college football picks North Texas at Army 9-18-10

September 17, 2010

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DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 12:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Michie Stadium (40,000) — West Point, New York. Television: CBSCSN. Home Record: N. Texas 0-1, Army 0-1. Away Record: N. Texas 0-1, Army 1-0. Neutral Record: N. Texas 0-0, Army 0-0. Conference Record: N. Texas 0-0, Army 0-0. Series Record: Army leads, 3-0.

GAME NOTES: The North Texas Mean Green continue their quest for their first win of the 2010 season as they travel to West Point to take on the Army Black Knights in a non-conference battle at Michie Stadium.

Despite as impressive performance from quarterback Nathan Tune, the Mean Green fell in a nail-biter last weekend, 32-31, to the Rice Owls. North Texas had the advantage until midway through the final quarter when Rice was able to take the lead for good.

The Black Knights also have a bad taste in their mouths from last weekend, losing to Hawaii on their home turf, 31-28. Army was driving with the score tied at 28-28, but a fumble in UH territory set up a drive for the Warriors to nail a game-winning field goal.

This matchup marks only the fourth time these two teams will square off. Army has swept the series thus far, including a tight 17-13 victory in North Texas last season.

Tune leads a stellar aerial attack for North Texas as the Mean Green currently hold the 23rd-ranked passing offense in the country. North Texas averages over 282 yards through the air in its two games played this season, including a 285-yard passing performance by Tune last week in a 32-31 loss to Rice. Tune connected on 20-of-37 passes with three completions going for touchdowns. The ground game is nothing to overlook, however, as running back Lance Dunbar has averaged over 110 yards rushing per game thus far, including 116 yards in the season opener against Clemson.

The Mean Green have some holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball as they find themselves ranked 86th in the nation in total yards, giving up an average of 386.5 per contest. The rushing defense is particularly alarming, allowing its opponents to gain an average of 176 yards per game. Senior linebacker Craig Robertson leads the UNT defense with 19 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery. He’s also responsible for one of the Mean Green’s two interceptions.

Army has an offensive attack that is based around the run, something that can ignite and take over a game at any time. Such a circumstance took place this past weekend as the Black Knights found themselves trailing 21-0 against Hawaii, only to put up 28 unanswered points on four rushing touchdowns. Ultimately, Hawaii was able to sneak by with the three-point victory. Army also ran for four scores in its opening matchup at Eastern Michigan as the Black Knights were victorious, 31-27. Sophomore Jared Hassin has punched in half of those eight total touchdowns, running for 85 yards on 20 carries and a score in the loss to Hawaii. Army averages almost 280 rushing yards per game.

The Black Knights are the 59th ranked defense in the land, letting their opponents claim an average of 334.5 yards per contest. Last Saturday, Army allowed 353 total yards to Hawaii (343 yds passing), most of which came in the first 18 minutes and change. Senior defensive end Josh McNary leads the way on defense for Army, recording three sacks last week, putting his career total at 21. McNary also is impressive against the run, accumulating 40 tackles for loss in his career, just two shy of tying Army’s all-time record (George Mayes, 42, 1976-79).

Look for Army to have success running the ball against UNT’s inferior rushing defense, but ultimately Tune will have a big day in helping the Mean Green claim their first victory of the season.

FREE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS :   North Texas  +5.5

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