Coming off a 49-7 thrashing at the hands of Louisville, Ohio plays host to the North Texas Mean Green Saturday evening. A defense that was thoroughly exploited a week ago looks to stop a Mean Green attack that scored 40 points in their opener vs. Idaho.
North Texas, led by the former longtime Iowa State coach Dan McCarney, managed only 20.9 points per game a year ago. But the team's opening week onslaught of offense against Idaho has to be an encouraging sign. The Mean Green's 591 yards were the highest total for them in McCarney’s three-year reign.
North Texas comes into the game with three linemen who have made at least 23 career starts, and a quarterback in his third season as a starter in Derek Thompson. The dual-threat Thompson passed for a career-high 349 yards and completed 85.2 percent of his passes a week ago.
Senior linebacker Zach Orr leads a defense that looks to stop an Ohio squad that failed to appear in Week 1. Orr was named Conference USA's defensive player of the week for his performance against Idaho. He finished the game with 11 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss, along with forcing and recovering a fumble, and braking up a pass.
As far as the Bobcats’ struggles go, head coach Frank Solich talked in his Tuesday press conference about the fact that some things were set to change in practice this week.
"We're regrouping, looking at doing some things differently. Obviously, some guys performed very well, some guys didn't," Solich said. "We are going to make some changes. We're forced to make some."
Solich also talked injuries in the press conference.
Two starting offensive lineman, Jon Lechner and Sam Johnson, are likely done for the season after suffering injuries against Louisville. Senior linebacker Keith Moore also suffered an injury during that game and is still in a walking boot and is no go for this weekends game.
The Bobcats have to find a way to get the offense jump-started after being dominated upfront against Louisville. Tyler Tettleton needs to improve on an 11-23, 140-yard performance. The rushing attack will have to bounce back from a subpar game in which they gained the majority of their yards when the Cardinals second group was on the playing field.
Ohio pulled out a 31-30 victory in 2009 when they played the Mean Green in Denton, Texas, but the Bobcats need a more impressive victory in their home opener to avoid inciting panic in the fan base. The Bobcats are 32-13 at home since Solich joined the program, and look to get off on the right foot at home.