North Texas Daily

Mean Green hope to ride momentum into Charlotte

Mean Green hope to ride momentum into Charlotte

Mean Green hope to ride momentum into Charlotte
October 23
13:12 2019

The week nine matchup for the Mean Green will introduce a new opponent for the third time this season. North Texas football (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the Charlotte 49ers (2-5, 0-3 C-USA) in the first game between the two programs in history.

Head coach Seth Littrell is prepared for the challenges that are presented when facing an opponent for the first time after playing Abilene Christian (4-4, 3-3) and California (4-3, 1-3 Pac 12) earlier this season. Those were the first games against those respective opponents as well.

“We still got to continue to build these guys up and get better and have an exciting week in order to play a very good football team on the road,” Littrell said. “They’re all challenging in this league, as you can see. There [are] a lot of great teams, a lot of great players and we need to have a great week in order to have success.

Both redshirt sophomore running back Tre Siggers and junior tailback DeAndre Torrey will be game-time decisions after suffering injuries in the past two weeks, respectively according to Littrell.

The 49ers have dropped their past four contests, including a 52-10 loss to No. 4 Clemson (7-0, 5-0) in South Carolina. Their last win came against Massachusetts (1-6) by a score of 52-17. Despite a negative 60-point scoring margin through seven games, Charlotte has been outgunned by 88 yards and hold a .1 yard per play advantage over their opponents.

The 49ers offense has flown mostly out of the backfield, with senior running back Benny LeMay standing as the leading rusher. LeMay currently has 667 rushing yards, 224 more than the next highest rusher. The Doak Walker Award watchlist member is averaging 95 yards per game and has tallied five rushing touchdowns.

LeMay isn’t a one-dimensional back, as he has caught 17 passes for 204 yards and three receiving touchdowns, putting him atop the touchdown count for the 49ers. Sophomore linebacker KD Davis is preparing the defense to stop LeMay this weekend.

“He’s pretty good, he’s shifty,” Davis said. “He just likes to run downhill. We just want to add onto [the Middle Tennessee win] and just keep winning, and winning every week.”

A key matchup for the Mean Green will be how starting offensive tackles Elex Woodworth and Jacob Brammer can handle the 49ers’ defensive ends redshirt senior Alex Highsmith and sophomore Markees Watts. Highsmith holds the school records for sacks in a game, season and career and is currently 10th in FBS (second in C-USA) in sacks (7.5). Woodworth earned his first start of the year last week as tackle Deandre Plantin was not deemed healthy.

Charlotte’s defense is 14th in FBS in total sacks with 23 (third in C-USA) and they’ve already broken their previous team sack season total of 21 with five games left on the schedule. Senior quarterback Mason Fine believes in the preparation that the offensive line is taking to ensure his protection on Saturday.

“I think [Chuck] Langston is going to do a great job of putting that [offensive] line in great spots to be successful and we’re gonna do a lot of things to help,” Fine said. “I’m going to just keep doing my job. Execute the play call, have great eyes [and] get the ball out.”

Fine passed former quarterback Steve Ramsey for career passing touchdowns in North Texas history earlier this season, but his one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown against Middle Tennessee moved him up to tie Mitch Maher for the lead spot in career touchdowns responsible (85). Fine has pulled ahead to a double digit lead over Ramsey for passing touchdowns with 79 so far.

North Texas will enter Jerry Richards Stadium for the first time in program history for a 3:30 p.m. matchup Oct. 26. Littrell wants to get past the Middle Tennessee game and continue to go “1-0” each week.

“If we’re not a week better this week, we won’t win the football game,” Littrell said. “We got to be better than we were this past week in order to win.”

Featured Image: Senior quarterback Mason Fine calls for the snap at the game against Middle Tennessee on Oct. 19, 2019. Image by Jordan Collard

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Zachary Cottam

Zachary Cottam

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