Week 14 CUSA - UAB-USM, Tulsa-North Texas

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Week 14 Fearless Predictions & Preview - UAB at Southern Miss, Tulsa at North Texas

North Texas (7-4) at Tulsa (3-8) Nov. 30, 2:30, Fox Sports

Why You Should Give A Hoot: In the end, North Texas couldn't handle the pressure of being in the West Division driver's seat. Two wins away from earning a spot in the Conference USA title game, the Mean Green stubbed its toe in an improbable 21-13 home loss to UTSA. The defeat snapped a five-game winning streak and ended hopes for a division crown. Even as a disappointing 2013 campaign approached the station, Tulsa proved that it still had some fight left. The Golden Hurricane travelled to Ruston last weekend, where it defeated Louisiana Tech to win for the first time in more than a month.

Why North Texas Might Win: While the Mean Green played poorly last week, the program has been solid all year on both sides of the ball. They run the ball well with Brandin Byrd and Antoine Jimmerson, and have been opportunistic on the defensive side of the ball. LB Zach Orr is the leading man of a D that first in Conference USA scoring and second in takeaways.

Why Tulsa Might Win: The Hurricane showed on Saturday that it still has some fight left in it. The veterans, namely RB Trey Watts and LB Shawn Jackson, are keeping the locker room upbeat and motivated. Watts rushed for 189 and three scores on 40 carries, while Jackson chipped in with 10 tackles and half of Tulsa's six sacks.

Who To Watch Out For: The Mean Green presents a major challenge for Tulsa, especially QB Dane Evans. The redshirt freshman has had all kinds of problems as a passer, throwing just three touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

- North Texas is pining for more consistency from its own hurler, Derek Thompson. Thompson has access to a pair of quality pass-catchers, Darnell Smith and Brelan Chancellor, but his decision-making has come under scrutiny.

What Will Happen: Tulsa hasn't beaten a quality team all year, and it won't earn that kind of a win on Saturday. North Texas will rebound from its crushing loss to UTSA, stifling a Hurricane attack that relies too heavily on a single player. The Mean Green won't roll on offense, but it won't have to in order to secure an eighth win for the first time since 2003.

Prediction: North Texas 28 … Tulsa 20
Line: North Texas -5 o/u: 49.5
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2
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Southern Miss (0-11) at UAB (2-9) Nov. 30, 1:00

Why You Should Give A Hoot: One game is all that's left for Southern Miss to avoid a second consecutive winless season. The Golden Eagles are one of the four remaining FBS schools that have yet to taste victory in 2013, coming close on two occasions, but largely getting outclassed by the rest of Conference USA. UAB has been just slightly more competitive this fall, avoiding the East Division cellar with an Oct. 12 victory over Florida International. The Blazers did show fight last week against Rice, taking the West Division leader into overtime before losing, 37-34.

Why Southern Miss Might Win: The Golden Eagles will certainly be playing with a sense of desperation, realizing they have just one final shot to avoid another completely joyless offseason. In UAB, they'll be facing a defense that's yielding a league-worst 500 yards per game. Southern Miss is coming off arguably its best offensive effort of the year, getting 289 yards and three touchdown passes from rookie QB Nick Mullens.

Why UAB Might Win: Even in losing, the Blazers showed a lot of heart last week against Rice, an indication that the team won't lollygag to the finish line. UAB will soften an already shaky Southern Miss defense with the one-two rushing punch of running backs Jordan Howard and Darrin Reaves, who both have a chance to approach 1,000 yards this week. The Eagles are yielding more than 43 points a game and 4.8 yards per carry.

Who To Watch Out For: True freshman CB Jordan Petty appears capable of becoming a building block on defense in Birmingham. He's had 17 tackles over the last two games, getting increasingly comfortable as the starter.

- Mullens will again look to get the ball in the hands Markese Triplett, who's capable of creating mismatches. The 6-4, 224-pounder caught six passes for 101 yards a week ago, making good use of his size and big mitts.

What Will Happen: Southern Miss is desperate for a win, but desperation won't be enough to overcome a woeful lack of talent. UAB will run the ball without a lot of resistance, getting the long drives needed to wear down an overmatched Eagle defense.

Prediction: UAB 40 … Southern Miss 24
Line: UAB -14.5 o/u: 62
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 1
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