The UNT Big Question Series, Game 9: The Troy Trojans at North Texas

Tobi WritesAnalyst INovember 2, 2010

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12:  Brandon James #25 of the Florida Gators breaks the tackle of John Birmingham #22 of the Troy Trojans during the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Welcome to the ninth entry in a series of weekly articles that pose the big questions facing the University of North Texas.

Coming off a big road 33-6 upset demolition of Western Kentucky, UNT faces the team that most would agree has been their kryptonitethe Troy Trojans.

Before we talk about the big question we should take a quick peak back at last week.

The WKU game was a good win, but let's not erect statues of interim coach Mike Canales yet.

I think there are legitimately some great things to take out of the game.

Special teams won that component of the game.

The defense actually dominated an opponent like good defenses do fairly frequently.

OK, that is enough praise.  Time for some perspective.

Lets remember that WKU was coming off not only their first conference win, but a landslide victory.  Let's remember WKU is a young team.  Although no one thought it entering the game, they proved just as incapable of UNT of knowing how to manage success.

And WKU does not have the most explosive weapons at the receiver spots to start and was missing their best TE.

And their defense is pretty marginal.

It can easily be seen as a game where UNT's superior talent overwhelmed a less talented and less focused team.

Still I don't want to take too much away from UNT or the Mean Green defense.   This is the first time all season they stepped on a team's throat and didn't let up.  That is a hugely important first step to becoming a good team. Good job Boys!

And now the question of the week...

Will UNT concede the game on Wednesday or Thursday or will they go out and play on Saturday with the intent of stealing this game?

I am not going to sugar coat.  UNT has conceded the game to Troy before the initial snap the last few years.

This is a game UNT could win if they play like they believe they can.

This is not the same Troy team that dominated the conference the last few years.  They are still one of the two best teams in the conference, but they have some weak areas that UNT can attack.

The talent differential is not that pronounced at all this year.

If UNT plays hard every snap they can be in this game.  If they play with the idea of winning they can actually win it.

If they are still the team they have been they will lose in a landslide.  Has this team really matured?  We will see.

The Nitty Gritty

Troy is still the best offense in the league.  In the Sun Belt you have five teams that can run the ball and four teams that can't.   Troy can run the ball.  They are averaging a 4.3 yards a carry.

Their passing offense is the best in the league completing 62% of their passes for 284 yards a game.

UNT is giving up 4.4 yards a carry, but is allowing only 53% of their passes to be completed.

Did UNT's defense come of age last week, or was that just a match-up win?  We will see.

Troy is not great at scoring TDs this year.  Their offense may still be capable of moving the ball, but they can be forced into FGs.  They have scored on 73.5% of their trips to the red zone, but only 16/34 trips have resulted in TDs (47%)

Troy is a little sloppy this year, giving up the most penalty yards in the league.  That is the MO of the kind of team that can be upset by a disciplined effort by a competent ball control team with a good defense.

Troy's defense is still good, but it is not at the level of past squads.  When you consider UNT TODAY is starting all but one player (JJ Johnson) off the offense UNT thought last year it would have in 2010, it seems reasonable that UNT could score enough to be in the game.

Are the Mean Green disciplined and mentally tough enough to beat a more talented team?  Can they avoid the stupid penalties?  Can they refuse to surrender the game?

This is another step towards being a good team. Can they take it?


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