The North Texas Imply Inexperienced proceed their quest for his or her first FBS win of the 2021 college football season after they host the Marshall Thundering Herd on Friday night time in Denton. Marshall is coming off its first win in a month when the Thundering Herd took down Previous Dominion in time beyond regulation on Saturday, with every of the Herd’s final 4 video games — together with the win over the Monarchs — being determined by seven or fewer factors.
The Thundering Herd (3-3, 1-1 Convention USA) scored 49 and 44 factors, respectively, to start out the season in wins over Navy and FCS North Carolina Central however have but to eclipse the 40-point mark in any of the following 4. The information is not significantly better for the Imply Inexperienced (1-4, 0-2), although, as North Texas scored 44 in a 30-point win over FCS Northwestern State in its season opener however had amassed simply 45 in its subsequent three video games — all losses — earlier than posting 35 in a 13-point loss final week.
These two sides will probably be assembly for the primary time in simply over 5 years after they take the sector on Friday night time. The Thundering Herd opened with a 7-0 win in 1988 and adopted with a 30-13 victory in 2015, however it was the Imply Inexperienced who got here away victorious with a 38-21 win of their final assembly in Denton in 2016.
Marshall at North Texas
Kickoff: Friday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports activities Community
Unfold: Marshall -11
When Marshall Has the Ball
The Thundering Herd might have had their struggles within the first half of the season, however Grant Wells has carried out what he can to maintain the passing sport alive. With 1,992 yards for the season and 332 per sport, Wells trails solely WKU’s Bailey Zappe for the convention lead and ranks among the many high 10 nationally in each classes. His pair of interceptions towards the Monarchs gave him 9 already for 2021 — the best whole within the FBS getting into Week 7 — and left Wells as one among 14 quarterbacks within the nation with extra picks than scores (eight). Nonetheless, his resiliency to bounce again and throw a landing in each the fourth quarter and time beyond regulation — his remaining two passes of the sport — had been sufficient to spur the comeback win over Previous Dominion.
Talking of touchdowns, Saturday marked Rasheen Ali’s first sport with out one since Week 2. Ali stands alone atop the FBS with 11 touchdowns on the bottom and is amongst Convention USA’s high three rushers with 560 yards and simply over 94 per sport. In six video games, Ali already has three with at the very least a trio of touchdowns, topped by his four-touchdown effort — on simply 14 carries — within the season-opening 49-7 win at Navy.
Ali’s success will probably be hard-pressed to not proceed, as North Texas has been porous with regards to stopping the run, to the tune of 200 speeding yards per sport allowed. The Imply Inexperienced have had fairly distinct showings of their final two video games, holding Louisiana Tech to only 79 yards on the bottom two weeks in the past whereas Missouri gashed them for 314 yards this previous Saturday. North Texas has carried out nicely to drive the ball on the bottom, recovering six fumbles to this point which enters as a top-20 whole within the FBS.
When North Texas Has the Ball
The 35 factors that the Imply Inexperienced scored in final week’s loss to Missouri matched the mixed whole from their three earlier losses: 12 at SMU, 6 vs. UAB, and 17 at Louisiana Tech. Regardless of the final word whole on the scoreboard, UNT quarterback Austin Aune appeared to supply a spark to the offense in his first begin of 2021. After the Imply Inexperienced had tallied only one sport with greater than 200 passing yards — whereas ending two video games with fewer than 100 yards via the air — Aune changed graduate switch Jace Ruder on Saturday and threw for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns, with an extra 59 speeding yards on 15 carries.
Although the passing sport has had its share of poor performances, North Texas has relied fairly closely — and with good cause — on its speeding assault. Paced by DeAndre Torrey’s Convention USA-best 120.2 yards per sport, which is the sixth-highest common nationally getting into Week 7, the Imply Inexperienced are the convention’s lone consultant within the 200 yards per sport membership. When Aune does elect to go to the air, he’ll probably unfold the ball round pretty evenly – his 16 completions towards Missouri discovered seven totally different receivers, with a unique recipient hauling in every of his 4 touchdowns.
The Imply Inexperienced’s conference-leading speeding offense will probably be up towards the convention’s second-worst speeding protection, because the Thundering Herd have allowed almost 212 yards per sport on the bottom. However they’ve carried out nicely to trigger havoc within the backfield, as they tempo Convention USA with 4 sacks and eight TFLs per sport — good for fourth and sixth, respectively, within the FBS. One other key issue: Marshall’s protection has buckled down contained in the 20-yard line, permitting scores on simply 13 of its opponents’ 21 journeys contained in the crimson zone, a 62 % clip which is tied with Florida Atlantic for the convention lead and for the fourth-best fee within the FBS.
Each of those groups opened with wins however have not had a lot success in subsequent weeks. Momentum seems to be fairly soundly on the aspect of the Thundering Herd, because the Imply Inexperienced have but to return out on high vs. an FBS foe. Marshall goals to capitalize on Saturday’s win for its first victory away from Huntington on the season, however its FBS-worst 16 turnovers should make this a better sport than many count on.
Prediction: North Texas 27, Marshall 25
Podcast: Week 7 Preview & Predictions + Picks In opposition to the Unfold
— Written by Juan Jose Rodriguez, who’s a part of the Athlon Contributor Community and a 2019 graduate of the College of Notre Dame. Rodriguez was an intern for Athlon throughout summer season 2017 and labored for quite a lot of media retailers on campus, together with because the Editor-in-Chief of Scholastic Magazine. Comply with him on Twitter @JuanJoseRG02.
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