By Craig Fields
North Texas Mean Green vs Iowa Hawkeyes
Saturday – September 26 – 2:30 pm CT
Kinnick Stadium – Iowa City
The North Texas Mean Green (0-2) will be taking on a tough Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0) team at their home stadium. There are a couple of story lines here worth exploring. For one, Head Coach Dan McCarney of the Mean Green actually played at Iowa and coached there. Quarterback Andrew McNulty also played high school football in Iowa City, Iowa. So this will be a homecoming for both of these guys. The Mean Green faithful just hope that added pressure does not get to the two most important members of the team.
The Mean Green will definitely have their work cut out for them against a very decent Iowa team. The Hawkeyes went 7-6 last year and have looked a lot better so far this season. Well on their way to securing another bowl berth, the Hawkeyes use a mixture of defense and offense to get their wins.
The Hawkeyes have held opponents to about 18 points per game while scoring 30 points a game themselves. So things have been coming together for the Hawkeyes, and the Mean Green will have the task of trying to give those guys their first loss of the season… Good luck.
It is no secret that the Mean Green will try to set up the pass by establishing themselves with the run. McNulty needs that added dimension to make the play-action more effective. That means more touches for running back Antoinne Jimmerson. He actually upped his touches from 10 in week one to 13 in week two. Look for that number to increase even more as the coach McCarney should realize that he is one of his only playmakers on the team.
Speaking of playmakers, wide receiver Carlos Harris for the Mean Green is arguably the most dangerous guy on this team. He reaffirmed this last week when he got loose against the Rice Owls secondary for a 93-yard touchdown. Not only is a long ball threat, but he knows how to make possession catches and run precise routes to get open in the middle of the defense. Look for McNulty to get try to get him involved early and often.
The Mean Green’s need to run to set up the pass, may play right into the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes because they are only allowing an average of 51-yards on the ground per game. That is amazing run defense. Their front seven are aggressive and sure tacklers.
The Hawkeyes offensive strong suit is kind of hard to pin down. Their strength might actually be their diversity and ability to run or pass with efficiency. Their running game is not really predicated on how effective the passing game is, and vice versa.
The Hawkeyes quarterback, C.J. Beathard can beat you with his arm or his legs. Like so many other quarterbacks in college sports, this guy is a dual threat. But where he might differ from other qbs is that he does not make many mistakes or have that many mental lapses in a game. The junior has only had one turnover all season long to seven touchdowns, four passing and three rushing. Talk about efficient. It has been apparent in his games that Beathard trusts his defense as well. He does not try to force the issue or feel like he has to make a play in order for his team to win.
This Hawkeyes team is better than last year’s team and that does not bode well for the Mean Green. North Texas will fight to the end, but ultimately fall short in this one.
Prediction: Iowa 38 – North Texas 13