Earlier this season, North Texas head coach Seth Littrell hinted on how the final stretch of the season may be the most challenging for his young team. Now, everyone will see how they respond.
After an impressive win over Army two weeks ago, the Mean Green couldn’t keep the momentum going as they committed four turnovers in the 31-17 loss to UT-San Antonio at the Alamodome.
“They are all hard,” said Littrell. “Anytime you lose, especially with that many mistakes, it’s never easy. All of our goals, what we stated as our mission coming into the season, it’s all right there still in front of us. We’ve just got to continue to get a week better.”
This weekend will be another big test as the Mean Green return home to face Conference USA West Division-leading Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are 4-1 in conference play (6-3 overall), with North Texas a couple of games back at 2-2 (4-4 overall). Louisiana Tech goes into Denton on a five-game winning streak under head coach Skip Holtz. The last time North Texas beat the Bulldogs in Denton was in 1987.
Both teams boast running attacks that are among the best in C-USA. North Texas has 18 rushing touchdowns, which is second in the league. Louisiana Tech leads the conference with 20. Mean Green running back Jeffrey Wilson is tied for sixth in the nation with 12 rushing touchdowns.
On defense, North Texas leads the conference in interceptions with 10, which also ties them for 21st nationally. The secondary will be challenged by Bulldogs quarterback Ryan Higgins, who threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns in the 61-16 win over Rice last weekend.
“They are very explosive, especially on offense,” said Littrell. “Defensively, they are one of the top defenses in the league year in and year out. It will be a great challenge for us.”
A strong showing down the stretch will be crucial for North Texas as they are just a couple of wins away from being bowl eligible. They have four games remaining in the regular season; two of those in Denton. So it will be important to take care of business at home, starting with Louisiana Tech.
“I think being back home in front of our fans bringing the energy, that will be key. I promise you these men are going to play their hearts out. They are going to compete and I’m looking forward to the crowd bringing that extra energy that will help us be successful.”
Kick-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Apogee Stadium in Denton.
Written by C. James