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Houston Cougars vs. North Texas Mean Green Game Preview

Houston enters new territory against Mason Fine and the Mean Green

Houston v Memphis Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Now that the dust settled, Houston can get back to playing football. This time, with a couple new faces. Clayton Tune takes over as the starting quarterback for the Cougars, and the offense will look slightly different. They won’t receive much sympathy from North Texas, who will look to push the Cougars to 1-4. How Tune plays will go a long way in determining the outcome.

Date: September 28, 2019
Start time: 7:00pm CT
How to watch: Facebook
Series: Tied 7-7
Last Meeting: Houston defeated UNT 44-21 in 2012
Line: North Texas -7.5
Location: Apogee Stadium (Denton, TX)

Houston Cougars players to watch

QB Clayton Tune
WR Courtney Lark
LB Zamar Kirven
S Gervarrius Owens

North Texas Mean Green players to watch

QB Mason Fine
RB Tre Siggers
WR Jaelon Darden
LB KD Davis

Houston Cougars keys to the game

  • Get Tune comfortable
  • New faces step up
  • Pressure Fine

North Texas Mean Green keys to the game

  • Pressure up the middle
  • Take deep shots
  • Ball security

Why Houston wins

Dana Holgorsen’s made one thing clear: D’Eriq King and Keith Corbin’s decisions to redshirt don’t change Houston’s goals for the seasons. This game isn’t unwinnable because they’re gone. It’s just more difficult. Clayton Tune takes over for King, and he’ll give the Cougars a different skillset at quarterback. We know he can make big throws, but he’ll need time. Interior pressure remains the biggest concern for the Houston offense, and keeping Tune upright will do wonders for his confidence. There are still plenty of playmakers everywhere to torch the Mean Green defense. Houston’s defense must find ways to rattle Mason Fine and disguise their calls. Fine is a coach on the field, and will sniff out blitzes and coverages if you don’t hide your intentions.

Why North Texas wins

As we mentioned above, getting pressure on Tune means attacking Houston’s guards and center. Getting in Tune’s head early on will have a positive effect for the Mean Green defense. Pressure will lead to turnover from the Cougars, and all Mason Fine and the North Texas offense must do is hang on to the football. Fine will succeed by taking deep shots against Houston’s secondary. Besides Damarion Williams, there isn’t a lockdown player in coverage for the Cougars. If Fine can identify where Williams is, he can learn where the weaknesses are and adjust accordingly. Taking shots downfield has worked for every opponent Houston’s faced, and it should work for North Texas too.


Houston must find a new identity on offense with Tune running the show. It shouldn’t take long, and the coaching staff should find a way to cater to his skillset. It all comes down to protecting him, which is something Houston struggled with even when King was running the show. North Texas is ready to make a statement, and it becomes a matter of how long it will take for Houston to get back up and running. NORTH TEXAS 41 HOUSTON 31