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Preview: Mean Green look to get back on track against ODU

Preview: Mean Green look to get back on track against ODU

North Texas sophomore wide receiver Jalen Guyton celebrates after a catch in a game against the University of Texas at San Antonio on October 14 at Apogee Stadium. North Texas defeated UTSA 29-26. Sara Carpenter

Preview: Mean Green look to get back on track against ODU
October 27
18:57 2017

With Halloween approaching, North Texas (4-3, 3-1) is looking to erase last week’s haunting performance against Florida Atlantic University as it turns its attention towards Old Dominion University (2-5, 0-3) at home this Saturday.

It’s the first meeting in program history between the two schools.

What to watch for

Regaining momentum

Both teams are coming off tough losses in two very different ways. Old Dominion fell to Western Kentucky University 38-35 while North Texas was run over by FAU 69-31.

Fortunately for the Mean Green, they get to play at home after a loss that left everyone in the program feeling frustrated.

“We can’t allow the disappointment to seep into our preparation this week,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “We have to learn from it and everybody has to look in the mirror. The focus is there, [we’re] just ready to get back out there.”

Deja vu for North Texas’ run defense

In his first game back from injury, ODU senior running back Ray Lawry torched the WKU defense for 166 yards and three touchdowns.

Unfortunately, North Texas is coming off its worst defensive performance of the season where it allowed 447 yards rushing to FAU. If the Mean Green cannot slow the production of the ground-and-pound play style of Old Dominion, they could be facing a similar outcome this week.

“We’ve done some good things with our run defense, and this past week wasn’t a reflection of that,” Littrell said. “We have to make sure guys are fitting their gaps, everybody is doing their jobs and in the right spots.”

Reviving Guyton

Sophomore receiver Jalen Guyton was the weapon the Mean Green offense went to when times got tough in the first half of the season against teams like the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Southern Mississippi. Last week, he was completely shut out with not a single catch and just one target.

It is going to be crucial to the explosiveness and overall productivity of the offense to get Guyton involved again – early and often. Though, hitting the deep ball may be a challenge, as Old Dominion has 23 sacks in its first seven games.

“We learned a lot offensively,” sophomore quarterback Mason Fine said. “We can’t come out as flat as we did. Defensively, [ODU] is good up front and good in the secondary. I think the biggest thing this week is just being focused and bringing energy.”

Don’t let the record fool you

While Old Dominion has lost five straight and has lost their first three in Conference USA play, look for the Monarchs to give North Texas a tough game.

For one, they played FAU at least a little more respectfully while losing by eight points fewer than the Mean Green – make of that what you will. Its four other losses have come against three very good teams, including a loss to Western Kentucky. The other was to 1-7 North Carolina.

The Mean Green are not a team that pulls away from their opponents. If the Mean Green want to bounce back this week, they’ll need to demonstrate the ability to start quickly as they did against UTSA earlier this season.

“We have to bounce back from last week,” senior linebacker Joshua Wheeler said. “That was unacceptable. We weren’t disciplined. We weren’t tough. We weren’t selfless. [Had] none of our core values. That’s what we have to get back to this week.”

Score predictions

Matt Brune, Senior Sports Writer: North Texas 28, Old Dominion 27

Brady Keane, Sports Editor: North Texas 42, Old Dominion 38

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore wide receiver Jalen Guyton celebrates after a catch in a game against the University of Texas at San Antonio on October 14 at Apogee Stadium. North Texas defeated UTSA 29-26. Sara Carpenter

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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2 Comments

  1. Joe
    Joe October 26, 12:15

    The ODU WKU game did not go to overtime. Might want to double check that

    Reply to this comment
  2. Tbird4real
    Tbird4real October 27, 18:37

    Does anyone know if J-Guy is going to play. He got pretty dinged up last game

    Reply to this comment

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