Western Kentucky vs. North Texas prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Hilltoppers and Mean Green on Saturday in Bowling Green, KY.
Western Kentucky vs. North Texas Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
TV Broadcast: ESPN3
Anthony Wales ran for 111 yards and four touchdowns in an easy 49-21 Hilltoppers (7-3, 5-1 Conference USA) victory over Florida International last week to remain atop the Conference USA East division. The WKU defense even contributed to the scoring efforts, as cornerback Leverick Johnson returned an interception 61 yards for a score.
Meanwhile, the Mean Green (4-5, 2-3) are coming off of a home loss to Louisiana Tech, as Seth Littrell’s squad allowed Carlos Henderson to score five touchdowns in a 45-24 setback. North Texas quarterback Mason Fine completed 23 of 34 passes for 207 yards with a touchdown and interception.
When these teams met last year in Denton, Brandon Doughty passed for 350 yards and four touchdowns, and Wales had 259 total yards and three touchdowns to help the Hilltoppers to a 55-28 win. Taywan Taylor added scores of 56 and 31 yards to finish with 134 receiving yards for WKU, while DaMarcus Smith threw four touchdown passes in his first career start for North Texas.
What To Know About Western Kentucky
A week after Mike White, Wales and Co. racked up 661 total yards in a 52-3 dismantling of Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, WKU had another prolific offensive outing against FIU. White was interception-free for the second consecutive week and has thrown just five picks on the season. Wales, meanwhile, has six multi-touchdown rushing games on the season and has found the end zone on the ground 11 times in his last four outings. This is a potent offense that also features a star receiver in Taylor, whose “worst” game of the season was against Miami (OH) when he had 58 receiving yards and a score. He now has nine touchdowns in his last six games. Both the pass and run games are clicking for WKU. Defensively, the ‘Toppers are very susceptible to the pass, so teams need to exploit that secondary if they want any chance to upset Jeff Brohm’s squad.
What to Know About North Texas
Littrell’s Mean Green have now dropped two games in a row, putting their bowl eligibility in jeopardy. One week after a turnover-filled loss against UTSA, UNT was overwhelmed by Skip Holtz’s Bulldogs. North Texas committed 10 penalties for 99 yards, rushed 30 times for just 82 yards (a 2.7 yards per carry average) and lost the total offense battle 479-289. But it’s been a really solid season in Denton considering the Mean Green won only one game last season, and Littrell was able to lead his team to a non-conference road win over a good Army squad earlier in the year. Ups and downs are very common for a young team with a new head coach, so the development of young players is priority No. 1. But winning as many games as possible and getting 15 extra practices that come with a bowl invite would be huge for this young team.
Offense: Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are averaging 506.5 yards per game compared to 346.7 for the Mean Green.
Defense: Even. North Texas is a very giving defense against the run, while WKU is struggling to defend the pass.
Special Teams: Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers have one of the better special teams efficiency ratings in the country.
Coaching: Western Kentucky. Brohm is a future Power Five head coach, though Littrell has done a very nice job in his first season in Denton.
Intangibles: Western Kentucky. The ‘Toppers will not let up as they look to claim the C-USA East division.
Matchup To Watch
Wales vs. North Texas run defense
The star Hilltoppers tailback was a threat both on the ground and as a pass-catcher last year when he faced the Mean Green. He had 193 yards and two rushing scores while adding 66 more yards and a touchdown as a receiver. The Mean Green are very susceptible defensively against the run, ranking No. 100 in the country at 204.2 yards per game. White will certainly get his share of yards through the air. But if North Texas is to have any chance at an upset, keeping a lid on the production from Wales is essential.
Spread: Western Kentucky -28.5
Western Kentucky vs. North Texas Prediction
Too much offensive firepower from the Hilltoppers will overwhelm the Mean Green defense. Fine will be able to move the football through the air, but Jeffrey Wilson has been inconsistent on the ground. North Texas just does not have the offensive playmakers to keep pace with this WKU offense.
Western Kentucky vs. North Texas Score Prediction: Western Kentucky 41, North Texas 21