2018 North Texas at ODU Preview

This is a much abridged preview. MGN has been otherwise occupied with life and its concerns. Apologies all around.

Last game we discussed the challenges of finding new goals after the main goals become unreachable. The Mean Green’s best season in some time will go without a conference championship after two losses to Louisiana Tech and UAB.

North Texas still has a 7-2 record and program milestones to reach for, but from this perch — with conference title aspirations and a taste of the title game last season — those goals seem unimportant.

Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech in Norfolk early this season. They’ve been a mixed bag of good and bad. They have a veteran team that has underperformed but unsurprisingly jumps up and has a good game.

North Texas, in the mean time, has the best team in years filled with upperclassmen supported by young up-and-comers in all positions on offense. The defense is good and aggressive.

The offense has been suspect inasmuch as it has struggled to score points in both halves. North Texas can score in one half and look like a Pat Mahomes Texas Tech squad and then implode and look like North Texas circa 2016, where it was Air Raid in name only and not in execution.

The book on our Mean Green is that you bring pressure on Fine and make the run game get yards. That is easier and better said than done, of course. The best teams NT has faced — the two losses — were equipped to get pressure with the defensive line and cover with lots of secondary defenders.

Old Dominion has some of that in Oshane Ximenes, but overall the Monarchs are a sieve on defense. Offensively they’ve been much better with Blake LaRussa, of beating-VT fame, at QB. He’s undersized but throws an accurate deep ball. This is fine, considering his two WRs Josh Duhart and Travis Fulgham are big playmaking WRs that can go up and grab the ball.

They’ve been unlucky — the refs stole a game from them against ECU — but they also have been plain bad. The coaching staff is good, and the roster has talent but nothing is going ODU’s way this season.

Prediction: North Texas 41 – ODU 21