A Deeper Look: North Texas and Central Florida, Week 10
by Strike Point Sports - 11/08/2006
At 2-7 both Central Florida and North Texas have seen better campaigns. As the losing streaks continue to lengthen, these teams can still play the role of spoiler in conference races.
After starting the season 1-1, North Texas has dropped six of the last seven and three in a row. The Mean Green's most recent setback came at home to WAC opponent Louisiana Tech, 34-31.
Down 21-0 in the first quarter, North Texas did what most had never seen them do this season: score multiple touchdowns and in the same quarter, no less. North Texas reeled off 24 unanswered points to take a 24-21 halftime lead. However, their offensive misfortunes finally caught up with them and with just seven points in the final two quarters, the Mean Green turned out on the short side once again.
Quarterbacks Daniel Meager and Matt Phillips combined for three touchdowns through the air but their three interceptions were more hurtful to the team. Top tailback Jamario Thomas carried the ball only seven times for 23 yards. It was freshman running back Evan Robertson who added 86 yards and a score in relief.
Bulldog quarterback Zac Champion torched the Mean Green secondary for four scores and more than 300 yards. And once again the Mean Green lost the turnover battle, giving up the ball five times in the loss.
Predicted Score: Louisiana Tech 23, North Texas 13
Actual Score: Louisiana Tech 34, North Texas 31
Next Upcoming Game: North Texas at Louisiana Lafayette 11/11 5 pm
For the second straight week North Texas takes on a program from the state of Louisiana. After playing out of conference in the team's home loss to La Tech, North Texas goes on the road and plays conference for Louisiana-Lafayette in Cajun Field. At 1-2 in the Sun Belt, ULL is just as bad as the Mean Green.
The good news is last week's scoring improved the team's stats enough to not be ranked dead last in every offensive category. They are, however, still 119th in total yards. The bad news for UNT is they now get to face one of the more experienced Sun Belt quarterbacks in Jerry Babb.
Babb's numbers won't blow you away (7 TDs, 9 INTS), but he has the game experience and leadership to be competitive in almost any game he plays. And after playing the likes of LSU, Texas A&M and Houston in the non-conference, he and ULL will be ready for any Sun Belt opponent.
Prediction: Louisiana Lafayette 24, North Texas 17
Just one more loss to add to the list in a tumultuous season and things might not be any worse for the Golden Knights. After a 23-10 home loss to ECU, Central Florida is 2-7 in 2006 and has assured themselves of a losing season.
>From a statistical viewpoint one would have thought the game would have been much closer. Both quarterbacks could not offer a score and each threw two interceptions. The one difference in the game was the rushing performance by Pirates running back Brandon Fractious. His 128 yards on the ground and one touchdown was that much more than the 50 yards by UCF's Kevin Smith.
East Carolina also managed to control the ball for 13 more minutes throughout the game.
Predicted Score: East Carolina 23, Central Florida 10
Actual Score: East Carolina 27, Central Florida 21
Next Upcoming Game: East Carolina at Memphis 11/11 - 8 p.m.
UCF has played so poorly this season, that at 1-4 in C-USA they are one game back of hapless Memphis. And look whom they play this upcoming Saturday --- how convenient. At 2-7 on the year, UCF has been stuck in a rut, but luckily for them, 1-8 Memphis have defined struggle in a whole new way.
The Tigers' sole win has come against a D-IAA team, so technically they haven't even beaten anyone worth awarding that 'W.' Both teams like to throw the ball, but what gives them success is the ground attack. Led by Joseph Doss, Memphis will try to get yards without throwing the ball in surplus. Tigers quarterback Martin Hankins has 15 touchdown passes but has made way too many mistakes with his 12 interceptions.
UCF is averaging just a shade less than 21 points per game but when they can get to 30, they've shown signs of success. Since 2001 when the Knights score 30 or more, they are 19-4. This year when doing so they are just 1-1.
Prediction: Central Florida 35, Memphis 30