Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST / 2:30 p.m. CST
Location: L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
Radio: Mean Green Radio Network, WKU Sports Live
Live Stats: CBS GameTracker
Betting Line: WKU -28.5, O/U 65
Series Record: UNT leads 4-3. WKU has won the last 3 meetings in a row.
North Texas Mean Green
As we head into the latter half the season, the outlook for teams is less “up in the air” than it is “all but certain.” Sure, there could be some surprises here or there, like MTSU losing their QB for the rest of the season, but after back-to-back losses against UTSA and Louisiana Tech, the Mean Green stand at 4-5 and are two losses a way from losing out on a bowl game altogether.
The fact that there would even be uncertainty at this point in the season is something of a moral victory for UNT, as winning even two games would double last seasons total, and move them on the long path back to respectability. Four wins far exceeded our wildest expectations, and we hope they can continue on this path headed into an uncertain 2017.
Through nine games, freshman QB Mason Fine has six touchdown passes and 1563 passing yards, or roughly half as many yards and a quarter of the TDs thrown by his WKU counterpart, Mike White. Star Running Back Jeffrey Wilson and standout WR Thaddeous Thompson have been nice surprises, and we expect decent numbers this week, but last week they lost soundly to the presumptive C-USA West winner. This week, they square off in the home stadium of the projected C-USA East winner.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
We hope the above section didn’t spoil it for you-- Western Kentucky is winning the C-USA East.
With Brent Stockstill out and the ODU/WKU tiebreaker already decided by five touchdowns, WKU has over a four touchdown spread this week, followed by a bye week, as they sharpen their claws and prepare to deal the killing blow to floundering Marshall in their big rivalry game. The Tops’ season has been outstanding, and at 7-3 (including a 1-pt OT loss to Vanderbilt), this is absolutely the team to beat in the conference.
Junior Mike White has done the Toppers proud, already at over 3000 passing yards on the season going into the final two weeks that are basically scrimmages at this point. Leading rusher Anthony Wales enters the game with 936 yards and will go over 1000 during this game; WR Nicholas Norris is at 934 yards and will also go over 1000. The takeaway there is Norris isn’t even the leading receiver for the Toppers— that would be Taywan Taylor who’s at 1174 yards and climbing.
The Mean Green have had an outstanding defense in many games this season, but even that has its limits, as last weeks 21-point loss to Louisiana Tech showed. When the Bulldogs played the Tops earlier this season, the margin of victory was a field goal. Whichever of those teams turns out to ultimately be the best team in the conference, neither of them have the word “rebuilding” used in internet articles about them.
FINAL SCORE: Western Kentucky 42, North Texas 24