These two teams will meet for the seventh time on Saturday and the series is split at an even three games apiece, but the Mean Green are 2-1 in games played in Denton, Texas. The Roadrunners are 3-3 in conference openers since joining Conference USA and UTSA should start to get comfortable at home, as they won’t leave the state of Texas until a Nov. 9 matchup versus Old Dominion. UTSA and North Texas enter with identical 1-2 records and their last two meetings have been decided by just three points each. Can UTSA come out on top versus North Texas in what will be the conference opener for both teams on Saturday night?
Fine ready to lead Mean Green to victory once again vs. UTSA
The Mean Green gave PAC 12 foe California all that it could handle, but ultimately came up short in last week’s 24-17 defeat. Senior quarterback Mason Fine threw for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception so far this season. Sophomore running Tre Siggers continued to lead the team in rushing with 88 yards on 18 carries, giving him a team-high 252 yards (7.0 yards per carry) for the season. The Mean Green held Cal to just 278 yards of total offense and only 3.1 yards per carry, but were ultimately doomed by a poor first quarter. North Texas started the game off slowly, falling behind 20-0 at the end of the first quarter, but they out-scored Cal 17-3 the rest of the way. They stacked the box all night on defense, but failed to stop Golden Bears quarterback Chase Garbers, who finished with a career-high 70 rushing yards to go along with 129 passing yards and a score on the night.
Ball security will be a major concern for Fine and the Mean Green once again this week. The senior quarterback has tossed an interception in each of the team’s first three games after totaling five picks all of last season. Some of the finest moments of Fine’s career came against the Roadrunners, who orchestrated a 98-yard game-winning touchdown drive in 2017 and drove the Mean Green down the field to win it for the second year in a row last season.
— Barstool UNT 🦅 (@BarstoolUNT) September 17, 2019
The big story in last week’s game for North Texas came when top wide receiver Rico Bussey Jr. caught a ball and came down awkwardly on his right leg. He left the game and did not return. Head coach Steve Littrell is not ready to comment on his status, but Bussey’s loss would be a big one for the Mean Green. He had four catches four 156 yards and a score in the team’s lone victory versus Abilene Christian. Redshirt freshman Jyaire Shorter came up big in his absence, catching five passes for 68 yards to go along with the first touchdown of his career. Meanwhile, Jaelon Darden led the team in receiving with two catches for 75 yards and a touchdown on the day.
UTSA hopes to continue to build fan base with victory
Fresh off two ACL surgeries, quarterback Frank Harris opened the season as the Roadrunners’ starting quarterback and he hasn’t disappointed, leading C-USA in completion percentage at 72.5 percent. He’s thrown for 486 passing yards and three touchdowns this season and he added 123 rushing yards in the team’s lone victory versus Incarnate Word. The sophomore quarterback briefly left last week’s game against Army and there were some question marks surrounding his status this week, but The San Antonio Express-News reported that Harris will be ready to go this week.
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) August 31, 2019
UTSA uses a balanced approach on offense. They have nearly as many rushing yards (499) as they do through the air (517), thanks to Sinclare McCormick, who leads the team in rushing with 188 yards and three touchdowns for the season.
UTSA’s defense has allowed just 371 yards per game, including only 125.7 yards per game through the air. Of course, that number is a bit skewed after allowing a combined 708 rushing yards to Army and Baylor over the past two weeks.
- Roadrunners are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games on fieldturf.
- Roadrunners are 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Mean Green are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.