North Texas coach Seth Littrell and his players held their weekly press conference on Tuesday in advance of a critical showdown with UTSA on Saturday at Apogee Stadium.
UNT has won four straight games to get to 5-6 on the season, one win short of becoming bowl eligible. UTSA is 11-0, ranked No. 15 nationally and is looking to complete a perfect regular season.
Here are five takeaways from today's event.
1. This game could be a turning point and UNT knows it
This game has all the makings of a turning point for UNT as a program.
If you take an optimistic look at it, UNT could post just its second win over a ranked team in program history by beating UTSA. UNT is 1-47 all-time against ranks teams.
A win over the Roadrunners would move UNT to 6-6 and likely land the Mean Green in a bowl game. UNT would have a chance to post just the third bowl win in program history and finish over .500.
If UNT loses this game, it lands at 5-7, suffers its third straight losing season and is looking at an uncertain future.
"It's an important game for all of us," Littrell said. "If anyone on that field Saturday tells you this isn't a big game, they're lying to you."
2. This is a rivalry game
UNT fans have fought the notion of UTSA being a rival for years.
The position is understandable. UNT's program has been around for more than 100 years, while UTSA is fairly new to the scene.
The teams have developed a dislike for each other in a hurry after a series of consiqential games. The series is tied 4-4
UTSA coach Jeff Traylor boiled it all down to a simple proposition this week.
"North Texas can ruin our season," UTSA's coach said. "But guess what? We can ruin their season too. So, that's going to be our mantra. They're going to try to ruin ours and we're going to try to ruin theirs."
Littrell and his players did little to dispel that notion.
"Of course," running back Ikaika Ragsdale said when asked if the Mean Green are motivated to spoil UTSA's perfect run. "They're undefeated. We want to be the first ones to knock them off."
3. UNT has a lot of respect for UTSA's defense
UTSA ranks second in C-USA with an average of 20.1 points allowed per game and is particularly stout against the run.
The Roadrunners are allowing just 101.7 rushing yards per game.
UTSA's defense has UNT's attention.
"They've got a great defense, are multiple, big up front and very twitchy," Littrell said. "Usually, going into a game you can find different weaknesses or a guy or two to pick on. They don't have a weakness. They're an experienced group and do a great job."
4. Some veteran players have big decisions to make
UNT listed 14 players in its game notes that it will honor this weekend on Senior Day, including a few who have eligibility remaining.
Quarterback Austin Aune and offensive lineman Jacob Brammer and Manase Mose could all elect to return.
They could also walk away with their degrees in hand or transfer to another program.
Littrell said those players will make their decisions after the season.
5. UNT's coaches and players are anticipating an influx of UTSA fans
UTSA announced a crowd of 35,582 for its win over UAB at the Alamodome last week.
Not all of those fans will make the trek to Denton, but one can bet there will be a big contingent that does. It could make for an interesting atmosphere at Apogee, where UNT typically struggles to draw fans on the weekend after Thanksgiving.
"It's a big game," Ikaika Ragsdale said. "We're hoping our and their fans come out."