North Texas vs. Troy: New Orleans Bowl: Prediction, Game Preview

North Texas vs. Troy: New Orleans Bowl: Prediction, Game Preview

Bowls & CFP

North Texas vs. Troy: New Orleans Bowl: Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the New Orleans Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
North Texas (9-4) vs. Troy (10-2)

Broadcast

Date: Saturday, December 16th, 2017
Game Time: 1:00 pm
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Network: ESPN

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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
21 out of 39

2017-2018 CFN Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The New Orleans Bowl

– These two should put up a ton of points with lots and lots of passing yards. The Troy defense might be solid, but North Texas should bust through that, averaging 467 yards per game. Troy hung up close to 40 points per game over the final six – all wins.

Troy is that team that beat LSU. It might have clunked along the way, but the co-Sun Belt champion is the real deal with a rising star head coach in Neal Brown. It’s one of the better Group of Five teams, and it’ll play like it.

North Texas lost to Florida Atlantic. Twice. Other than that, it one every other game after losing to Iowa early on, going on an 8-2 run with both of those losses coming to the Owls. Like Troy, it also has a young, rising superstar head coach. Seth Littrell is destined for a bigger gig really, really soon.

Here’s Why North Texas Will Win The New Orleans Bowl

It’s Mason Fine time. The sophomore quarterback is a yardage machine, hitting 64% of his passes on the year for 3,749 yards and 28 scores. He’ll give up a pick or two – with 13 on the year – but he’s the reason the Mean Green finished 18th in the nation in total offense. The attack will keep pushing.

Yeah, in a game like this, punting might matter. Troy isn’t bad on punt returns, but the punt coverage team is a bit lacking, and the punting game is awful averaging 36 yards per kick. Lightning-quick freshman Jaelon Darden has only had nine chances to return punts, but he came up with a score in the win over Rice late in the season.

Troy doesn’t care about time of possession, and UNT has to take advantage of that. The Mean Green offense doesn’t grind out drives, but it’s great at moving the chains and it’s usually on the right side of the clock. The D isn’t great at coming up with third down stops, but every one will be especially meaningful.

Here’s Why Troy Will Win The New Orleans Bowl

Yeah, North Texas has Mason Fine and a dangerous passing game, but Troy brings the heat. LB Hunter Reese and DE Jamal Stadom lead a defense that’s devastating at getting into the backfield on a regular basis. 26 different Trojans registered at least a half a tackle for loss with a whopping 101 plays behind the line on the year and 36 sacks. There will be a whole lot of negative plays. And because of all the pressure …

The interceptions will come. Again, Mason Fine will throw picks, and Troy will be happy to take them away, coming up with 15 on the year taking two for scores. Led by corner Blace Brown and his five takeaway, this is an aggressive secondary with the talent to turn games around. Expect the Trojans to come up with at least two interceptions.

Marcus Jones might be the nation’s best kickoff returner, or he’s at least close. The freshman was excellent throughout the season, and then he exploded late, returning two for scores against Coastal Carolina, and in the Sun Belt championship-sealing win over Arkansas State he took one to the house in the seven-point win. North Texas is awful at kick coverage, allowing 23.6 yards per try.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The New Orleans Bowl

It’s the start of the bowl season, and it might just turn out to be one of the best. Both teams have good, veteran quarterbacks. Both teams have great young coaches in Troy’s Neal Brown and UNT’s Seth Littrell who’ll soon be running Power Five programs. Both teams are going to put on a good show.

Troy’s defense might just be the difference. North Texas has the ability to bomb its way to a win, but it’s all about the turnovers. The Mean Green are -8 on the year in turnover margin with 22 giveaways on the year. Be stunned if Troy isn’t at least a +2.

These two used to own the Sun Belt. North Texas dominated the league for a stretch in the early 2000s, and Troy took over late in the decade. This is a moment for Conference USA – it wouldn’t look good if its conference runner-up lost to a Sun Belt team, even if it was a co-champion.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The New Orleans Bowl?

As long as Troy doesn’t get roasted in the turnover battle, it should have this.

The defense will dial up the pressure just enough to bother Fine, and the balanced offense has the veterans and the talent to keep up and answer the Mean Green scores. Troy just got by a high-octane Arkansas State team on the road; it will be able to handle the UNT attack.

Final Score

Troy 34, North Texas 27
More Bowl Info & New Orleans Bowl Tickets

Line

Troy -6.5, o/u: 62

ATS Confidence: 3
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 3.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

New Orleans Bowl History, Results

Dec. 17, 2016 Southern Miss 28, Louisiana-Lafayette 21
Dec. 19, 2015 Louisiana Tech 47 Arkansas State 28
Dec. 20, 2014 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Nevada 3
Dec. 21, 2013 Louisiana-Lafayette 24 Tulane 21
Dec. 22, 2012 Louisiana-Lafayette 43 East Carolina 34
Dec. 17, 2011 Louisiana-Lafayette 32 San Diego State 30
Dec. 18, 2010 Troy 48 Ohio 21
Dec. 20, 2009 Middle Tennessee 42 Southern Miss 32
Dec. 20, 2008 Southern Miss 30 Troy 27 (OT)
Dec. 21, 2007 FAU 44 Memphis 27
Dec. 22, 2006 Troy 41 Rice 17
Dec. 20, 2005 Southern Miss 31 Arkansas State 19
Dec. 14, 2004 Southern Miss 31 North Texas 10
Dec. 16, 2003 Memphis 27 North Texas 17
Dec. 17, 2002 North Texas 25 Cincinnati 19
Dec. 18, 2001 Colorado State 45 North Texas 20

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