By Craig Fields
UTSA Roadrunners vs. North Texas Mean Green
Saturday – October 31 – 6:00 pm CT
Apogee Stadium – Denton, Texas
The North Texas Mean Green (0-7, 0-4 C-USA) will be taking on the UTSA Roadrunners on Halloween night at Apogee stadium in Denton, Texas. But unlike Halloween night, the Mean Green’s opponent does not seem so scary.
UNT will be looking to pick up their first win of the season, and this game is probably their most winnable game for the rest of the season. The Roadrunners have one of the worst offenses in Conference USA, which should open up some opportunities for UNT to do some scoring of their own if their defense can figure out a way to stop the Roadrunners.
UTSA will try to establish a run game early behind the legs of their starting running back, Jarveon Williams. He averages about 90 yards a game, while that is not a lot, UNT does itself no favors by giving up over 250 rush yards per game. UNT’s defense has made bad offenses look good this season, so there is no doubt that UTSA will have opportunities to make plays on the ground. The variable will be if the Mean Green can minimize those chances enough to finally get a win.
Mean Green quarterback DaMarcus Smith should have a lot of opportunities to move the ball down the field, but he will need to improve on his accuracy if he hopes to scare a defense into guarding the pass and not just his legs. So far Smith is only completing 42.2 percent of his passes, and passes longer than 15 yards are a challenge for the mobile QB.
He has been able to find his main weapon, Carlos Harris, a lot of times, excluding the last game, but has not really seemed to have built a rapport with any other receivers on the team. This makes the passing game one dimensional, predictable, and easy to stop.
UTSA has a pretty good cornerback, Bennett Okotcha. He was a preseason All C-USA selection and has played fairly well breaking up nine passes on the season and picking the ball off twice so far. It will be interesting to see if UTSA head coach Larry Coker, most known for his years with the Miami Hurricanes, will try to line up Okotcha with Harris to take him out of the game.
This game shapes up pretty well for the Mean Green but I still do not see how they pull it off. The defense is just too bad, and I think Smith is too inexperienced to know how to win a football game. North Texas loses a heartbreaker, 35-21.