The battle of .500 squads in the Lonestar State
Time and Date: 3:30PM ET on December 23, 2021
Broadcast Network: ESPN
Location: Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX
Spread: Miami (-3), per DraftKings*
Point Total: 54.5 per DraftKings*
ESPN FPI: Miami – 55%
All-Time Series: First Meeting
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
It’s been a while since North Texas lost a football game, and bowl eligibility did not seem like a possibility for this team heading into the final week of October. The Mean Green won three of their final five games by at least 22 points, and the offense began to click when shifting heavily toward the ground.
If Miami wants to end the 11-year drought without a bowl victory, stopping the run is of utmost importance. The RedHawks will rely heavily on Ivan Pace Jr. from the outside linebacker spot to meet the defenders at the line of scrimmage. Miami collects 6.6 tackles for loss per game, and its defensive ends must shed blocks and live in the backfield in order to nullify North Texas’ offensive production.
On the other side of the ball, the key to victory for Miami is to establish the Brett Gabbert to Jack Sorenson connection. Some of the RedHawks’ best football of the entire Chuck Martin era transpired during Sorenson’s hot streak, and targeting the star wideout early and often should be the optimal method of picking apart North Texas’ passing defense.
North Texas’ red hot rushing attack provides a stylistic clash to Miami’s pass-happy offense, but both units vastly improved as the season progressed. Expect frequent scoring in this one with the way the offenses were performing in November. This one feels like it could go either way, and I predict Miami emerges on top with a late go-ahead touchdown — one final connection from Gabbert to Sorenson.
Miami (OH) 34
North Texas 30