Date: Saturday, November 24th
Kickoff Time: 6:00 pm CST
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Audio: 92.5/93.3 FM The Bull (SA) or Mean Green Sports Network
Series Record: UTSA leads 3-2.
Last Meeting: UNT won last year’s meeting 29-26.
Betting Line: UNT -24.5
Over/Under: 51.5 points
UNT Outlook - Adam Woodyard
It’s not really a rivalry yet, at least not until it gets some sponsorship, and at least not until both teams are good at the same time.
This is no knock against UTSA, who have had their share of up and down years as a program, just as UNT has. Presently — and despite some recent inconsistencies — North Texas is up, and will be coming into this game after a dismantling of a rebuilding FAU squad.
Mason Fine is now the all-time leader in scoring and yards at North Texas, throwing for 303 yards last week against the Owls, a quality team as recently as last season, and just experiencing a down year. Judging by a similarly dire season for the Roadrunners, things could look similar this week.
RB DeAndre Torrey moved to fifth place last week for career rushing touchdowns at North Texas. His 13 career touchdowns have him tied with Lance Dunbar, and one shy of Jeffrey Wilson. Those 13 have all come this season, as Torrey will enter the game with 787 rushing yards on 137 carries. On Saturday, it’ll be Torrey running down that road.
In the air, UTSA’s one ace-in-the-hole is the ceiling in the Alamodome, which famously messes with opposing receivers. But that’ll have to be a big distraction, because leading receiver Rico Bussey, Jr. comes into the game with 990 receiving yards this season (already good for 8th on the all-time single-season list). Bussey’s 12 touchdowns on the season are one shy of tying the single-season record.
It’s a long season and with the weekly grind, the North Texas defense is showing some cracks over these past weeks, particularly the Old Dominion game. Where FAU put up a fight, UTSA might have already given up... if not for the fact that this really is a rivalry game, and the Roadrunners will be eager to end their season on a high note.
UTSA Outlook - Jared Kalmus
It’s hard to depict just how dire straights this UTSA team stands in right now. The Roadrunners were shut out by Marshall last week, a fitting culmination of several months’ worth of regression from the offensive unit.
The Roadrunners are down to two quarterbacks, both of which were anticipated to be fourth or fifth string heading into the season. It should come as no surprise that neither of the young quarterbacks have been very effective.
With true freshman Jojo Weeks having played in four games this season, Weeks will lose his redshirt if he plays against UNT. If Wilson is playing for the long haul then sophomore Bryce Rivers should take every snap under center. If Rivers has to come out of the game then walk-on senior Brandon Garza will likely get a look on Senior Day.
UTSA’s defense has clearly regressed from last season but they did show some fight in the redzone last week. While the Roadrunners’ defensive line and linebackers are in pretty good shape, the secondary is a shell of its former self — a very tough match up against North Texas’ exceptional aerial attack.
Redshirt freshman Dadrian Taylor, a high school running back who was recruited as a wide receiver, got the start at safety last week while playing with a hard cast over his hand. UTSA has a JUCO transfer and a true freshman starting at cornerback with practically zero depth behind them.
As UNT’s receivers get the chance to stretch their legs out, UTSA’s secondary will start to fatigue. If the Roadrunners can’t find some sudden depth off the bench then the Mean Green could enjoy a record night through the air.
Jared: It’s gonna be ugly. I can’t fathom a team getting shut out in consecutive weeks, although UTSA would be the team to do it. Mason Fine enjoys a tremendous outing as the Roadrunner fans leave the Dome with mixed feelings of anguish and mercy that this cursed season is finally at rest. UNT 42 UTSA 7
Adam: UNT’s recent fortunes indicate that a shut-out is unlikely, but UTSA hasn’t been able to muster much of anything against anybody all season. There’s no doubt they’ll want this one real bad, and every time we’ve predicted a UNT blowout it ends up being close, but it’s been a long season and time for the Roadrunners to regroup. UNT 42, UTSA 21