North Texas Daily

Mean Green look to take control of C-USA

Mean Green look to take control of C-USA

Mean Green look to take control of C-USA
October 17
14:48 2018

North Texas (6-1, 2-1 Conference USA) found itself back to double-digit wins after its 30-7 win over Southern Miss Saturday afternoon at Apogee Stadium. The Mean Green looks to return to the top of the conference as they travel to face the University of Alabama-Birmingham at Legion Field.

The first place Blazers host North Texas Saturday night as the two top teams in the C-USA West Division compete. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, North Texas is the favorite in this matchup. However, this will be the Mean Green’s lowest chance to win a game so far this season, with a 56.9 percent probability.

The Blazers are currently undefeated against divisional opponents in C-USA with a 3-0 record and are currently No. 6 nationally in defense, allowing 283.8 yards per game. The Alabama-Birmingham defense has made record-setting strides this season, especially, in conference play.

In three C-USA games, Alabama-Birmingham has allowed 14 points (4.6 per game) and has tallied 13 total sacks. The Blazers are coming off a 42-0 win at Rice. Alabama-Birmingham put up a total of 482 offensive yards along with seven touchdowns, one of which was from a blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone. Alabama-Birmingham’s shutout victory against Rice marks the first time in school history the Blazers have had two shutouts in the same season.

The Blazers scheduled North Texas for their homecoming game, and running back Deandre Torrey said that didn’t sit well with North Texas.

“I’m a little upset they booked us for their homecoming game,” Torrey said. “They’re basically labeling us as an easy win. I’m looking to spoil that.”

Torrey is fresh off of a game where he ran for 95 yards on 17 carries and scored three rushing touchdowns. Head coach Seth Littrell was very pleased with Torrey’s performance against Southern Miss.

“[Torrey] had some very physical runs, especially ones at the goal line where he was running through people for the extra four yards to get the touchdown,” Littrell said. “I thought he did a great job, and as of right now, he’ll be a big part of our plans this week.”

The Mean Green look to impose their will on offense against the Blazers. Through seven games, North Texas is averaging 479 yards per game, No. 22 in FBS. Mason Fine has completed 64.7 percent of his passes (174/269) for 2,210 yards with 16 touchdowns to just one interception in his seven starts.

Fine will be looking to connect with his wide receivers early and often. North Texas’ leading wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. has been crucial to Fine’s success, putting up 45 receptions for 573 yards and eight touchdowns on the season.

“I’m not going to lie, it doesn’t worry me too much,” Bussey Jr. said. “I’ve watched film and their corners aren’t bad, [but] I’m confident in myself and our team, and I know that we can do whatever we want offensively.”

North Texas seems to have found their offensive prowess just in time for another match up against a top ranked defensive team. The game will be aired on beIN network and kickoff will start at 6:30 p.m. The Mean Green and the Blazers will battle for the top of C-USA. If North Texas wins, they will sit at 3-1 in C-USA and will be in first place in the Western division with the head-to-head victory over Alabama-Birmingham. If the Blazers win, they will be 4-0 and will be the only undefeated team remaining in the West.

Featured Image: Sophomore running back Deandre Torrey (13) carries the ball in a game against Southern Miss last Saturday at Apogee Stadium. Sarah Shaw

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Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

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