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at North Texas 24 … Indiana 21

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 24, 2011


Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Indiana at North Texas


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - Indiana at North Texas

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Sept. 24 at North Texas 24 … Indiana 21
CFN Analysis: North Texas had the best player on the field and it started to get him the ball on a regular basis to finally get a win. Lance Dunbar got the offense out of the doldrums with 127 rushing yards and seven catches for 152 yards including an 83-yard score, and now the Mean Green has finally gotten the Dan McCarney era off and running. The defense stuffed the awful IU offense, with Brandon Apunku leading the way with seven tackles and two sacks, and the pressure has to continue. With Tulsa up next, the offense has to keep getting the ball in Dunbar’s hands, and the secondary has to tighten up just a wee bit to have a chance.

As if the first year under Kevin Wilson couldn’t be more disastrous, this is a particularly galling low point. On the plus side, the Hoosiers are only a few plays away from being 4-0. However, they’re not 4-0 and it’s because the lines have been awful. Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker combined to throw for 354 yards and two touchdowns, but the running game continues to be an embarrassment and there are way, way too many mistakes, missed tackles, and missed opportunities. It’s going to take something special for IU to win a Big Ten game, and it’s not going to happen unless the D line can come up with a sack at some point and if the O line can protect the passers.

(AP) DENTON, Texas -- Lance Dunbar made up for two lost fumbles in the first quarter by gaining 279 all-purpose yards, Derek Thompson threw three touchdown passes and Dan McCarney earned his first victory at North Texas as the Mean Green defeated Indiana 24-21 Saturday night.

Dunbar, North Texas' leading rusher the past two seasons, had a career-high 152 yards receiving and added 127 more rushing. After losing fumbles on consecutive drives in the opening quarter, Dunbar caught an 83-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter that gave North Texas (1-3) its first score.

Indiana (1-3) trailed 24-0 before storming back in the fourth quarter. Backup Dusty Kiel threw two touchdown passes in the final 6 minutes, including a 67-yarder to Kofi Hughes that made it 24-21.

North Texas recovered the ensuing onside kick with 1:05 left to secure McCarney's first victory since coaching Iowa State in 2006.

Indiana (1-2) at North Texas (0-3) Sept. 24, 7:00, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … Indiana already showed it can blow a game against a bad team with a season-opening loss to Ball State, and it took way too much in the bag to get by South Carolina State last week, but if there are problems against North Texas, it’ll be time to pack it in for Kevin Wilson in his first season.

The Hoosiers have had their moments, but they’re simply not very good. With Penn State and the Big Ten season coming up next, the offense has to find more firepower and the defense has to come up with some semblance of a pass rush in a hurry. That might not be a problem against a North Texas team that’s doing a decent job in pass protection, but hasn’t been able to pave the way for points.

The Mean Green defense has been awful, ranking last in the nation allowing 559 yards per game, but playing FIU, Houston, and Alabama, who are a combined 9-0 to start, will do that. New head coach Dan McCarney’s team has to find something it can do right, and while the season will be all about improving and working towards the future, a good showing and a close game against a BCS league team would do wonders.

Why Indiana Might Win: North Texas isn’t getting any production from the linebackers, and the defense is giving up yards in chunks. It’s not really fair to judge a Sun Belt team based on what happens against Alabama, but the Tide was able to rip off 347 rushing yards and five touchdowns, averaging 10.5 yards per carry. FIU also had few problems ripping off yards in chunks on the way to a 208-yard, four touchdown performance from the ground game.

For all of Indiana’s problems, running the ball hasn’t been an issue. The line can’t pass block, but it’s getting production out of several different runners on the way to 508 yards and six touchdowns in the first three games. Against North Texas, as much as Wilson would like to wing the ball around, he’ll try to keep things steady early on with a ground attack that shouldn’t have any problems controlling the game from the start.

Why North Texas Might Win: Indiana isn’t getting any sort of a pass rush whatsoever, and over the first time in three games, keeping quarterback Derek Thomson from getting smacked around is one of the few things the team has done well.

There hasn’t been much that’s gone right so far for the Mean Green, but it’s not killing itself with a ton of turnovers – giving it away four times so far – and the pass rush showed up against Alabama with four sacks. If UNT can do all the little things right, and if the defensive front can take advantage of a bad IU line that’s allowed eight sacks in the first three games against extremely pedestrian defenses, there’s a chance this could be a battle into the second half if, and it’s a big if …

What To Watch Out For:
Lance Dunbar has to finally go off. Last year the Mean Green star running back ran for 100 yards or more in eight games, with 200 yards or more in three games. He was held to under 75 yards just twice, but this year he’s being keyed on by everyone’s defense and nothing is happening, failing to get more than 62 yards so far and getting stuffed last week by Alabama for 16 yards on 17 carries. McCarney would love nothing more than to keep feeding Dunbar the ball, but the holes just aren’t there.

Indiana quarterback Edward Wright-Baker is starting to establish himself, hitting 21-of-27 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns against South Carolina State, while also showing off the mobility to take advantage of several chances to move the chains with his feet. The key to his game will be to stay mistake free, and while he threw a pick against Virginia, he’s been careful to avoid the big interception.

What Will Happen: Dunbar will get 100 yards, but the UNT passing game won’t work. Indiana will struggle to get through the first half, and then the running game will take over and the Mean Green won’t be able to answer through the air. There’s not enough of a downfield passing game to come up with a comeback.

CFN Prediction: Indiana 34 … North Texas 21
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Indiana -6.5   O/U: 54.5

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