UNT Mean Green (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) vs Memphis Tigers (2-1, 1-0 American)
Time and Date: 3:30 PM ET, September 24
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium - Memphis, TN
ESPN FPI: Memphis, 90.1%
Line: Memphis -11.5*
Point Total: 68.5*
All-Time Series: Memphis leads the all-time series against North Texas, 16-4.
Last Meeting: Memphis 27, North Texas 17 - December 16, 2003 (New Orleans Bowl)
Current Streak: Memphis, 1
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Memphis was locked in a back and forth game last week against Arkansas State but Ryan Silverfield’s team refused to lose. The Tigers scored on all fourth of their drives in the fourth quarter to pull away 44-32.
Sophomore QB Seth Henigan continued to shine for the offense with 360 yards passing and four total TDs. However, his job is being made considerably easier by the emergence of two other stars on offense. Caden Prieskorn is a 6’5, 250-pound tight end that is equally valuable as a blocker and receiver. Prieskorn bullied defensive backs when Memphis ran the ball and caught two touchdowns. Then, Henigan has a true big play threat with Iowa State WR transfer Joseph Scates. Scates had the biggest highlight of the game for the Tigers when he dragged three would-be tacklers into the end zone with him as he finished off an impressive 51-yard touchdown.
.@ScatesJoseph has no quit! Scates battles his way 51 yards to the end zone to put the Tigers up by 11!#AmericanFB x @MemphisFB pic.twitter.com/VAg79rxGZY— American Football (@American_FB) September 18, 2022
While the Tigers defense looked shaky at times, they came up big when it mattered most. They forced a three and out late in the fourth quarter to get the ball back when they were only up five. Then, they started off the final drive of the game with a sack and forcing an incomplete pass. Ultimately, there is a lot to like with this group Memphis has and they will only continue to improve as the season goes on.
Meanwhile, UNT suffered a lopsided loss on the road to UNLV. While the final score of 58-27 would indicate the game wasn’t competitive, it doesn’t tell the full story. UNT appeared to steal momentum in the 3rd quarter when Var’Keyes Gumms took a simple RPO slant 54 yards to the house to cut UNLV’s lead to three.
The 5⃣4⃣-yard connection from Austin Aune to @varkeyesg is this week's presented by @tiffstreats.#GMG pic.twitter.com/4u3JCVW1N7— North Texas Football (@MeanGreenFB) September 17, 2022
However, the wheels fell off for the Mean Green after that play. UNLV scored a touchdown on their next three drives including a 99-yard drive that was the result of UNT failing to convert on a 4th and goal play from the 1. Pointing the blame at the defense is unfair as the offense did their part in the turmoil by turning the ball over four consecutive drives in the 4th quarter including a Pick-six to end the game.
While both sides of the ball collapsed late, there were positives to look at through 3 quarters. Signal caller Austine Aune finished with 300 yards and 2 TDs through the air while spreading the ball around. Three North Texas receivers had over 70 yards. Running back tandem Ayo Adeyi and Oscar Adaway III also ran for over 70 yards a piece while averaging more than 5 yards a carry.
Ultimately, Seth Littrell’s message should be simple. If the Mean Green play as they did through 3 quarters against UNLV, they should be good to go. If Mean Green play like they did in the 4th quarter, it is going to be a long day at the Liberty Bowl.
Memphis have the home field advantage and are rolling on offense. Watching UNT collapse moved me from bullish to bearish on the Mean Green’s chances in this game. The Tigers win at home, 37 - 28.