Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Blue Raiders and Mean Green on Saturday in Denton, Texas.
Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 1 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Apogee Stadium, Denton, TX
TV Broadcast: No listing
The Blue Raiders (3-1, 1-0 Conference USA) scored a 38-34 win over Louisiana Tech last week, so the team’s only loss of the season is to Vanderbilt in Nashville. Meanwhile, the Mean Green (2-2, 1-0) notched a win over Bethune-Cookman in between losses to SMU and Florida, but they scored a big double-overtime win over Rice last weekend to kick off C-USA play.
When these teams met last November, Brent Stockstill passed for 322 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-7 win for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee scored touchdowns on each of its first four possessions and converted 10 of 15 third downs. The loss gave North Texas only its second season with double-digit losses in the program’s 91-year history. Seth Littrell would eventually be hired to rebuild the program in the Lone Star State.
What To Know About Middle Tennessee
Prolific passer Stockstill hit Ty Lee for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 2:36 left to rally Middle Tennessee past Louisiana Tech in its C-USA opener last week. Stockstill finished with 356 yards on 27-of-46 passing. He not only can light up defenses through the air, but he has help on the ground as well with running back I’Tavius Mathers, who has become a pass-catching option out of the backfield. The senior has four touchdowns in each of his last two games, is averaging 6.6 yards per carry and has 18 catches this fall.
What to Know About North Texas
The Mean Green have already surpassed their win total from last year, so things are already better under Littrell. Freshman quarterback Mason Fine made his first career start against Bethune-Cookman, and he threw for 224 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win. Littrell wants to see Fine and this offense make progress each week, which was on display in the win over the Owls. Fine struggled against Florida, which boasts one of the top defense in the country, but that experience against a top-notch defense will be beneficial to him and the offense in the long run.
Offense: Middle Tennessee. Stockstill and Mathers form a dangerous combination, making them awfully difficult for even solid defenses to contain.
Defense: Middle Tennessee. The North Texas defense struggles to get off of the field at times, as the Mean Green have one of the worst defensive third-down conversion percentage rates in the FBS.
Special Teams: Middle Tennessee. Punter Matt Bonadies has been able to place eight of his last 11 kicks inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Coaching: Middle Tennessee. Littrell is a bright mind and will eventually win in Denton.
Intangibles: Middle Tennessee. With back-to-back wins since a loss to Vanderbilt, the Blue Raiders are ready to rock ‘n roll in C-USA.
Matchup To Watch
Mathers vs. All 11 North Texas defenders
Mathers was a nice piece in Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze’s first recruiting class in 2012. The Tennessee product led the Rebels with 563 rushing yards in 2013 and is off to a huge start this fall. He has seven rushing touchdowns and two scores as a pass-catcher, and he creates mismatches on an offense that can go up and down the field. It might be a long night for the Mean Green on Saturday. In his last two games, Mathers has at least 150 rushing yards, and he has at least 60 receiving yards in his past three contests.
Spread: Middle Tennessee -15.5
Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas Prediction
The Mean Green won’t lose 41-7 as they did last year. This is an improved North Texas squad. The problem is that Stockstill and this Middle Tennessee offense remains prolific and too tough for this UNT defense to contain.
Middle Tennessee vs. North Texas Score Prediction: Middle Tennessee 40, North Texas 20