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The Old Dominion Monarchs are 1-4 in their last five contests since upsetting Virginia Tech as they prepare to host the North Texas Mean Green at Foreman Field on Saturday afternoon. Old Dominion recently picked up its second victory at Western Kentucky but then fell to Middle Tennessee two weeks ago. The Mean Green just enjoyed an off week, as well, which came on the heels of a win over Rice.
Finally an off week
North Texas played nine straight games without an off week to open the season before finally getting a break last week. Head coach Seth Littrell insisted that the benefits of the time off would be reaped, as did receiver Michael Lawrence.
“It was nice to have that week off and recover,” Lawrence assured. “Coach Littrell gave us two days off so we could all go home and relax. Most of us went home, watched college football and didn’t worry about Denton for a couple of days.”
The effects of the heavy early-season workload were evident by the time the Mean Green polished off a 41-17 victory over Rice on Oct. 27. They were without running back Nic Smith, safety Taylor Robinson, and defensive lineman T.J. Tauaalo, as all three missed the game due to injury. Littrell said every member of that trio should be back on Saturday.
North Texas made up for those absences with sterling performances on both offense and defense. It gained 497 yards of total offense and kept Rice under the 300-yard mark. Quarterback Mason Fine threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns, while DeAndre Torrey racked up 130 yards and three scores on just 15 carries.
Old Dominion does not have much to show for this season aside from an upset of Virginia Tech. But even with the team at 2-7 season, some individual performers are earning recognition. Wide receiver Travis Fulgham, for example, was added to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award last week. Fulgham is second on the Monarchs with 47 catches–42 of them in the past six games. He began this hot stretch with nine catches for 188 yards in the win over the Hokies. Fulgham also caught 10 passes for 151 yards at Florida Atlantic and had 10 receptions for 215 yards against Middle Tennessee.
“All 32 (NFL) teams have been through (to scout him),” head coach Bobby Wilder noted. “A lot of guys are coming back now to take a second look at Fulgham with the numbers he’s put up.”
— ODU Football (@ODUFootball) November 6, 2018
Fulgham joins teammate Jonathan Duhart on the list for the Biletnikoff, which is given to the top receiver in the nation. Duhart leads Conference-USA with 58 catches and in receiving yards with 94.1 per game. Moreover, quarterback Blake LaRussa was nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy–given to the top player in FBS who began his career as a walk-on. LaRussa, a redshirt junior, is second in C-USA in passing yards with 2,274. He has thrown for 1,991 in the last six contests.
The Old Dominion Monarchs are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games after allowing more than 450 yards in their previous game
- 7-0 Over in their last seven overall
- 6-0 Over in their last six games against teams with losing records
The North Texas Mean Green are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last five overall
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games against Conference-USA
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against teams with losing records
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Old Dominion defensive end Oshane Ximines has 14.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks on the season. “Their defensive end is one of our focuses,” North Texas offensive tackle Riley Mayfield praised. “That will be a challenge this week. It will be a great opportunity to go against a great pass rusher like him and test my skill set.” ODU’s combination of Ximines on defense and just about everyone on offense makes them especially dangerous right now.
Prediction: Old Dominion Monarchs
Full-Game Total Pick
North Texas features the highest-scoring offense in the conference at 37.9 points per game. ODU is last in scoring defense, allowing 39.9. Fortunately for the Monarchs, they have really picked up the pace with their own offense over the past six outings. The over is 8-3 in the Mean Green’s last 11 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards in their previous outing. It is also 7-0 in the Monarchs’ last seven overall, 6-0 in their last six against winning opponents, 20-8-1 in their last 29 conference contests, 5-0 in their last five following a loss, and 4-1 in their last five following an off week. Look for this one to go over the total.