We are fortunate today to welcome in Javier Cardenas for our Friday Q&A in advance of North Texas game against Texas-San Antonio on Saturday at Apogee Stadium.
UNT (3-2) is atop Conference USA's West Division at 2-0 heading into its game against the Roadrunners. UTSA (3-1) lost its conference opener last week to Southern Miss.
Here is what Javier had to say about Saturday's game:
1. What happened to UTSA last week?
I think it was a combination of things. Southern Miss seemed like the more prepared team last weekend, which is odd given that UTSA was coming off bye week, but it just seemed like Southern Miss was ready to play that game and UTSA was not.
I also think UTSA bought into their own hype a little bit during their bye week. They kept seeing praise coming in from all the different outlets and they had a week to sit on it. Southern Miss came in as the underdog and hit them in the mouth. It took them a little too long to adjust.
2. How do you think UTSA responds?
If UTSA cannot bounce back and respond well against an in-state rival, then everyone might have crowned the Roadrunners as a Conference USA contender a little too early.
Oddly enough UTSA has played better as the road team during the Frank Wilson era. They also seem to have UNT's number playing them well all four times the two programs have meet.
This is going to show a lot of people what kind of coach Frank Wilson really is. If his team can bounce back after a disappointing loss and beat a good UNT team on the road it will add another badge on his head-coaching resume.
3. What is the strength of this team?
Without a doubt the strength of this team is their defense, more specifically the defensive line. Led by senior defensive end Marcus Davenport, this unit has played great all season long. Although they struggled last week against Southern Miss, Davenport and the rest of the defensive line were probably the reason UTSA even had a chance at tying the game late in the 4th quarter.
The linebacker duo of La'kel Bass and Josiah Tauaefa might be the best in conference, but they have yet to reach their full potential this season in my opinion. Tauaefa has yet to have a breakout game in 2017 and we all remember what he was able to do last year against UNT..
4. UTSA is great defensively. Do you think the Roadrunners can slow down UNT's offense?
If UTSA wants a chance at winning this game they will have to least prevent UNT from scoring at the pace they have been this season. I do not think UTSA has the ability to completely shut the UNT offense down.
The Roadrunner secondary is very suspect at this point of the season. Southern Miss exposed some weaknesses that UNT would be foolish not to take advantage of. If the secondary learned from their mistakes last week UTSA might have some moderate success against an explosive Mean Green offense.
5. How do you think this game plays out?
This should be a very entertaining game between two teams and fan bases that have grown to dislike each other.
If UTSA wants a legitimate chance at the Conference USA West title they have to win this game. UNT is in the driver's seat in the West and with a win this Saturday the Mean Green would be out to a comfortable 3-0 start that would likely lead to a spot in the conference championship game.
There is a lot on the line for both programs so early on in the season..
Ultimately I think the UNT offense proves to be a little too much for the UTSA defense. The Roadrunners will score on a suspect UNT secondary, but they will not be able keep up as the Mean Green get one too many long touchdown plays. The Mean Green win a close one in front of a big crowd.