By Craig Fields
North Texas Mean Green vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
Saturday – October 3 – 6:00 pm CT
M.M. Roberts Stadium – Hattiesburg
UNT (0-3, 0-1 C-USA) has struggled to this point in the season, and unfortunately things do not seem as if they will be getting any easier this weekend when they travel to Roberts Stadium to take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (2-2, 0-0 C-USA).
The Mean Green have struggled to put together consistent offense this year. And they have struggled to stop anybody this year. A combination that is not conducive to wins.
They are only scoring 18 points a game and allowing their opponents to score 44 points per game. The defense has been too soft and the offense has been too predictable. In all three games this season there appears to be a lack of trust by the coaching staff of the players.
What I mean by that is that there seems to be a very short leash on what the coaches allow the players to do. This is most apparent in play calling. Both sides of the ball are vanilla and predictable.
They will need to switch things up against the Golden Eagles. That team can score, and score A LOT. They are averaging about 40 points per game are actually one week removed from having back-to-back 50+ scoring games; games that they won by the way.
The most important matchup may be the depleted secondary of the Mean Green against an offense and more specifically a quarterback that can move the ball easily. Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens can sling the rock and already has over 1,300-yards passing yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
He has plenty of options in the passing game and his top three wide receivers are all capable of making the big catch. The Mean Green secondary will need to win their one-on-one matchups with each of those receivers.
Even though they are missing a couple of starters in the secondary due to injury, they will still need to figure out a way to cover the receivers long enough to give the front seven a chance to sack the quarterback.
On the offensive side of the ball the Mean Green will look to their running game. Running backs Antoinne Jimmerson and Jeffrey Wilson have done a pretty decent job rushing the ball this season. In fact their effort might be the lone bright spot of the season.
However if the Mean Green want to win this game, it will take rushing the ball good quarterback play, and no turnovers. Turnovers have really killed UNT this season. You cannot turn the ball over against a team with a good offensive unit like the Golden Eagles.
To be fair they do give up 32 points a game, but the Golden Eagles offense is good enough to compensate for a pretty average defense.
Prediction: This game does not look good for the Mean Green. I think that their offense will be able to score a little bit, but ultimately the Mean Green defense will give up too many points. UNT 27, Southern Miss 56.