A Deeper Look: North Texas and Central Florida, Week 2
by Strike Point Sports - 09/07/2006
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.
With the annual Texas embarrassment behind them, the Mean Green can begin to focus on the Sun Belt and their attempt to regain top form in the conference. Despite getting rolled up by the Longhorns, there were some positive things North Texas could take away from last weekend's loss. Sure, the entire offense was held to 95 total yards, but considering Texas had 27 first downs to their 6, Texas only gained 410 total yards in the rout. Additionally, the turnover differential was even. The Mean Green successfully forced two Texas mistakes, while not throwing an interception to a very good ballhawking defense. The Mean Green were also able to hold the ball for 29 minutes and 11 seconds, just a minute and half less than what Texas did with the ball.
Some negatives in the loss (beyond the score) were that North Texas was unable to distinguish between its two unproven quarterbacks. Sophomore Matt Phillips started the game, but was very ineffective, completing just 4 of his 13 passes for 22 yards. After the game was decided, Junior Woody Wilson came in to complete five of six throws for 65 yards and one score. While his numbers are much better than Phillip's, he played against back-ups and didn't get a full shot at the Longhorn first team defense.
Predicted Score: Texas 54, North Texas 7
Actual Score: Texas 56, North Texas 7
Week 2 Upcoming Game: North Texas vs. SMU 9/9 - 7:00 p.m.
Home for the first time this year, North Texas gets Southern Methodist at Fouts Field Saturday evening. Both teams come in with 0-1 records, combining to score ten points in their first games. SMU, too, faced a much superior team last week in Texas Tech. The Mustangs could only manage a field goal in their opener, so don't expect a shootout when they come to play the Mean Green. North Texas' best offensive weapon, running back Jamario Thomas, should fare better at home against a weaker defense and get back in form to carrying this offense.
For SMU, quarterback Justin Willis is a freshman and should still be getting use to D-I football. Since 2001, SMU is 0-20 when scoring less than 20 points. While they should manage better than the three spot in game one, North Texas should do well to control the game and clock with the running game and limit SMU's offensive chances.
Prediction: North Texas 24, SMU 17
Game one as defending C-USA East division champs started on a high note with a 35-16 home win against I-AA Villanova. The Golden Knights' offense was far superior for the Wildcats and jumped out of the gate 14-0 in the first quarter and never needed to look over its shoulders. Senior quarterback Steven Moffett led the offense throwing for three touchdowns, and was very efficient in the process, completing 15-of-20 for 199 yards. Additionally, the offensive side of the ball was balanced rushing with more than 100 yards. Kevin Smith, the sophomore RB, accounted for one of the team's two rushing touchdowns. Despite getting out gained in total yardage, UCF cruised to win by three scores in this non-conference match-up.
Only committing two penalties during the entire game is a definite plus, however the defense will not repeat as division champs if they plays like they did this past Saturday. While the Knights won comfortably, giving up 241 yards through the air to a I-AA program is unacceptable. However, the front seven did its job not allowing a 'Nova runner to run for more than 27 yards on the ground. Not to forget, forcing one turnover and giving nothing away will also put any team in good position to compete each week.
Predicted Score: Central Florida 31, Villanova 7
Actual Score: Central Florida 35, Villanova 16
Week 2 Upcoming Game: Central Florida at No. 7 Florida 9/9 6:00 p.m.
The Knights' toughest test all year will come in Gainesville, playing intra-state rival Florida. The Gators are coming off an impressive performance in its 34-7 season opening win over Southern Miss. Playing at "The Swamp" is no easy task, as this stadium has been dubbed one of the toughest places to play in all of college football. No doubt Steven Moffitt and Central Florida have a good enough offense to put up points against the Gators. Moffett has performed well on the big stage before, playing well in last year's opener in South Carolina, as well as in last December's three-touchdown performance in UCF's bowl game against Nevada.
The Gators defense one factor that could make this game ugly. Florida's front seven are extremely athletic and very good at pressuring the quarterback. Urban Meyer's record in the state of Florida is perfect at 9-0 in just more than a year and that could easily run to 10 wins if the UCF defense doesn't contain Chris Leak and the Gator spread-option offense. However, intangibles say that with a game in Tennessee looming next week, UCF might be able to stick around for longer if Florida has their minds elsewhere. When it is all said and done, the Gators will have earned their second win of the year.
Prediction: Florida 34, Central Florida 13