North Texas Daily

The Trilogy: North Texas squares off against Army for third time in 13 months

The Trilogy: North Texas squares off against Army for third time in 13 months

November 15
10:33 2017

For the first time this season, North Texas will not be traveling the week after winning a home game. The Mean Green (7-3, 6-1) take on Army (8-2) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night at Apogee Stadium looking to avenge a 38-31 OT loss in last year’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. 

What to watch for 

The saga continues

These two teams could not be more familiar with each other. This will be their third meeting in the last 13 months, and some bowl projections are already pitting them against each other in the postseason again this year. 

Army averages 29.4 points per game while controlling the time of possession battle (more than 34 minutes each game). While North Texas’ offense has more weapons this year, the spread attack with senior running back Jeffery Wilson as the hammer is the same general theme.

“It helps a lot [that we’ve played them], because we have a feel for them,” senior safety Kishawn McClain said. “We’re not just jumping into something we’ve never done before. We faced them twice last season, and they don’t change too much of what they do.”

The infamous triple-option

Army’s senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and his three primary running backs all average over 5 yards per carry, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that the Black Knights have completed just 17 passes all season.

Everyone knows it’s coming. Whether it’s a wingback or receiver in motion, Bradshaw can fake or give to the fullback with the option of taking off on an option to the outside. It’s incredibly difficult to stay disciplined for an entire game against Army, but the Mean Green have shown success against the Black Knights before.

“You better be extremely disciplined and extremely physical when defending the triple-option,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “Those are the two things they pride themselves on.”

Senior night

North Texas is projected to have six senior starters playing their final game at Apogee Stadium Saturday night. That list includes Wilson, McClain and defensive lineman Andy Flusche among others. 

While it’s not the primary motivation for the Mean Green, the team would certainly enjoy sending their seniors out of Apogee Stadium with a win one last time. 

“That’s huge, but we just play as hard as we can,” sophomore wide receiver Michael Lawrence said. “They know we won’t let them down, and that’s the mentality going into every game.”

Some new motivation

Now that the Conference USA West Division is clinched, the Mean Green’s motivation shifts to a few different things.

One of the team’s goals coming into the season was to go undefeated at home. With this being the final home game, North Texas certainly knows it’s attainable.

The Mean Green are also still bitter about the Heart of Dallas Bowl loss last year, which in and of itself is enough to motivate the team this time around.

“They took something big from us,” Wilson said. “They took something we worked for all [last] season. To have that taste in our mouth, it’s been a game we’ve been waiting for.”

Score predictions:

Matt Brune, Senior Staff Writer: Army 42, North Texas 38

Brady Keane, Sports Editor: North Texas 37, Army 34 OT

Featured Image: North Texas then-junior wide receiver Turner Smiley (1) attempts to catch a pass thrown by senior quarterback Alec Morris during the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Army. Colin Mitchell

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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