The Mean Green of North Texas will be traveling to Manhattan, Kansas to face the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday. The game will air on FSN at 6 PM. Kansas State is coming off of a dominating performance against the University of Miami, whereas North Texas is also coming in after a big win against Texas Southern. North Texas has already faced the LSU Tigers, so this won’t be the Mean Green’s first BCS test of the season.
The Mean Green is coached by former Iowa State head coach, Dan McCarney. McCarney defeated Bill Snyder in his final two games in Ames, including a 45-17 win in 2005. But other than those two wins McCarney hadn’t defeated Snyder’s Wildcats. K-State is 5-1 all-time (Snyder 4-0) against North Texas, with the last meeting being in 2010 when the Wildcats were able to hang on for a 48-41 victory in Denton, Texas.
A Look at the Mean Green
QB – The Mean Green is led by SR Quarterback Derek Thompson. Thompson has struggled this season completing only 42.2% of his passes. He has been able to avoid turnovers throwing only two interceptions thus far, but hasn’t found the end zone much either only passing for two touchdowns. Surprisingly Thompson actually had a better Quarterback rating in the Mean Green’s first game against LSU than he did last week against Texas Southern.
HB – North Texas plays a style of play that mirrors Kansas State. They want to rush the football and run as much clock as possible. Thus far in the season the Mean Green have passed the ball 45 times compared to 92 rushes. The leading rusher for North Texas is JR halfback Brandin Byrd. Last season Byrd backed up star HB Lance Dunbar (now on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad) and rushed for 83 yards on 20 carries. So far this season Bryd has rushed for 176 yards and 2 scores on only 38 carries.
North Texas also has freshman running back Anoinne Jimmerson who has impressed in his first two games. So far on the season Jimmerson has ran for 162 yards and a score on 23 carries (7 yards per carry). LSU was able to contain both of these backs, but to be fair LSU does have one of, if not the, best defenses in the country
WR/TE – Brelan Chandler is the headliner in terms of receivers for North Texas. Chandler had the 80 yard reception against LSU to cut the Tigers lead to 17 in the season opener. Last season Chandler had 457 yards on 37 catches and three touchdowns. He already has two touchdown receptions on the season, which is good for half of his catches.
SR Wide receiver Christopher Bynes also had some success last season. Bynes had 5 touchdown receptions on 37 catches (442 yards) last season. This year he has yet to score, but has 4 catches for 67 yards. Andrew Power is the Mean Green’s SR starting TE. Last season Power had 17 catches and a touchdown. This season he only has one catch for 7 yards.
Offensive line – Starting at LT is 6’6 311 LB SO Antonio Johnson. Last season as a freshman started in 11 games. The starting LG for the Mean Green rocks the greatest handlebar mustache in college football in 6’2 309 lb SO Mason Y’Barbo. Y’Barbo started every game last season as a freshman. At center will be 6-4 308 lb SR Aaron Fortenberry. Fortenberry is in his third season as a starter for the Mean Green and was the teams most outstanding offensive lineman in 2010.
On the right side of the line starts 6’3 321 lb SO Cyril Lemon. As a freshman Lemon also started every game. He was also named to the honorable mention all Sun Belt team. Rounding out the offensive line is 6’5 287 lb SR Coleman Freeley. Not only is Freeley the only North Texas lineman who did not start last season, but he is the only one who does not weight 300 pounds. He has started 4 games in his career.
DL – The defensive line for the mean green consists of only one SR starter, 6’2 251 lb DE K.C. Obi. Obi has 7 tackles on the season, including two for loss, and a sack. Obi has been a key player for the Mean Green having 89 career tackles, including 3.5 career sacks. Operating at the opposite side will be 6’2 259 LB JR Brandon McCoy. He has also been a force during his career in Denton, with 7.5 career sacks, and 76 total tackles.
At the tackle positions will be 6’4 315 lb JR Richard Abbe, and 6’2 266 lb SO Alexander Lincoln. So far Lincoln already has 7 tackles in his first season as a starter. Abbe has a sack and three tackles in what is also his first season as a starter.
Linebackers – The defensive unit for North Texas is led by SR OLB Jeremy Phillips and JR MLB Zach Orr. Orr has already racked up 14 tackles this season, which pushes his career total to 148. Phillips has ten tackles on the season making his career total 137. The final starting linebacker is SO Derek Akunne. He has started the season on a strong way. Akunne is second on the team in tackles (14), tackles for loss (2), and sacks (1).
Secondary – The secondary is North Texas’ most inexperienced unit of the defense. Inexperienced or not the secondary has played great to start the season. Starting at the cornerback positions are FR Zac Whitfield and JR Hubert Jackson. Whitfield already has two interceptions on the year and has 8 total tackles. Jackson has 14 tackles on the season and a sack. JR Marcus Trice, and SO Lairamie Lee will round out the defense at the safety positions. Lee leads the team in tackles with 16, and has an interception. Trice also has an interception on the season along with his 9 tackles.
North Texas returns starting Kicker Zach Olen. So far in the season Olen has yet to miss a field goal going 2-2. On his career he is 23-33 with a career long of 53 yards. Olen will also handle the kick off duties. Punting for the Mean Green will be SR Will Atterberry. Atterberry has been a longtime starter for North Texas. In his career he has booted 186 punts for an average of 41.3 yards per punt. So far this season Atterberry has already had 14 punts averaging 42.3 yards per punt.
3 Keys to a Wildcat Victory
- Don’t underestimate the opponent – If anyone watched the K-State Mask’s YouTube video this week you should know that a lot of people will not be taking this game seriously. That is always a mistake. Look at Arkansas losing to Louisiana Monroe, look at Rice defeating KU.
- Stop the run – North Texas is going to look to run the ball much more than either of K-State’s first two opponents. Thus far in the season the rush defense has been terrific. They will need another good game to stop a pesky North Texas rushing attack.
- Play K-State football – Ground and pound for 60 minutes.
K-State matches up very well against North Texas. They want to run the ball. Our defense wants them to run the ball. So defensively K-State is at the advantage. No one has stopped Kansas State from running the ball this year, and North Texas has struggled at stopping the run. So on offense the advantage goes to K-State. I like K-State to have a relatively easy win on Saturday, and still not show to much for the OU game.
KSTATE WINS 45-6
Staff Big 12 Predictions
Brandon Starkey 15-2 Paul Badke 14-3 DeAnte Mitchell 15-2 Jordan Bayless 15-2
UNT @ KSU: BS KSU 45-6, PB KSU 45-16, DM KSU 52-7, JB KSU 42-10
ULL @ OKST: BS OKST 45-24, PB OKST 52-20, DM OKST 42-24, JB OKST 44-20
TCU @ KU: BS TCU 37-13, PB TCU 35-13, DM TCU 41-14, JB TCU 50-14
James Madison @ WVU: BS WVU 77-9, PB WVU 66-10, DM WVU 56-14, JB WVU 63-7
NEW MEX @ TECH: BS TECH 42-10, PB TECH 35-14, DM TECH 35-3, JB TECH 38-7
SHST @ BAY: BS BAY 45-24, PB BAY 44-10, DM BAY 35-14, JB BAY 35-10
West Ill @ ISU: BS ISU 31-6, PB ISU 38-10, DM ISU 21-3, JB ISU 17-7
TX @ Ole Miss: BS TEX 27-21, PB TEX 20-17, DM TEX 31-28, JB TEX 21-14