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Preview: North Texas looks to open C-USA play with win over UAB

Preview: North Texas looks to open C-USA play with win over UAB

Sophomore quarterback Mason Fine tosses the ball to senior running back Jeffery Wilson in a game against Southern Methodist University on Sept. 9. The Mean Green fell to SMU 54-32. Sara Carpenter

Preview: North Texas looks to open C-USA play with win over UAB
September 22
09:54 2017

North Texas looks to stop a two-game losing skid this season, while the University of Alabama Birmingham (2-1) hopes to remain undefeated against the Mean Green (1-2), winning the two prior meetings between the schools in 1995 and 2014.

UAB run game vs. North Texas front seven

The strength of the Blazers’ offense is going directly against the strength of the North Texas defense. In its first three games UAB has averaged 254.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks 16th in the country.

Meanwhile, the Mean Green’s front seven and even their two safeties have been great at nullifying the opposing team’s run game. North Texas is allowing just 3.4 yards per carry and 141 yards per game.

“It starts up front with our D-line,” Littrell said. “[UAB] is a really good run football team. We’ve done a pretty decent job with our run defense, and we have to continue to do that. It will be a big key.”

Big plays from the Mean Green

North Texas has not been bashful about taking its shots deep so far this season. Its average completion goes for 12.7 yards while UAB allows 10.1 yards per catch.

Sophomore wide receiver Jalen Guyton and company should have their opportunities down the field as the offense is averaging more than 35 points per game and has proven to be dangerous.

“I’m just happy we’re making plays,” wide receiver coach Joel Falini said. “From year one to year two it’s been a big jump, [with] a lot of guys ready to work so it’s good to see they’re executing their game.”

Jeffery Wilson

After struggling against Southern Methodist University, a team who loaded the box in an effort to stuff the run and force Mason Fine to throw the ball, senior running back Jeffery Wilson returned to form against Iowa last weekend.

Wilson ran for 95 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. The lone score was an explosive 41-yard run through the heart of the Hawkeyes’ defense.

While UAB only allows 3.4 yards per carry, it hasn’t faced a running back near Wilson’s caliber in its three previous games.

“I thought we did a good job of running the football [against Iowa],” Littrell said. “They gave us some opportunities to run the football, and [I] felt like we did a nice job staying balanced throughout the game.”

Level of competition

In their first three games, the Mean Green faced Lamar University at home, SMU on the road and Iowa on the road. In comparison, UAB played Alabama A&M University at home, Ball State University on the road and Coastal Carolina University at home.

The Blazers lost their lone road game to Ball State, 51-31.

The competition the Mean Green faced early in the season should prepare them well for this game and Conference USA play in general. The only downside is that they may be beat up physically from the last two games.

“The games we played, we faced some good competition,” sophomore safety Khairi Muhammad said. “We played some good schemes from some good coordinators and going into Conference USA it’s not going to stop, so we just need to stay hungry and execute.”

Score Prediction: North Texas 38, UAB 21

Featured Image: Sophomore quarterback Mason Fine tosses the ball to senior running back Jeffery Wilson in a game against Southern Methodist University on Sept. 9. The Mean Green fell to SMU 54-32. 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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1 Comment

  1. UAB ALUM
    UAB ALUM September 20, 12:01

    Looking forward to going to the game Saturday. I’m a Blazer alum who currently resides in Richardson and I cant wait to see Apogee Stadium. Prediction: UNT 37 UAB 20.

    Reply to this comment

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