By Craig Fields
Florida Atlantic Owls vs. North Texas Mean Green
Saturday – November 8 – 6:00 pm
TV: FCS Network
Apogee Stadium – Denton
The North Texas Mean Green will look to salvage what little they can from this season when they face the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday. The Mean Green need this win in the worst way. They will have to win their remaining four games in order to become bowl eligible this season.
Even though the Owls are not a good team by any stretch of the imagination, I still cannot see the Mean Green winning this game. I’ll tell you why. It’s simple really. The Mean Green have no quarterback play. They do not have a consistent run game, and they do not have a stout defense.
Now with that being said, the Owls have all of those problems that I mentioned above as well; except for the quarterback issue. They know who their quarterback will be day in and day out. And while that does lend itself to a certain comfort level, the Owls have parlayed that steady quarterbacking figure head to a 3-6 record and a slim chance at making a bowl game.
If the Mean Green are going to pull off this needed streak of four straight wins in order to qualify for a bowl game, then they will need to start one game at a time. One play at a time. And that play will start with the quarterback, who for the time being, is Andrew McNulty.
Of the three quarterbacks that have played this year for the Mean Green, McNulty has shown that he is the most accurate and least turnover prone. He has not been able to parlay that into wins for this team, but it is a start.
He will need to be able to consistently find the seam and big play receiver Carlos Harris. Both juniors have really found a level of chemistry that has resulted in big plays and performances in the passing game. They will need to be of one mind on Saturday in order to take advantage of the Owls’ soft play on cornerbacks.
Running backs Reggie Pegram and Antoinne Jimmerson will look to find creases in the defense and rack up a few yards this weekend. Behind a senior laden offensive line, the two most effective running backs for the Mean Green will need to show that they are a threat to break a big one on the ground.
However, the most important thing will be the play of the defense. The Mean Green defense has struggled in a way that few expected this season. I think that can be directly attributed to lack of chemistry and overall talent. This defense only returned three or four starters from last year. These guys have not even had a full season to gel yet.
Even though it is a valid excuse, the college football season waits for no man. If McCarney wants win any game the rest of the way, he has to find a way to drastically improve his defense. Point blank end of story.
Players who will be looking to expose the problems with this defense include Owls’ quarterback Jaquez Johnson, running back Jay Warren, and the quick and elusive senior wide receiver, Lucky Whitehead.
Johnson is a dual threat quarterback who looks more comfortable scrambling then throwing the ball in the pocket at times. The front seven of the defense will need to be on their toes when rushing this guy because he can slip out the pocket and hurt you with his legs.
When Johnson does decide to throw the ball, he likes to target his favorite receiver, Whitehead. Whitehead stands at 5’10 but has all the speed, craftiness, route running, and catching ability that Carlos Harris does. Whether being guarded by cornerback James Jones or Kenny Buyers, each one of those guys will need to be sure to keep a body on him.
Honestly I think that this will be one of the more competitive games of the season for the Mean Green. I think they run out of the tunnel excited and ready to play. I think that they actually get a lead in this game. But, I think they lose it in the end.
Prediction: FAU 38 – UNT 27