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Game 11: WKU

Posted by LongJim , 17 November 2011 · 799 views

Great win for the MG last Saturday. It was interesting to read a thread on the board this week talking about what team you like to see UNT defeat the most in football. For me, it’s Troy, with MTSU a close second. Don’t like how they recruit, and love to hate ‘em.

So, for what that’s worth, it was terrific to see UNT pretty much dominate the Trojans last week, and make no mistake—when you complete over 80% of your passes and deliver the run game with your backups—you are dominating the game. It wasn’t really rocket science for UNT, as Troy can’t stop anybody’s offense, but North Texas took care of their business and grabbed the W. Many (if not most) times in the last few years, that game would have slipped through UNT’s fingers for the L at the last minute.

Speaking of dislike—WKU is moving right up there. I think they play with a cockiness that is undeserved in a lot of ways, as they haven’t (until now) busted a proverbial grape in the SBC, but whatever. Maybe this year is their year to really get their program going at the higher level of college football.

In analyzing this matchup—which is another close one—I think they have to wait another week to take another step up the cockiness ladder.

UNT-WKU Matchups:


Special teams: EDGE WKU—the Toppers are very dangerous on kickoff returns and average on punt returns. UNT has gotten much better in coverage here, but they will need to be on their best behavior this weekend. UNT has a weapon in its punter, and that lessens WKU’s advantage here in my opinion, but UNT has to get more consistency in its placekicking unit and return game for this category to become a strength.

WKU run game vs. UNT defense: EDGE—WKU—Bobby Rainey is arguably the best back in the league. UNT has to neutralize him and force Kawaun Jakes to throw—which is where the Hilltoppers offensive weakness is.

WKU pass game vs. UNT defense: EDGE—UNT—Let’s just call it like it is: WKU is not very good at throwing the football. Big tight end Jack Doyle is WKU's go-to receiver, but outside him, WKU struggles getting the ball downfield in the passing game. UNT has big issues defending the pass, but they are very good at pressuring the QB. That will be key this week. They don't have to sack Jakes as much as make him uncomfortable and pushed into bad decisions. The UNT front four has to stop the run and make WKU pass, and create opportunities defensively with turnovers and forcing WKU into mistakes.

UNT run game vs. WKU defense: EDGE—UNT—if Dunbar is ~100%, this will be a solid edge. If not, it becomes a push. WKU hangs their hat on their defense, and they are disruptive up front and can make life hard for the offensive line and QB. They will sack people and get into the backfield. Can’t happen this week.

UNT pass game vs. WKU defense: EDGE—WKU. The Hilltoppers depend on disrupting and pressuring the offensive backfield. However, UNT does not give up many sacks, and protects well. If the WR corps can put another game together like last week, I believe this nullifies WKU’s edge, but keep an eye on Derrius Brooks at CB for WKU. He’s a weapon in the WKU secondary, and Thompson will have to be aware of him.

Intangibles: EDGE—UNT. It’s home field for the chance to snuff WKU’s bowl hopes for a week, and keep UNT’s hopes alive. I think UNT’s defense is going to be on fire under Bowen, and there may be some distraction with the DC issues this week for WKU. Would really like to see a good crowd Saturday, because it might be a big factor.

There’s a lot for both teams to achieve at Apogee Saturday. In my opinion, it’s the biggest game UNT’s had for its program since 2004, and I think that’s been stressed this week and the team is definitely aware of it.

If UNT can keep Rainey around 100 Saturday and the MG defense can force their usual turnovers, they will win this game by 10. UNT cannot settle for field goals, and they have to eliminate any chance of a runback TD for WKU’s return teams.

I predict a close one. UNT by 3.

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Forcing turnovers and the Apogee Advantage © are the keys to the game. Rainey will get his yards. I can live with that. We need big plays and a loud student section.
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I think a big key will be how well Derek Akunne and Will Wright can fill in for Zachary Orr. This should be a great game!
I think the key will be offensive variety. If NT comes out in a vanilla run up the middle, run up the middle, try to pass on third down game plan then WKU will pin their ears back and hurt us badly. If, on the other hand, we see multiple formations, wildcat, play action to the TE, etc then our offense will give them fits. Thompson has proven he's capable to hurting a secondary...even if it's just in chunks. Anything to keep them from keying on Dunbar (or Hambo is Lance can't go).
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