SMU Mustangs at North Texas Mean Green Preview

Matt Davis and the Mustangs are looking to set the tone for a great season. Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch
Matt Davis and the Mustangs are looking to set the tone for a great season.
Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch
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By Zach Walker

Game Info
SMU Mustangs vs. North Texas Mean Green
Saturday – September 3 – 6:00 p.m.
Apogee Stadium – Denton – Texas

Records Before the Game
SMU Mustangs: 0-0 (0-0 in AAC)
North Texas Mean Green: 0-0 (0-0 in C-USA)

Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: The Mustangs need to discourage the Mean Green early. The Mean Green ended up giving up an average of 41 points a game last year. The Mustangs stomp on the gas pedal, and keep their hoof planted, it’ll be a highly psychological factor to the game. The Mustangs have all of the firepower on their side of the field. The combination of Matt Davis throwing to Courtland Sutton is something few teams are equipped to handle and that short list does not include UNT. The ground game of the Mustangs should be successful, especially if the Mean Green defense is spread out and forced to remove linebackers in favor of defensive backs to cover the wide receivers, because the Mustangs do like to run from spread-gun formations. Xavier Jones and Braeden West could have big games each. The Mean Green have some players that could emerge as stars for their defense. Jarrian Roberts and Malik Dilonga are the Mean Green’s best pass rushers, and Josh Wheeler is going to be the linebacker most likely trying to catch Matt Davis down from behind, when Davis takes off running.

When UNT has the ball: Question marks are rampant for North Texas. They have one thing that they do know, however is that Alec Morris will be their starter. The Alabama transfer is bringing that Saban style of poise to a team that lacks it. Former Texas Tech ace quarterback Graham Harrell is the new North Texas offensive coordinator. The Mean Green faithful are hoping that Harrell can showcase an offense through Morris that can entice a quarterback to come to Denton and throw 500 passes a season. The running back Jeffery Wilson is one of few players that is standing on solid ground. The back should see his carries diminish because they are going to throw the ball considerably more this year, but Wilson almost averages five yards per carry for his career, so they really need to know when to pepper in their running game. The Mustangs are going to need their defensive backs to play well in this game for the Mustangs to keep the Mean Green at bay. William Jeanlys and Darrion Millines are going to be tested well against an onslaught of passes thrown their way. The pass rush needs to be there too. Mason Gentry, Zelt Minor, Justin Lawler, and Deon Green need to make Alec Morris’ world much smaller.

What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Get out early, score touchdowns on the first two drives and force the ball to be thrown a lot more than it needs to be from the Mean Green. The Mustangs need to run the ball to open up the aerial game for Sutton to take advantage of.

Prediction: SMU 42 – UNT 34