UNT Mean Green (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) vs UNLV Rebels (1-1, Mountain West)
Time and Date: 3:00 PM ET, September 17
Broadcast Network: Mountain West Network
Location: Allegiant Stadium - Las Vegas, NV
ESPN FPI: UNLV, 63.2%
Line: UNLV -3*
Point Total: 59*
All-Time Series: UNLV leads the all-time series against UNT, 4-1
Last Meeting: UNT 46, UNLV 14 - January 1, 2014 (Heart of Dallas Bowl)
Current Streak: North Texas, 1
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
As expected, UNT bounced back and clobbered Texas Southern 59-27 this past weekend to move to 2-1. The Mean Green exploded for 35 points in the second quarter alone and put up 607 yards of total offense. While it is a limited sample size, Head Coach Seth Littrell has to be happy with the progress his quarterback has made.
Last season, Austin Aune completed just 50% of his passes and had 9 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 13 games played (9 starts). This year, he is off to a much more healthy start with 7 TDs to only 2 interceptions in 3 games played. However, you hope to see the quarterback still improve his accuracy as he is once again sitting right at a 50% completion rate.
The Mean Green appear to still be strong at the running back position, splitting carries between a potent duo of Ayo Adeyi and Oscar Adaway III. Ayo Adeyi transferred in from Division II Harding University and has run for 257 yards and a score on a 7 yards per carry average. Meanwhile, Adaway III is returning from an ACL tear that kept him out all last season and he has rushed for 225 yards and 4 scores with a 5.2 yard per carry average.
However, defense has presented some for UNT, particularly against the pass thus far. Texas Southern were 2-8 last year and managed more points against UNT than they could score against FCS Prairie View A&M in Week 1. Meanwhile, UNT were defeated soundly at home 48-10 against SMU two weeks ago. That being said, in their first game against UTEP, they held the Miners to 13 against a quarterback known for deep passing abilities. If UNT wants to get back to a bowl game, they will need to be a bit more consistent there.
Meanwhile, UNLV needs to move forward after an agonizing loss to Cal last week. While the Rebels were down 14-0 early, they came back and could have won the game during their final two drives. UNLV were down six late in the fourth but found themselves in a first and goal with the ability to pull forward with a touchdown and extra point. However, the Rebels drive stalled and they turned the ball over on downs. While the Rebels got the ball back with a minute left and were 42 yards from the end zone, their Hail Mary attempt was picked off by the Golden Bears as time expired.
UNLV are still very much a mystery very early on in the season. They handily beat FCS Idaho State 52-21, but that was to be expected since ISU went 1-10 last season. While UNLV probably should have beaten Cal, it was not a particularly impressive performance on either side of the ball. Half of their 12 offensive drives were turned over on downs or were three and outs. The Rebels were miserable on third down the entire day converting only one time. On the defensive side of the ball, the Rebels gave up 241 yards of offense to Idaho State and 370 yards to Cal while only forcing two turnovers on the season so far.
This game is very unpredictable and I could see either side winning in a close one. Since UNLV are coming off a hard loss and UNT are flying high after a big win, I will give the nod to the Mean Green. Final Score 27-24 UNT.