By Craig Fields
North Texas Mean Green vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Saturday – November 7 – 2:30 pm CT
Joe Aillet Stadium – Ruston, Louisiana
The North Texas Mean Green (1-7, 1-4) travel to Louisiana to take on the La Tech Bulldogs (6-3, 4-1) in a match that will test the Mean Green in just about every way possible.
The Bulldogs are tied for first in their division and are an all-around good football team. Led by their senior quarterback, Jeff Driskel, the Bulldogs have a passing attack that is both dangerous and unpredictable.
Junior Trent Taylor, all 5’8 180-pounds of him, is a dangerous little and speedy receiver that is at his most dangerous when lined up in the slot against a linebacker or against a safety. He can also beat cornerbacks 1-on-1 as well because his route running ability is that good. He has over 1000 yards receiving and seven touchdowns on the year. He is like a Wes Welker/Cole Beasley/Julian Edelman type clone. Look for Driskel to try to pinpoint his favorite receiver early and often.
Now back to Driskel. People might know him from his time at Florida. That’s right. At one time Driskel was the quarterback for the Florida Gators and actually led them to an 11-1 record and #9 ranking in the nation.
However after an injury temporarily derailed what appeared to be a promising career, Gator nation showed that they had little patience for the qb that was struggling to regain his Heisman hopeful form. After being scapegoated as the reason for Florida’s problems and losses, he was granted a transfer to LA Tech in 2015.
Now, much to the chagrin of everyone else in C-USA, the Bulldogs have a dual threat quarterback with pressure game experience, a very good arm, and the decision making ability that just makes you shake your head and go, “That kid might make it at the next level.”
Just a preview of what the UNT defense has to deal with: Driskel has passed for almost 2,800 yards, completes about 62 percent of his passes, has 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The guy can flat out sling the rock. He is also the second leading rusher on his team. Expect a big game out of him especially in front of his home crowd.
UNT quarterback DaMarcus Smith, a dual-threat quarterback in his own right, should have opportunities to make plays with his arm and legs because the La Tech defense is ranked 50th overall. That’s not awful, but that’s not great either.
They give up about 370 yards per game to their opponent. However, that is mostly through the air because they give up less than 100 yards on the ground and are currently ranked ninth in rushing defense.
Wide receiver Carlos Harris becomes all the more important in a game like this because Smith will need to be able to pass the ball to get the offense moving. Harris, Smith’s favorite receiver, will need to win his matchup and get open because there are not that many offensive weapons on this team in the passing game.
Running back Jeffrey Wilson, who has really caught fire lately and rushed for 265 yards over his last two games might find it more difficult to get yards against the Bulldogs front seven. It is for these reasons that the Mean Green will again find themselves on the losing side of yet another road game.
Prediction: La Tech 48 – North Texas 17