Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#161 North Texas 55 vs.
#162 California -14
Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 4:15pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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#161 University of North Texas
#162 University of California, Berkeley
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It’s a non-conference matchup when a team from Conference USA makes the trip out to the west coast to face the Pac-12 in week 3 college football action. The North Texas Mean Green is on the road as they make the trip to face the Cal Golden Bears Saturday afternoon. North Texas was routed 49-27 on the road by SMU last Saturday in their previous contest. Cal stunned #14 Washington 20-19 in a game that started Saturday night and ended Sunday morning due to weather conditions. This marks the first time that the teams have met on the gridiron as FBS programs.

North Texas Mean Green Trying to Bounce Back

North Texas was unable to spring an upset on the road as they were sliced up by SMU last week. The Mean Green now looks to bounce back and steal one on the road in this contest. North Texas was in a 21-0 hole after the opening quarter and couldn’t draw closer than 11 the rest of the way. The Mean Green was outgained 503-396, lost the first down battle 25-21 and both teams turned the ball over once. North Texas did control the clock as they held a 34:44 to 25:16 edge in time of possession but it wasn’t enough to stay in the game: the longest SMU touchdown drive took only 3:22 off the clock.

The Mean Green are averaging 284 yards per game through the air while putting up an average of 201.5 yards per contest on the ground. North Texas is 36th in the FBS in scoring offense with 39 points per contest while the team is a dismal 123rd in scoring defense as they allow 40 points per game. Mason Fine has completed 45 of 69 throws for 535 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions this season. Jason Bean is five of seven passing for 33 yards and a touchdown. Tre Siggers leads the team on the ground with 18 carries for 164 yards plus a score. DeAndre Torey (17 carries, 126 yards) and Loren Easly (16 carries, 89 yards, TD) are effective when given the chance to run the ball as well. Jaelon Darden leads the team with 16 receptions for 118 yards plus a score on the season. Michael Lawrence (eight catches, 69 yards, TD), Rico Bussey Jr. (four grabs, 156 yards, TD) and Jason Pirtle (four catches, 88 yards, three TD) are good targets as well. Ethan Mooney has hit all nine extra points and five of five field goal attempts with a long of 36 this season.

Cal Golden Bears Seeking Surprising 3-0 Start

Cal pulled off what may be the upset of the first two weeks of the college season as they went on the road to overcome the weather, the crowd and #14 Washington to steal a win. The Golden Bears, who improved to 2-0 on the season, now look to run their mark to 3-0 with a win here at home. Cal rallied from a 10-0 hole to lead 17-13 after three quarters: they were down 19-17 before going 74 yards in nine plays over 1:57 to kick the game-winning field goal with eight seconds to play. The Golden Bears were outgained 348-303, gave up 23 first downs while picking up 20 and lost the time of possession battle 32:43 to 27:17 in the contest. Cal did force two turnovers while not committing one in the contest.

The Golden Bears are averaging 174.5 yards per game through the air while they contribute 212.5 yards per contest on the ground so far this season. Cal is tied for 96th in the FBS in scoring offense with 23.5 points per contest while the team ranks tied for 33rd in scoring defense by allowing 16 points per game. Chase Garbers is 27 of 46 passing for 349 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while adding 60 yards on the ground. Christopher Brown Jr. leads the team in the rushing department as he has 52 carries for 277 yards plus a score while Marcel Dancy chips in 12 carries for 104 yards plus two scores. Kekoa Crawford is tied for the team lead with six catches for 132 yards plus two scores. Brown Jr. has six catches for 39 yards while Nikko Remigio has four receptions for 46 yards on the year. Greg Thomas is five on five on extra points and four of five on field goal tries with a long of 47 this season.

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North Texas has the offensive weapons that can make life miserable for opposing defenses but the fact remains that they have to be better defensively. The Mean Green has been shredded to the tune of 80 points and 959 yards in their first two games this season. Cal has had their problems offensively but their defense has carried them. If the Golden Bears can go on the road and overcome a hostile environment against a ranked opponent like they did last week, you have to think they can prevail at home against an unranked mid-major program. Look for Cal to improve to 3-0 with a home win here.

Prediction: Cal Golden Bears -14

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After Cal’s stunner of a win on the road over #14 Washington last week, the Golden Bears may be underrated at this point of the season. The team has yet to allow a passing touchdown on the season and they are allowing only 3.54 yards per carry on the ground. North Texas is reliant on the aerial attack to set up the run game, which could be a challenge here. The Mean Green has been leaky defensively and has given up 959 yards of offense in their two games. Can North Texas go on the road and pull a stunner the way their opponent did last week?

The under is 4-0 in the Mean Green’s last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 9-1 in their last 10 on the road, 5-1 in their last six in September and 12-3-1 in their last 16 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game. Cal has seen the under go 6-0 in their last 6 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game, 4-0 in their last 4 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game and 7-1 in their last 8 games on fieldturf. Cal’s defense is the major factor here: they keep North Texas in check to help push this one under the total.

Prediction: Under 55.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.