By Craig Fields
North Texas Mean Green vs. UTEP Miners
Saturday – November 15 – 9:00 pm
TV: FOX Sports 1
Sun Bowl – El Paso
The North Texas Mean Green (3-6) will take on the UTEP Miners (5-4) in El Paso this weekend in a game that will mean a lot to both of these squads. Both of these teams will be playing for the chance to get into the postseason. The Miners will be looking to clinch a postseason berth opportunity with one more win, while the Mean Green will need to win their remaining three games to get into a bowl game for the second year in a row.
This game might be a short one as both teams definitely prefer to run the bowl rather than throw it. The Miners rank 119th in the nation in passing offense, while the Mean Green are only marginally better at 111th.
Even though both teams prefer to run the ball, the Miners do it much more efficiently as they garner over 210 yards on the ground per game which is good for 32nd in the nation. The Mean Green manage over 158 yards per game and rank 70th in the nation.
The Mean Green are coming off of one of their better games of the season after beating the Florida Atlantic Owls, 31-10. They had a dominant defensive performance that allowed them to hold the quarterback to under 100 yards passing and to hold the entire team under 100 yards rushing the ball.
They will need to have the same level of intensity and fire in this one if they wish to do the same thing to an overpowering rushing attack.The Miners have a sophomore named Aaron Jones who runs like a man possessed. He is averaging almost six yards per carry and has already eclipsed his rushing yards total of the entire season last year. He along with senior Nathan Jeffery will be the most used and important pieces to a relatively single faceted offense.
The Mean Green will be handing the ball off to their two dynamic running backs as well. Antoinne Jimmerson and Reggie Pegram will try to repeat the success they shared against the Owls. They combined for 200 yards and pretty much helped the Mean Green control the time of possession.
They will be facing a defense that does not really have a strong front seven. A talented and experienced offensive line headed by the senior and captain Mason Y’Barbo will be charged with opening up holes for the running backs and protecting junior Andrew McNulty. If McNulty is given time to throw in the pocket, look for him to find junior wide receiver Carlos Harris just enough to keep the defense and their secondary honest.
This game will be in El Paso, and it is for that reason that I am picking the UTEP Miners to win the game. It should be a close one but in the end I think the home team make just enough plays to get the job done.
Prediction: UTEP Miners 28 – UNT Mean Green 24