DENTON, TX – Coming off their first loss of the season, UTSA enters Saturday’s game at North Texas looking to bounce back. The Roadrunners fell to Southern Miss while the Mean Green are coming off a bye. Before they square off at Apogee Stadium on Saturday evening, here’s what to watch for.
NO. 1 AND NO. 2 CONFERENCE USA SCORING OFFENSES COLLIDE
According ESPN’s statistics, Mean Green currently hosts the top scoring offense in the C-USA averaging 38.8 points per game. In their last outing, UNT’s offense torched Southern Mississippi’s defense — the same Golden Eagles that just handed UTSA its first defeat of their season – for 43 points and a total of 540 yards of offense.
Quarterback Mason Fine passed for 366 yards and two touchdowns in that game with wide receiver Jaylon Guyton accounting for 211 of those yards and a score. Fine is a having a strong year as the UNT quarterback is averaging 288.4 yards per game and an overall passer rating of 154.3.
ESPN lists the Roadrunners as the No. 2 ranked scoring offense in the conference averaging 35.3 points per contest. Last Saturday, after a slow start that saw momentum stunted by penalties, UTSA’s offense finally clicked late behind quarterback Dalton Sturm’s 367 passing yards and three touchdowns performance.
The Roadrunners scored 29 points and gained 469 yards of total offense in a losing effort against Southern Mississippi. UTSA will need for Sturm – averaging 256.5 passing yards per game — to have another big showing if the Roadrunners are to keep pace with the high-scoring Mean Green attack.
A DEFENSIVE EDGE
UTSA has a clear advantage when it comes to defense. The Roadrunners are ranked No. 1 in the conference in average yards allowed per game (269.8), and ranked No. 2 in average points per game at 18. Eric Banks (No. 3), La’Kel Bass (No. 6) and Marcus Davenport (No. 7) are all ranked in the top 10 in C-USA in the tackles for loss category. Also, Banks (No. 1), Deveron Davis (No. 4) and Davenport (No. 5) are ranked in the top five in the fumbles forced category.
It’s a front that is quick, powerful and often makes big plays. The Mean Green offensive line is going to have their hands full protecting the quarterback.
UNT’s weakness is their defense. Mean Green is the C-USA No. 8 ranked unit in average yards per game allowed (400.8), and No. 11 at 34 points per game allowed. The unit’s main struggle is their lack of pass stopping abilities: UNT allows an average of 272.4 passing yards a game. With the way UTSA’s aerial attack has been playing lately, it could be a long night for Mean Green’s cornerbacks.
OLD-FASHIONED TEXAS SHOOTOUT
For as good as the UTSA defense is, the potent Mean Green offense is likely to have its moments and put up points before all is said and done. UTSA’s passing attack will probably have several opportunities against UNT’s secondary, so look for the possibility that Sturm and the offense will have a big game and light up the scoreboard. It should be a fun battle to watch.
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