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C-USA title game running blog: UNT looking for revenge against FAU

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

North Texas will take on Florida Atlantic in the Conference USA title game this morning in Boca Raton in a rematch of a game the Owls won handily earlier this season.

We'll get to the matchup, but first here's an update on UNT's bowl situation.

We reported last night that all signs point to UNT playing in the New Orleans Bowl.

That is still the case as we count down to kickoff.

There is one notable qualifier here.

UNT will take a look at its options after today's game and would give serious consideration to going to another bowl if the Mean Green have an opportunity to play a Power Five program, a UNT source said Saturday morning.

Matchups between Power Five and Group of Five teams in bowl games are pretty rare. UNT has one bowl tie-in that offers the opportunity for a game against a Power Five team -- the Independence Bowl.

C-USA is scheduled to send a team to that bowl to face an ACC or SEC team.W

What happens today will help determine which team lands in that game. The C-USA champion gets its first choice of bowls. The loser of today's game receives the second choice.

The bowls and the conference office will also have a say.

It still looks highly likely that UNT ends up in New Orleans, which is what we said in the first place. But there is a chance things could play out differently.

As far as today's game goes, this is a rematch of a regular season game that saw FAU blow out UNT 69-31. The Mean Green will try to avenge that loss today, but will be without arguably their best offensive player in running back Jeffery Wilson.

The senior suffered a foot injury in a win over Army and is likely out for the remainder of the year, including UNT's bowl game.

Here's the preview from today's paper that focuses on the journey of UNT's seniors, including senior wide receiver Turner Smiley.

This could be a shootout. FAU leads C-USA with an average of 39.8 points per game, while UNT ranks second with an average of 37.5 points per game.

Stay tuned. I will update the blog all day.

10:56 -- UNT does not have any scratches of surprise today, but there are two worth noting that were a given. Defensive tackle Bryce English and running back Jeffery Wilson are out due to injury.

Kickoff -- FAU won the toss and will receive.

12:19 -- FAU is up 3-0 early. Nate Brooks saved a touchdown by running down Devin Singetary at the end of a 47-yard run. Jason Drikel missed an open receiver in the end zone on third down.

10:11 -- FAU is blitzing UNT early. The Owls just scored on a two-play drive and  are up 10-0. John Franklin III just scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass. FAU is up 10-0.

End of first quarter -- UNT just tried a fake field goal on what would have been a 53-yard field goal. Quinn Shanbour overthrew Caleb Chumley, who was past his defender. FAU has the ball at the UNT 3. The Mean Green have made one stand deep in their own end already. 

13:32 -- UNT had to punt on its last possession after going three-and-out. FAU has the ball back at its 16. FAU piled up 263 yards in the first quarter. UNT is lucky to be down just 17. The Owls had a touchdown called back on a hold and missed a field goal at the end of that same drive.

9:56 -- FAU has extended its lead to 20-0 on a 21-yard field goal from Greg Joseph. That is the third time UNT's defense has held the Owls out of the end zone deep in their own end. This game would be out of hand without those stops.

7:37 -- Mason Fine just threw an interception in the FAU end zone. Jalen Young brought it back to the 50-yard line. It's 20-0 FAU. 

4:43 -- FAU cashed in UNT's turnover with a 5-yard touchdown run by Devin Singletary. The Owls are up 27-0.

:45 -- UNT drove to the FAU 28 on its last possession. A sack and a delay penalty pushed UNT back. The Mean Green punted. 

Halftime -- UNT had one last chance to score in the first half after forcing FAU to punt from its 9. FAU got off a good punt and Evan Johnson was flagged for a personal foul on the play. UNT had the ball at its 36, but Mason Fine was promptly sacked and the Mean Green let the clock run out. 

It was that kind of half for UNT, which is down 27-0.

FAU dominated the entire way. UNT had a couple of chances to score, but Mason Fine threw an interception in the end zone and Quinn Shanbour overthrew Caleb Chumley on a fake field goal. Trevor Moore was lined up for a 53-yarder.

FAU piled up 382 yards in the first half, compared to 141 for UNT.

Fine has been sacked five times. Jordan Murray is really struggling with FAU's defensive ends.

Devin Singletary has rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns for FAU. Jason Driskel has 170 passing yards and threw a couple of terrific balls for the Owls.

13:31 -- UNT went three-and-out on its first possession of the second half. Kalib Woods just caught a 54-yard touchdown pass to put FAU up 34-0. 

5:50 -- UNT is on the board. Trevor Moore kicked a 26-yard field goal that bounced in off the upright. FAU is still up 34-17Start of the fourth quarter -- UNT has pulled to within 34-9 heading into the fourth quarter. Turner Smiley broke free for a 77-yard touchdown after catching a slant over the middle. UNT went for two, but saw its pass fall incomplete. FAU is up 34-17.

5:27 -- UNT is down 41-17. I will be back later.