A Deeper Look: North Texas and Central Florida, Week 7
by Strike Point Sports - 10/11/2006
North Texas wins a thriller and now faces Sun Belt leader to decide conference fate. Central Florida survives road test at Marshall and now gets tough non-conference test in Tyler Palko and Pittsburgh.
In what could be a season defining win for North Texas, they held off Florida International through seven grueling overtimes and notched a clutch win that evened them in the Sun Belt conference at 1-1. However, this was not your typical college overtime game. Far from a shootout, the Mean Green won 25-22…That's right, 25-22.
A combined eight missed field goals were witnessed in this game, but it was Denis Hopovac's 34-yard kick that sealed the win in the seventh and final overtime. This game was far from pretty. Outside of the miserable kicking game, five turnovers also brought the level of football down several notches. Once again North Texas failed to get any production from its starting quarterback. Woody Wilson threw for just 75 yards and three interceptions. Daniel Meager came in relief and threw for the team's only touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Running back Jamario Thomas did what he needed to do with the ball to secure a win. He rushed for 124 yards on 38 carries and took some much-needed pressure off NT's struggling signal caller.
Despite losing the turnover battle and being out gained on the day, North Texas eked out this game by the slimmest of margins. Had this game gone the other way, the Mean Green would have dropped to the bottom of the conference standings. Now at 1-1, they have a chance to completely turn things around.
Predicted Score: North Texas 13, Florida International 7
Actual Score: North Texas 25, Florida International 22
Week 7: BYE</p>
Next Upcoming Game (week 8): North Texas at Arkansas State 10/21 7:05 pm
One week from Saturday North Texas heads on the road to face Sun Belt co-leading Arkansas State. The Indians are 3-2 overall but share first place in the conference with Middle Tennessee State. With so much undecided and to be changed a week from now, check back next week for a breakdown of this match-up and prediction.
The Knights managed to come away with a big road win in the conference, despite blowing a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter to Marshall last Wednesday. They earned a 23-22 win on a last second field goal by Michael Torres.
Up 20-9 midway through the third, UCF saw Marshall take the lead with three minutes left in the game after 17 unanswered points. UCF's senior quarterback stepped up big to lead his team down the field and convert a big fourth down in rout to the game winning kick.
The Golden Knights got a huge performance from sophomore runner Kevin Smith. Their No. 1 tailback ran for 166 yards on 26 carries and gave balance to the offense that came into the game not fully convinced that Moffett could get the job done himself.
All in all it was a positive day for the offense, gaining 488 yards, getting production from both the passing and rushing game with over 200 yards from each unit.
At 2-3 a bowl berth is still in doubt, however at 1-1 in C-USA, they sit only one game back of East division leader UAB.
Predicted Score: Central Florida 31, Marshall 27
Actual Score: Central Florida 23, Marshall 22
Week 7 Upcoming Game: Pittsburgh at Central Florida Friday 10/13 - 8:00 p.m.
The Knights will get their toughest test since losing big in the Swamp to the Florida Gators. Pittsburgh comes in at 5-1 and is led by their senior quarterback Tyler Palko. He has thrown for 15 touchdowns this year to just three interceptions and is the captain to an offense ranked 12th in the nation in scoring and 29th in total yards.
Playing out of conference, this game still means a great deal to both teams. Pitt is all but assured of a bowl berth with the win but wants in the top 25, while UCF will need wins in almost the rest of its games just to become bowl eligible.
If the Knights think they can coast with a lead against this team, then it will be a long Friday night for them. Pitt is a very good team on both sides of the ball. Its defense has been effective in forcing turnovers while they have athletes all over the field.
Central Florida does have a chance because this game serves as somewhat of a distraction to Pitt as they will begin a very difficult stretch of Big East games after this match-up. With Rutgers, South Florida, West Virginia and Louisville upcoming in four of the next five games, if they are looking ahead, Central Florida will win.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, Central Florida 17