North Texas

2016 Zaxby's Heart Of Dallas, Army vs. North Texas Bowl Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl Prediction, Army vs. North Texas Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl between Army (7-5) vs. North Texas (5-7), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


200-heart-of-dallasBroadcast

Date: Tuesday, December 27th
Game Time: 12:00 pm
Venue: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
Network: ESPN

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Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 33 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

The game so nice you needed it twice. Fine, so it sucks that we just did this on October 22nd – a 35-18 North Texas win – but you didn’t watch it, so it’s new to you. Army is always worth the price of admission with a fun offense coming off the thrilling upset over Navy.

Is Seth Littrell the new rising star? He’s not there yet, but the 38-year-old was able to turn the formerly woeful North Texas program around and get it to a bowl game, even if it needed the Academic Progress Rate to do it. He’ll need to come up with a few more good seasons, but the former offensive coordinator at Arizona and Indiana knows offense – he’ll have a few wrinkles.

The bowls with teams that care are always going to be interesting. North Texas pounded UNLV in your 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl. That was the program’s last post-season game wins 2004, and just the second bowl win in seven tries. This is just the sixth bowl game in Army’s long and storied history. It’s the first since 2010 and the second since 1996.

Here’s Why Army Will Win The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

No way, no how, no chance Army will do that again. How did Army lose the first matchup between the two teams? Simple – seven turnovers. North Texas didn’t stop the Army ground game. It didn’t slow the Black Knights down on fourth downs – allowing them to convert 5-of-7 chances – and it wasn’t amazing offensively. Give the UNT D credit for the takeaways, but Army won’t give those up.

The North Texas run defense has been a wreck against the run. The defensive front will occasionally get behind the line, but it doesn’t do it enough. The Mean Green allowed 198 rushing yards or more in five of the last six games, and is coming off a disaster against UTEP, allowing 384 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout loss. Army will hit the 300-yard mark walking off the bus.

As long as you don’t give the ball away seven times, and as long as you don’t give North Texas a whole slew of easy chances, you can stop the North Texas offense. It doesn’t go on long drives, and it’s not particularly explosive. As long as Army doesn’t start screwing up again, it’ll take something special for North Texas to score more than 20 points – the O might never have the ball. Be shocked if the Black Knights don’t control the clock for close to 40 minutes.

Here’s Why North Texas Will Win The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

APR teams do it in the classroom. Who cares how North Texas got into a bowl? San Jose State, Minnesota, and Nebraska all got bowl bid last year thanks to their solid Academic Progress Report, and they all won. North Texas won’t take this bowl for granted in any way. Throw in the home aspect to the game, and the intangibles are on its side.

Army isn’t going to turn the ball over seven times again, but it’ll give it up a few times. This isn’t the more secure team when it comes to ball control, turning it over 24 times in the final nine games after not giving it away at all over the first three games. North Texas has only lost the turnover battle twice in the last six games. Army will lose the margin, it’s just a question of by how much.

It’s not that Army doesn’t throw, it’s that it can’t. Yeah, the precision Black Knight option attack is brilliant, but North Texas will have several weeks to prepare for it. Stop is a few times, and Army will run again. The O doesn’t connect on enough deep plays, and as shown against the Mean Green the first time around, start throwing, and the picks will come.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Okay, so this is a tough one. It would be a whole lot nicer if North Texas didn’t limp across the finish line. The win over Army was one of the last bits of fun, losing four of the last five games and only getting a lone win over Southern Miss to make things seem a little better. But again, you probably didn’t watch those games – this might look like a different team.

Okay, so the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is due. The inaugural bowl in Dallas turned out to be a blast, with Texas Tech winning a 45-38 thriller over Northwestern. Since then, the last five games have been among the worst and forgettable of the respective bowl seasons – none of them were decided by fewer than 13 points.

Okay, so Army could turn the lights out right away with the running game. UNT RB Jeffery Wilson scored 13 touchdowns in the first eight games before getting hurt – including three against Army – but the Black Knight offense is something special when it’s rolling. The Black Knight linebacking corps struggled a bit in the first meeting, but when it’s on, this group can shut down an offense to a dead stop. The key is for Army to get up early, and then do what it does.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl?

It’s hard to win a rematch, especially when it’s going to be a lot different than the first time around. But Army is just so flaky.

North Texas might have struggled to close out the season, but so did Army, with the offense going nowhere against Notre Dame and Air Force and only having moderate success against Navy.

The Black Knights will win, but they’ll do it on D.

The offense will come up with over 300 yards on the ground, but it won’t convert enough drives into points. It’ll be up to the defense that finished the season fourth in the nation – partly because the offense keeps the D off the field – to rise up and stop the UNT offense just enough to pull off a surprisingly entertaining win.

Final Score

Army 21, North Texas 16

Line

Army -10, o/u: 49

ATS Confidence: 3
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Must See Rating: 2.5
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Get Tickets For The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Heart of Dallas Bowl History, Results

Dec. 26, 2015 Washington 44 Southern Miss 31
Dec. 26, 2014 Louisiana Tech 35 Illinois 18
Jan. 1, 2014 North Texas 36 UNLV 14
Jan. 1, 2013 Oklahoma State 58 Purdue 14
Jan. 2, 2012 Houston 30 Penn State 14
Jan. 1, 2011 Texas Tech 45 Northwestern 38