North Texas at UAB
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Records: UNT 2-3, 1-2 C-USA; UAB 4-3, 2-1 C-USA
Last game: UNT 52, Middle Tennessee 35; Louisiana Tech 37, UAB 34 (2OT)
Last meeting: UAB 26, UNT 21 (2019)
What’s on the line?
UNT is suddenly back in the race for the Conference USA West Division title heading into its game against UAB, thanks to Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs rallied late and beat UAB in double overtime last week.
UAB was the last unbeaten team in the West, where five of the seven teams have two losses in league play. Rice is 1-1. The math is pretty simple. If UNT can pull the upset, it will be in the thick of the race for a spot in the conference title game.
UAB has two very winnable games against UTEP and Southern Miss to close out the regular season after it faces UNT. The Blazers have a clear path to the C-USA title game. They just need to keep winning.
When UNT has the ball
UNT seemed to find itself offensively in its last game against Middle Tennessee. Quarterback Jason Bean was terrific while throwing for 181 yards and rushing for 169 yards.
UNT rolled up 768 yards on the day. The Mean Green will also have running back Oscar Adaway III back this week, which should help matters. Adaway hasn't played since rushing for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games to open the season due to a hand injury.
UAB is one of the best defensive teams in C-USA and leads the league with an average of 179.3 passing yards allowed per game.
When UAB has the ball
UNT's defense showed signs of life in a tough season while limiting Middle Tennessee to seven points in the second half of a come-from-behind win. UNT elevated brothers Grayson and Gabriel Murphy to the starting lineup at defensive end for its game against the Blue Raiders.
The pair gave UNT more athleticism up front. Each made key plays that helped the Mean Green pull the game out.
UNT will face a unique challenge when it takes on a UAB team that is physical and likes to run the ball. Spencer Brown is averaging 105.7 rushing yards per game behind a massive UAB offensive line.
UNT is a 14-point underdog heading into its game against UAB and isn't expected to be particularly competitive with the Blazers.
UAB seems like a bad matchup for the Mean Green. The Blazers have C-USA's best pass defense and have a physical defensive front that will pose problems.
UAB also likes to run the ball and will be content to pound away at a UNT defense that ranks 12th in C-USA with an average of 243.2 rushing yards allowed per game.
UNT never seems to play well off bye weeks and hasn't played in nearly a month. UAB is coming off a bye week and has had a ton of time to prepare without becoming rusty.
UAB had a 21-game home winning streak snapped by Louisiana (Lafayette) in its last game at Legion Field. It's hard to imagine the Blazers dropping two in a row.
Prediction: UAB 27, UNT 21