Both teams are coming off of tough losses with Arkansas falling to Kentucky (42-29) and North Texas losing to Florida Atlantic (30-20). The match-up should feature plenty of offense with both teams gaining yards different ways, as North Texas brings the fifth ranked passing offense in the nation, averaging 378 yards per game, while Arkansas' running game hauls in 329.7 yards per game.
One of the keys for this game will be seeing how well the North Texas defense can stop Darren McFadden. If UNT can force Arkansas to give the ball off to Felix Jones or Michael Smith, they will have a much better shot at slowing down the offense, but will still be a challenge.
What could be a factor in this game will be if North Texas will be able to make enough halftime adjustments to keep our level of efficiency up. This could be all the difference in the world, as in North Texas's last two games, they have trailed by three points and led by seven points at halftime, and ended up losing by fourteen and ten points, respectively. Against Florida Atlantic, our offense appeared to be firing on all cylinders in the first half even getting a solid running game going en route to gaining 313 yards and a 17-10 halftime lead. The second half, however was dominated by the Florida Atlantic as their defensive pressure only allowed UNT 153 yards and 3 points. Quarterback Daniel Meager again threw 3 interceptions while going 38-of-61 for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns, but was forced out of the pocket almost every time he dropped back in the second half, and never really got into a good rhythm. One of the bright spots however, was Jamario Thomas as he looked back in his freshman form as he rushed for 117 yards on 14 carries and had a 42 yard touchdown run.
On the defensive side of the ball, North Texas had their best output of the year so far, allowing 406 yards, with only 84 of that coming on the ground. QB Rusty Smith of Florida Atlantic however burned the Mean Green with a 74 yard pass to receiver Cortez Gent to put the Owls up 23-20 with just over 8 minutes left in the game. North Texas, on their final defensive stand, was forced to try and stop FAU from our own 17 yard line, but couldn't do so, which led to the final score. While UNT looked better, there is still lots of room for improvement, as the secondary still struggled to contain all the wide-receivers throughout the game, luckily the Mean Green play a run-oriented team this week, it will be against a Heisman hopeful however. What the defense could improve on, is forcing turnovers, as we are -6 in turnovers, forcing only 6 and giving up 10.
For the first time this year, the Mean Green Special Teams Unit struggled, allowing 2 blocked punts and missing a field goal. Thomas Moreland, kicker, missed a 25 yard field goal late in the game when the Mean Green were trying to make a comeback, however he did hit a pair of 37 yarders earlier in the game. Punter Truman Spencer had a punt attempt blocked early in the game and appeared to have him rattled as he struggled to get good punts off later in the game and ended up having his last punt attempt blocked deep in his own territory, both blocked punts led to Owl touchdowns. This week will need a more solid game, as Felix Jones and Darren McFadden look to pose problems if they are not careful.
This week's game will be a tough one for the Mean Green as Arkansas is looking to take out their frustrations from the past two losses.
North Texas is 0-8 all time vs Arkansas, with their last loss coming in 2003 when they fell 31-7 in Fayateville.
The last two times that North Texas started a season out 0-3, (2001,2004) they ended up as Sun-Belt Champions.
This past Saturday's crowd had over twenty thousand attendees, making it the ninth most attended game in North Texas history.