Utah State Aggies (10-2) at North Texas Mean Green (9-3)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 15, 2018, 2:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: North Texas Mean Green +11 -- Over/Under:
The North Texas Mean Green and Utah State Aggies will square off in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday at Dreamstyle Stadium as college football bowl season kicks off.
The North Texas Mean Green had another success season as after finishing the regular season with a 9-3 overall record while finishing C-USA play with a 5-3 record. The New Mexico Bowl will be the 3rd consecutive year in which the Mean Green have reached postseason play, however, they will be looking forward their first Bowl win since 2013 when they beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
On the season, North Texas is averaging 36.4 ppg on 472.8 total yards per game (316.3 passing yds/g; 156.6 rushing yds/g). Offensively, North Texas has been led by QB Mason Fine who has completed 64.6% of his passes for 27 TD & 5 INT while averaging 311.2 passing yds/g. The top receivers for Fine and the Mean Green have been Rico Bussey Jr. (5.7 rec/g; 84.8 yds/g; 12 TD), Jalen Guyton (4.2 rec/g; 58.5 yds/g; 5 TD), and Jaelon Darden (3.8 rec/g; 47.3 yds/g; 4 TD). Leading the way for the Mean Green backfield has been DeAndre Torrey who had 14 rushing TD’s on the season while averaging 78.5 rushing yds/g on 13.4 att/g.
Defensively, North Texas is holding their opponents to an average of 21.8 ppg on 359.5 total yards per game (246.1 passing yds/g; 113.4 rushing yds/g). The Mean Green forced 21 turnovers on the season and finished the year with a turnover margin of +8.
The Utah State Aggies finished the season with an impressive 11-2 record however, which included an 11-game winning streak, however, had to be disappointed with how the regular season ended as the Aggies didn’t get the opportunity to play in the Mountain West Championship after falling to the Boise State Broncos in their regular season finale. This will be the Aggies 3rd Bowl game in the past 4 years and they will be looking for their 1st bowl win since defeating the UTEP Miners in the New Mexico Bowl in 2014.
On the season, Utah State is averaging 47.2 ppg on 492.5 total yards per game (288.8 passing yds/g; 203.7 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Utah State has been led by Jordan Love who completed 65.8% of his passes for 28 TD & 5 INT while averaging 267.3 passing yds/g. The top receivers for Love and the Aggies have been Ron’quavion Tarver (5.2 rec/g; 56.3 yds/g; 7 TD), Jalen Greene (3.2 rec/g; 44.8 yds/g; 5 TD), and Aaren Vaughns (2.6 rec/g; 39.3 yds/g; 3 TD). Leading the way for the Aggies backfield has been the duo of Darwin Thompson (11.0 att/g; 79.3 yds/g; 14 TD) & Gerold Bright (10.4 att/g; 65.4 yds/g; 8 TD).
Defensively, Utah State is allowing their opponents to average 23.0 ppg on 385.2 total yards per game (240.1 passing yds/g; 145.1 rushing yds/g). The Aggies forced 28 turnovers on the season and finished the regular season with a turnover margin of +11.
The Mean Green are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games, however, are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win. The Aggies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
Both of these offenses had outstanding success this season throwing the football as the Mean Green ranked 11th in passing offense while Utah State ranked 18th. As much as I’ve been impressed by the Aggies this season, they didn’t look that explosive in their last two games away from home and as I think the Mean Green offense will be able to keep this one close, I’m going to go with North Texas and the points.