North Texas (2-9) at Arkansas State (2-8)
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 28th, 2:00 p.m.
FACTS & STATS: Site: ASU Stadium (30,406) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: North Texas 1-5, ASU 2-2. Away Record: North Texas 1-4, ASU 0-6. Neutral Record: North Texas 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: North Texas 1-6, ASU 0-0. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 10-8.
GAME NOTES: Sun Belt Conference action will take place this Saturday afternoon when the Arkansas State Red Wolves host the North Texas Mean Green at ASU Stadium.
It has been a rough season for the Mean Green, as the team has collected just two wins in 11 contests. North Texas heads into this matchup stuck in a three- game slump, which includes a 17-13 loss to Army this past weekend. North Texas is just 1-4 on the road this year, and has posted a mere 1-6 ledger in league action.
Just like North Texas, the Red Wolves have struggled to grab victories this season, as the team has posted just two wins in 10 games. Arkansas State is in the midst of a four-game slide, which includes a 38-14 loss to Middle Tennessee this past weekend. The only bright spot for Arkansas State in this matchup against North Texas, is that the Red Wolves two victories have both come at ASU Stadium.
In terms of the all-time series between the two schools, the Red Wolves hold a slim 10-8 edge over North Texas. However, the Mean Green have won four of the last five matchups.
North Texas racked up an impressive 447 total yards in its recent contest against Army, but despite the solid performance, the Mean Green finished with just 13 points, and yet another loss. The ground game churned out 222 yards on 7.4 ypg. Lance Dunbar paced the squad with 132 yards and one touchdowns, while quarterback Riley Dodge added 90 yards on 17 totes. Dodge however, was not as impressive with his arm, as the signal caller tossed three crucial interceptions in the setback. Dodge did finish with 225 yards and one score, but the turnovers really cost the Mean Green a win. Dodge has been a turnover machine at times and comes into this weekend with 14 interceptions to only nine touchdowns. He has completed 68.0 percent of his throws thus far, but for only 1,962 yards. The only consistent part for this unit has been Dunbar, who has rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns on an outstanding 7.0 yards per carry. Even with the lack of scoring against Army, North Texas is still producing a healthy 26.6 ppg.
The lack of production offensively overshadowed the team's performance on the defensive side of the football, as North Texas held Army to just 287 total yards. However, with that said, the Mean Green did have trouble stopping the run, as the Black Knights punished North Texas for 200 yards and two scores on the ground. Stopping the run has been a major problem for this unit throughout the season, as North Texas has been gashed for 191.2 ypg on the ground, and out of the 46 touchdowns surrendered by this unit, 30 have come via the run. Craig Robertson comes into this weekend leading the Mean Green with 94 tackles after racking up five stops in the loss to Army.
The Red Wolves did very little with the football against Middle Tennessee this past Saturday, as the team totaled just 220 yards, and that led to only 14 points. The ground game was practically non-existent, as the team was bottled up for just 44 yards on 1.2 yards per carry. The passing attack was not much better, as Ryan Aplin completed just 10-of-22 passes for only 147 yards and one score. The quarterback was also intercepted in the contest, and sacked twice. The lackluster effort is not surprising, considering Arkansas State has struggled throughout the season on offense, as the team is producing just 21.8 ppg. Aplin has taken care of more duties as the year has progressed and he comes into this contest completing 61.4 percent of his throws, which is very good, but at the same time he has just 503 yards and two scores against three interceptions. Although the ground game has done very little up to this point (127.8 ypg), Reggie Arnold is still the team's best offensive weapon, as the tailback is leading the team with 565 rushing yards and 11 scores.
On top of the poor showing offensively against MT, the defense was also blind-sided by Dwight Dasher and the Blue Raiders, as the Red Wolves surrendered 427 total yards, including 263 passing yards. Arkansas State also allowed four touchdowns through the air in the setback. Stopping the pass has been an issue for Arkansas State all year, as the team is being torched for 237.3 ypg through the air. Out of the 28 touchdowns surrendered by this unit, 17 have come via the pass. Not all has been bad on this side of the football however, as the Red Wolves have played well against the run at times, and come into this game holding opponents to just 122.1 ypg on a mere 3.5 ypc. Alex Carrington is leading the team with 8.5 TFLs and four sacks, one of which came in the loss to Middle Tennessee.
Not much has gone right for either team this season, so do not expect to see many fireworks in this matchups. However, even though North Texas is on the road, look for the Mean Green to grab a win, mainly because of the effort Dunbar will likely put forth.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Texas 27, Arkansas State 23