Louisiana Tech at North Texas
Start Time: 4:30 PM CST. Saturday, November 5th.
Location: Apogee Stadium. Denton, Texas.
Records: Louisiana Tech: 6-3. UNT: 4-4.
Line: Louisiana Tech -21. O/U: 67.5
The Bulldogs started off the season at 1-3 in their first four games. Then they sort of just decided they didn’t want to lose anymore and won the next five in a row. They’ll be looking to make the streak six against North Texas in what the spread thinks should be an easy game for them. We’ll see about that.
Let’s not waste too much time stating the obvious, La Tech is very good. They have a top 10 NCAA offense and possibly the most dangerous quarterback in the conference. No one should expect the Bulldogs to struggle with putting points on the board in this one. North Texas is going to have to find the end zone on numerous occasions to make this a contest. So how does the Mean Green come away with a victory?
The passing attack of the Bulldogs offense is definitely the core of their game plan. Although the rushing game and their 20 combined touchdowns are nothing to ignore, the team would not be as good if not for their excellent air attack. Louisiana Tech has two receivers with over 1000 yards for the season in Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson. Aside from them, only four other receivers have over 100 yards. It’s very clear that quarterback Ryan Higgins likes to play favorites when he’s putting up his monster numbers.
North Texas, on the other hand, does not allow many passing yards. In their loss to UTSA, they only allowed 142 total passing yards. Currently, the defense is ranked 28th in the NCAA and only allows 202 yards per game to opposing offenses. Considering Louisiana Tech currently ranks 2nd in the NCAA in passing yards with 376 yards per game, we’ve got quite a matchup on our hands.
The Bulldogs defensive unit is decent but nothing too special. They do not force many turnovers and allow a modest 30 points per game to their opponents. All of this to say, don’t expect North Texas to be completely shut down offensively. If the Mean Green can gain offensive momentum, they’ll be able to make this one a shootout.
One would be a blatant liar if they said that they could tell you what North Texas team would show up on the field this weekend. However, the fact that there is even more than one North Texas squad that could show up is what has made this season interesting.
By now we should all know the story. 1-11 last year, hired a new head coach, found a new quarterback and suddenly the program is in bowl game talks. The North Texas coaching staff is built to be an offensive threat with Seth Littrell and Graham Harrell in charge of the unit. Yet, the offense has been the side of the ball has been the most unpredictable.
Unarguably, the largest weapon in the North Texas offensive arsenal is running back Jeffrey Wilson. However, Wilson is not exempt for the unpredictability. In the North Texas loss to Middle Tennessee, he rushed for only 24 yards. He followed that performance with 348 yards rushing and five touchdowns in his next two games. Then picked up only 43 yards on the ground in the team’s loss to UTSA last week. It seems obvious that the team succeeds when Wilson succeeds. If La Tech can stop Wilson then they can all but halt the North Texas offensive productivity.
On the other side of the ball, the Mean Green have shown consistency. Although North Texas lost to UTSA, a large factor in UTSA’s ability to score was the four North Texas turnovers that left them with good field position and a good number of chances to get into the end zone. Aside from that loss, the defense has looked impressive as of late. Most notably, forcing seven turnovers in a North Texas win that was originally predicted to be a double digit loss. If the offense cannot find their rhythm again, the defensive unit will need to play at the same level that they did against Army to secure the victory.
Don’t expect Louisiana Tech to have the same performance in this one that they did against Rice last week. The North Texas defense will get pumped up in front of their home crowd on homecoming weekend and force the Bulldogs to get creative in the offensive game plan. However, the Louisiana Tech defense is much better at defending the rush than they are at defending the pass. North Texas will be forced to go to the air and have a similar game to last week in which they eventually take the loss.
Louisiana Tech 31, North Texas 14.