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The Alabama Birmingham Blazers look to stay undefeated in in Conference-USA and extend their lead in the Western division on Saturday when they play host to the North Texas Mean Green. Both sides only have one defeat on the season but the Mean Green suffered theirs in conference play and will need this one in order to keep up. If they hope to accomplish that, they will have to do so against a defense that has been on fire of late . . .
Waking up on Sunday morning ranked ●6th● nationally in total defense‼️ pic.twitter.com/j9AVVskxfI
— UAB Football (@UAB_FB) October 14, 2018
The teams have met just three times in history with the first match up coming back in 1995, and the latest one last year, which saw UNT come out out on top, 46-43 in Denton, Texas.
Blazers Already Looking to be Bowl Eligible
UAB’s resurrected football program opened the season with a victory over a lowly FCS school and a loss to Coastal Carolina. But this is what you expect from a team brought back from the ashes, right? Well, what you do not expect is four straight wins since then, a perfect 3-0 conference mark and one win away from bowl eligibility as we enter the second half of the season. Included in those victories was an upset win over C-USA side UAB, and they come into this tilt winners of two straight comfortable road wins. They first went to Shreveport and left three-touchdown victors over Louisiana Tech and followed that up this past weekend with a six-touchdown win at Rice for good measure. In short, you can just call the Blazers butter, because they are on a roll.
Record Book Facts: This 95-yard touchdown reception from Erdely to Ubosi tied the record for longest scoring play in school history. Ubosi's 196 receiving yards were also the fifth most in school history in a single game. pic.twitter.com/PzDXDBPbq7
— UAB Football (@UAB_FB) October 15, 2018
Against the Owls, the game was pure domination from start to finish, scoring two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters before letting off the gas in final one. They out gained Rice 482 to 185 on the day and forced two turnovers in the route. They also finished the day with twice as many first downs as the home side. They currently sit a full game up in the West on both Louisiana Tech and North Texas. The team has the rare overbalanced attack of 232.7 rushing and 202.7 passing yards per game. They average 435.3 yards of offense but take on a defense allowing 339.3 yards per game. If they hope to win on Saturday they are going to veto figure out a way to make up that 100-yard deficit.
Green Mean Business
For a minute there, North Texas looked as if they would run the table in the 2018 campaign. Seriously . . . They let everybody know they were for real with a 23-point win over Southern Methodist to open the season and followed that up with a week three 44-17 demolishing of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Looking at the schedule it appeared they would be favored in every remaining game at that point, but the momentum came to a screeching halt in a surprise two-point home loss to Louisiana Tech. Since then, the team has bounced back with two straight victories, most recently, a 30-7 win over a visiting Southern Miss side this weekend.
The Golden Eagles scored four minutes into the second quarter to tie things up at seven apiece but failed to register another point as the Mean Green put 23 unanswered on the board for the lopsided victory. Mason FIne threw for 292 yards and a score while DeAndre Torrey ran for 95 yards, and more impressively, three touchdowns. What stands out the most when looking at the projected team match ups is the fact that the team only allows 97 yards rushing per contest but it is going against a Blazer ground game that runs for 232 yards per contest. That is more than they pass for. This is where UNT can win the game. Stop the run, win the game . . . pretty simple game plan, but can they do it?
North Texas is:
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games on fieldturf.
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
- 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Blazers started off as a one-point favorite at home but the line has shifted to their being a one-point underdog at this point. If you look at the schedules it is clear who has played the superior opposition to this point, and not only that, the team that has (North Texas, duh) has beaten some of that superior competition. Arkansas may be having a down year, but teams like the Mean Green do not typically waltz into SEC country and act like they own the place with buttwhoopin’s like the one they gave the Hogs. Just too much mean in this Green to go any other direction with your play.
Prediction: Pick: North Texas -1
Full-Game Total Pick
Both of these teams have been impressive defensively of late and that should slow the offensive momentum of both sides. UNT has hit the Under in their last seven games and the Blazers have it in their last four home contests. Look for these trends to continue on Saturday.