By Craig Fields
Southern Miss Golden Eagles vs. North Texas Mean Green
Saturday – October 18 – 6:oo pm
Apogee Stadium – Denton
The North Texas Mean Green (2-4, 0-2 C-USA) will look to save their season this Saturday when they play the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (2-4, 0-2 C-USA) at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas.
Both teams desperately need to win if they have any hopes of securing a six win season and becoming bowl eligible. That fact makes a game that would seem otherwise uninteresting, a lot more important. These two teams may not have a plethora of talent, but the hunger to make it to six wins should spice the game up.
The Golden Eagles come into this game ranked, 120th in the nation only collecting 91 rushing yards per game. If they wish to win this game they should try to get running backs freshman Ito Smith and sophomore George Payne as many touches and chances to be productive as possible.
The Mean Green rank 51st in the nation giving up over 140 yards on the ground per game. Even though the Golden Eagles are not known to be a running stopping team this year. Any team giving up over 140 yards per game rushing the ball should expect to get tested early and often.
Counters, draw plays, options, and power plays should all be in effect against this Mean Green team.
Now with that being said, the Golden Eagles rank 37th in the nation at over 267 passing yards per game. Sophomore quarterback Nick Mullens should look to sling it against a defense that is ranked 68th in the country and give up about 240 yards per game. Mean Green cornerbacks James Jones and Kenny Buyers will need to be on alert all game long.
Opportunities should rise where these two have a chance to make a play on the ball and possibly intercept or turn the ball over. In addition to Mullens’ eight touchdowns, he has six interceptions. Sometimes he throws into tight coverage and makes mistakes. If the secondary can stay alert for the entire game there should be plenty of opportunities to knock down balls and bat them away.
For the Mean Green, their priority should be getting consistent and decent play from the quarterback position. Though redshirt freshman Dajon Williams has shown some promise, he has also made many mistakes. While those mistakes are part of the growing pains of playing college football, they do not help you win games and play in bowl game at the end of the year.
The Golden Eagles are 72nd in college football at defending the pass giving up over 240 yards per game. Williams, if he does draw the start on Saturday, should find some pretty big holes or gaps in the secondary. The Golden Eagles do not do a good job of disguising coverages, so anything that Williams wants should be available.
The Golden Eagles also rank 117 in league at run defense and give up over 240 yards on the ground. Mean Green running backs Antoinne Jimmerson, Reggie Pegram and company should look to pound the ball against this softer than a pillow top mattress type defense.
I think that the Mean Green really fight for this one and come away with a much needed win.
Prediction: UNT 45 – South Miss 21