Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
Where to watch: ESPN+
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Memphis -12.5
FanDuel: Memphis -12.5
BetMGM: Memphis -12.5
Caesars: Memphis -12.5
North Texas: 2-2
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North Texas - Memphis preview, analysis and prediction
North Texas: lost 58-27 at UNLV
Memphis: won 44-32 vs. Arkansas State
This will be the last time the North Texas Mean Green and Memphis Tigers meet each other as non-conference opponents before next year. With North Texas joining the American Conference next season, along with a lot more teams, Saturday’s game will be a precursor of what’s to come.
Both teams enter this matchup with two wins, but it’s a clear understanding that the Tigers are near-two-touchdown favorites going into this one, and it makes sense. Memphis has won back-to-back games at Navy by 24 and then a home win against Arkansas State.
Meanwhile, North Texas is still having nightmares of UNLV running back Aidan Robbins running through their entire defense en route to a 58-27 loss to the Rebels in the rematch of the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl. These are the things we try to remember from a historical context and it makes it very fun to do such things.
But if North Texas was given a taste of its own medicine with the running game, I’m not sure the Mean Green defense is ready for the air attack that’s coming from Memphis. Quarterback Seth Henigan threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 of 28 passing. The bad news for the Tigers was the defense giving up 32 points in a near upset at the hands of the Red Wolves.
Memphis’ running game also had three touchdowns on the ground while getting 76 yards on 10 carries and a score from Jeyvon Ducker. All in all, a solid offensive performance. But again, if Memphis wants to contend in this conference, there’s going to need to be better resistance from the defensive side of the ball until further notice. The Tigers’ defense held Arkansas State to just 95 yards on the ground, well less than 3 yards per carry.
That’s the kind of performance the Tigers will need to have going against North Texas’ solid running game. Going into Saturday’s matchup against UNLV, the Mean Green had the 18th best rushing attack in the country. UNLV, never known for its defense, held North Texas to just 169 rushing yards on the ground on 39 carries.
North Texas just didn’t have an answer for Robbins, who went on to become the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week after running for 227 yards and three touchdowns. They also had no answer defensively for UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield, who had 311 total yards including 100 and two scores on the ground.
If UNT quarterback Austin Aune can show that kind of efficiency minus the two interceptions, North Texas might have a shot. I just don’t trust what UNT can bring defensively against Henigan and the rest of the Memphis offense.
If North Texas were at home, I’d be more hesitant to take Memphis laying the points. At home, with a UNT team off a rough week, I’d take the favorite heavily. Memphis by 20
North Texas is 6-11 ATS as an underdog in the last three seasons.
North Texas is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 road games.
North Texas is 1-7 ATS after playing a non-conference game the prior week.
Memphis is 5-9 ATS as a favorite the past three years.
Memphis is 7-6 ATS in its last 13 home games despite being 12-2 straight up.
Passing: Austin Aune -- 945 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Ayo Adeyi -- 330 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Roderic Burns -- 275 yards, 1 TD
Passing: Seth Henigan -- 940 yards, 6 TD
Rushing: Jeyvon Ducker -- 147 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Gabriel Rogers -- 214 yards
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