A Deeper Look: North Texas and Central Florida, Week 5
by Strike Point Sports - 09/27/2006
Strike Point Sports will look at two teams, North Texas and Central Florida, each week with extensive analysis and a game prediction. There are great opportunities to make money by following some of the major college programs. That is the point of this weekly column.
Dropping its third road game of the season and falling to 1-3 in 2006, North Texas must show resiliency heading into the thick of the conference schedule. Last Saturday North Texas got beat 33-13 by Akron. The Mean Green stood no chance as they fell behind 20-0 at the end of the first quarter. At this point, the game was essentially over.
Once again North Texas out gained their opponent in the loss, yet other more important stats stood out. The Mean Green committed three turnovers while Akron held onto the ball. Jamario Thomas finally got going, carrying the ball 18 times for 120 yards and a score. However, ineffective quarterback play continues to plague this team. Woody Wilson completed just 15-of-29 passes for just 117 yards and two picks.
Now with their non-conference schedule long gone, North Texas can breath a sign of relief. Scoring double-digit points just once in four games was dreadful, and fortunately they can look forward to lesser-talented offensive teams.
Predicted Score: Akron 27, North Texas 13
Actual Score: Akron 33, North Texas 13
Week 5 Upcoming Game: Middle Tennessee State at North Texas, 9/30 - 7:00 p.m.
Facing the only team to have a Sun Belt win thus far, North Texas will have their work cut out for them if they bring the same type of play from the non-conference into their key Sun Belt match-ups. The Blue Raiders are 2-2 coming into its second Sun Belt game. Their season-opener was a conference game against Florida International, winning 7-6. Since then FIU has been routed in two of its three non-conference games against Maryland and Oklahoma.
MTSU has yet to win on the road this year and North Texas' only win came at home. The Mean Green have played much better in their home stadium and if they are to continue this trend, runner Jamario Thomas will need another 100-yard game. As well, North Texas quarterbacks will need to produce enough to where they keep the Blue Raider defense honest and allow Thomas more room to run.
Prediction: North Texas 17, Middle Tennessee State 13
After making the fourth best turnaround in college football history, 2006 has been a rocky start for George O'Leary and the Central Florida Golden Knights. UCF fell to 1-3 after its home conference loss to Southern Miss, 19-14, this past Tuesday. Trailing 10-0 at halftime, UCF scored to make it 10-7 in the third and was on the doorstep of taking the lead. However, tailback Kevin Smith fumbled on the one-yard line and Southern Miss recovered it for a touchback. After that turn of events, the game simply got away from the Knights.
Knights' quarterback Steven Moffett left no doubt that Southern Miss would win as he threw an interception for a touchdown on his own five-yard line when UCF's deficit was still just one score. Down 19-7, Central Florida would convert and get that touchdown back, however there was not enough time to make up this two-touchdown margin.
Predicted Score: Southern Miss 28, Central Florida 24
Actual Score: Southern Miss 19, Central Florida 14
Week 5 Upcoming Game: Central Florida at Marshall, 10/4 - 7:30 p.m
On the road for their second Conference USA game at Marshall, Central Florida is basically in a must win situation to keep both its bowl eligible season and conference hopes alive. At 1-3, they had all the momentum coming into this season from last year. However that has not been the case as the offense has sputtered and is scoring just 16.5 points per game. Quarterback Steven Moffett was thought by most to be a Conference Player of the Year candidate but he too has looked shaky.
The Thundering Herd have also started 1-3, however their only win thus far came at home. They have been a bit more effective with the ball, scoring 19.5 points per game, yet the defense continues to keep them down. Giving up more than 32 points an outing, this unit has been lackluster. Do cut them a break because they have played West Virginia and Tennessee on the road.
Nonetheless, both teams are facing must-win scenarios or risk plummeting further down the C-USA standings. Whichever defense gets more stops, that team will be victorious.
Prediction: Central Florida 31, Marshall 27