after their double overtime victory in Houston against Rice last week. The Mean Green defense showed up at the perfect time and stopped Rice on a 4th and short to secure their second victory of the season and give the team a 2-2 record. However, going 3-2 is going to be much more difficult.
Just in case you know nothing about North Texas football, there’s a lot of new faces making their North Texas debut this season. New head coach, Seth Littrell, has earned the respect of the fanbase early but still has a long road ahead of him. Along with Littrell came new offensive coordinator, Graham Harrell, and new defensive coordinator, Mike Ekeler. Although the new staff has 2 wins over teams that haven’t won a game this season, they’re enough to already show improvement from last season.
Also making their North Texas debut this season is true freshman quarterback, Mason Fine. Fine took over during the last quarter in week 1 and has shown nothing but improvement from week to week. Most recently, Fine threw for 224 yards and 1 touchdown in the Mean Green’s victory over Rice. He connected with 8 different players throughout the game, proving himself a good fit for Littrell and Harrell’s air attack offensive scheme.
Quite possibly the most talented and productive player on the North Texas roster happens to be a familiar face. Running back, Jeffrey Wilson, returned this year and is finally looking like the back that fans have been hoping for over the last few seasons. Wilson has racked up 352 yards and 6 touchdowns this season, which is 5 more touchdowns than his previous season high. Aside from Wilson, the North Texas running game has some comfortable depth. Backup running back, Willy Ivery, has also accounted for 3 rushing and 1 receiving touchdowns on the season.
The most interesting thing to watch for in this game will be the performance on the North Texas defense.
Statistically, the defense does not look that amazing. They currently rank 89th in points against per game. However, anyone that has watched their performance has seen some impressive stops in crucial moments. The Mean Green’s defensive unit stopped Florida on a number of 3rd and 4th down plays and showed fire when they stopped Rice to end the game last week. If this defensive unit can get pressure on Stockstill and force some mistakes, it could be a much more interesting game than Middle Tennessee is hoping for.
For fans of either of these programs, this game will be a lot more fun than anyone would have expected at the beginning of the year. The North Texas defense has played with some fire the past two weeks, although the fire has been on and off. Middle Tennesse, on the other hand, seems to be able to score whenever they decide nowadays. The Mean Green will put up a fight and earn some respect but Middle Tennessee takes this one.
Middle Tennessee 34, North Texas 24.