North Texas

Sat, Sep 3
4:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 170
Odds: North Texas +9.5, Total: 69.5

Game Analysis

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NORTH TEXAS (+9 ½)  30   Southern Methodist  35  

SMU will undoubtedly be better in year two of the Chad Morris regime, but the Mustangs are still going to be a bad team, especially defensively. That unit surrendered an average of 505 yards at 7.2 yards per play last season (to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yppl against an average team) and my algorithm rates SMU’s defense at 1.0 yppl worse than average heading into this season. The one bright spot for the Mustangs’ defense last season was a 31-13 win over North Texas in which they yielded just 256 yards and 3.9 yppl. I do not expect a repeat of that performance, as North Texas figures to possess a much better attack this season. Of course, that bar was set extremely low given last year’s rating of 1.4 yppl worse than average (4.6 yppl against teams that would allow 6.0 yppl to an average attack).

The Mean Green bring in a new coach in Seth Littrell and a new Texas Tech style spread attack that will be triggered by transfer Alec Morris, who spent the last 3 years as an Alabama backup. Any quarterback that is good enough to be on the Alabama roster is likely to be a huge upgrade for the nation’s worst passing team (just 4.0 yards per pass play last season). The receiving corps still lacks explosiveness, and top returning WR Turner Smiley is suspended for this game, but the attack will be predicated on short, accurate, timing throws and that’s something that Morris should do well enough even to significantly improve the attack. Running back Jeffrey Wilson averaged a robust 5.4 ypr last season despite opponents not being afraid of the pass and Wilson should increase his average in a system that is easier to run the ball in since the defenders are spread out across the field. North Texas will still be bad offensively (I project 0.8 yppl worse than average, which is 0.6 yppl better than 2015) but the SMU defense rates worse than that and the Mean Green are projected to rack up 444 yards at 5.9 yppl in this game.

SMU should still win the game, as the Mustangs are projected to gain 465 yards at 6.2 yppl against an improved, but still bad, North Texas defense. However, my ratings call for a closer contest than expected and I’d consider North Texas a Strong Opinion at +10 points or more.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • SMU
  • North Texas


  • Run Plays 36.2 36.2
  • Run Yards 176.2 167.6
  • YPRP 5.3 5.2


  • Pass Comp 18.0 23.0
  • Pass Att 36.4 39.8
  • Comp % 49.5% 57.8%
  • Pass Yards 221.2 266.2
  • Sacks 2.6 2.4
  • Sack Yards 15.2 21.2
  • Sack % 6.7% 5.7%
  • Pass Plays 39.0 42.2
  • Net Pass Yards 206.0 245.0
  • YPPP 5.3 5.8


  • Total Plays 75.2 78.4
  • Total Yards 397.4 433.8
  • YPPL 5.3 5.5


  • Int 2.0 2.4
  • Int % 5.5% 6.0%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.4
  • Turnovers 2.6 2.8
  • Points 19.8 30.6
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