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A few interesting notes on the game tonight

North Texas has struggled through the first part of the season, going 2-4 through their first six games , and 1-1 in Sun Belt play. Their match up tonight, in the first Tuesday night game of the year, against Louisiana-Lafayette (4-1, 2-0) will feature two teams on the opposite side of the win-loss spectrum, but with some interesting similarities.

For example, both defenses have shown that they are up to a challenge following a sudden change.

After committing a turnover, the North Texas defense has held opponents to just one score in seven opportunities. The one score that they allowed was after FAU had intercepted a pass on their 11 yard line, otherwise the Mean Green defense has not allowed an offense to get any points following their turnover. 

Louisiana's offense has has turned 13 turnovers into 53 points (five touchdowns and 6 field goals). They have only given the ball away four times this season, and their defense has responded following the sudden change, allowing just 10 points following a turnover.

The Ragin' Cajuns offense has done an excellent job of taking care of the ball, especially through the air, being one of only ten teams to have thrown just one interception.

Back on the defensive side of the ball, North Texas has yet to allow a fourth down conversion. Mean Green opponents have lined up to go for it five times, and have been denied each time. Only one other team (Rutgers) has not allowed a fourth down conversion this season.

The Ragin' Cagins have also been impressive on fourth down defensively. They have stopped opponents on six of their seven fourth down conversion attempts. Three of those stops have come inside of their 25, forcing teams to end the drive with no points.

With all the defensive strengths considered, it may be a race to 21 points. Under Dan McCarney, North Texas is 6-2 when scoring more than 21 points and 1-9 when being held to 21 points or less. Both of their losses when scoring more than 21 came last season (to Houston and Tulsa). 

One more interesting note. The Ragin' Cajuns are one of only 15 other teams (and the only team in the Sun Belt), to return all nine of their assistants. In addition, we also saw a note that they also bring back all four of the graduate assistants and administrative assistants, as well as all three of their strength and conditioning coaches.

Tune in tonight at 9pm ET on ESPN2 to catch the game.

 

 

"There may be one or two teams in the country who can win despite a bad week of practice"

Dan Mullen has Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0) among the handful of teams left in the country without a loss. This weekend they face a Middle Tennessee team that went into Atlanta and handily beat Georgia Tech 49-28.

Yesterday, a reporter asked Mullen if he viewed the game as a "trap game" and Mullen's response centered on focus, saying that in today's landscape of college football, if you don't focus on having quality practices all week, you're going to get beat.

"If you don't bring you focus to college football today, you're not going to win. If you don't have focus Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you're not going to have focus on Saturday. You're going to play like you prepare and so you have to have unbelievable focus all week."

"With the balance in college football today, it's evident that if your not focused, you're not going to win the game. There might be one or two teams in the country that can just roll the ball out there, have a bad week of practice and say 'We're going to play bad and sloppy and still win the game.'" Mullen said.

"You better be on your game if you want to win."

After this weekend's game against Middle Tennessee, they'll face Alabama on the road, followed by Texas A&M at home, and then LSU in Baton Rouge. Those three teams are a combined 17-2.

Tuesday TV - Tuesday night football is back

A Sun Belt match up is featured in this week's Tuesday night game.

Eastern time listed.

NFL:

No games

College:

Louisiana-Lafayette at North Texas - 9 - ESPN2

High School:

No games

Dave Christensen apologizes for post game actions

There was a bit of controversy in Air Force's 28-27 win over Wyoming on Saturday. 

With Wyoming leading Air Force 27-21 in the fourth quarter, Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz lost his helmet and immediately made his way to the Air Force sideline. Along the way, Dietz went to the ground while trainers spent several minutes attending to him. While Dietz still had to sit out the next play, the injury timeout allowed Air Force to keep all three timeouts at its disposal. 

Disclaimer: We didn't see the game. We do not want to speculate on the severity of Dietz's injury, more importantly an injury to the head, and especially for a player in training to fight for our country.

When play resumed, backup quarterback Kale Pearson finished the drive with a five-yard scoring dash with 7:45 to play. Wyoming was forced to punt on the ensuing drive and then did not get the ball back as Air Force ran out the game's final 5:29. 

Christensen eschewed the traditional postgame handshake at midfield and instead headed straight for the Wyoming locker room. When Calhoun tracked down Christensen in the end zone the Wyoming coach, by all accounts, unloaded on Calhoun.

According to the Denver Post, "Calhoun said he caught up with the Wyoming coach and said his team played a great game. But Christensen wasn't cordial.

"Christensen unleashed a profanity-laced tired on the AFA coach, and Christensen had to be restrained."

Calhoun described it as "probably not a conversation that I'd have with my mom."

Christensen told the media after the game "in this game, we're supposed to be ethical and that's not ethical."

Wyoming issued a statement on Sunday.

"I let my emotions, my passion for our football program and the frustrations of the first half of the season get the best of me, and my actions reflected negatively on our program," Christensen said in a statement issued Sunday night.

"The postgame actions and comments by coach Christensen do not represent Wyoming Cowboy football in the manner we expect, but I respect Dave for issuing his apology," said Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman.

The Mountain West announced on Monday it was reprimanding Christensen for his actions Saturday night.

 

It's possible that Christensen's anger was a product of a 2012 season gone awry. 

Christensen received a five-year contract extension after leading Wyoming to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the New Mexico Bowl in 2011. Things, however, have not gone as planned in 2012. The Air Force loss dropped Wyoming to 1-5. Their lone win was in overtime over Idaho, and among the five losses is a defeat to Cal Poly from FCS.  

Curtis Johnson gets his first game ball

Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson his first win as a head coach on Saturday. 

After leading 20-6 at the half, Johnson saw the Green Wave's advantage evaporate as SMU ripped off 20 straight points to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Ryan Griffin hooked up with Robert Kelley for the tandem's second touchdown of the game to put Tulane back on top 27-26 with 35 seconds remaining. Tulane still had to bat down SMU's Hail Mary to secure the win.

Of course, nothing comes easy when you're 0-5. 

The video below showcases the excitement of the Tulane players, staff and radio crew. Special teams coordinator and linebackers coach Barry Lamb awarded Johnson the game ball in the locker room.

We were glad to see Coach Johnson get his first win on Saturday. Ellis Johnson (Southern Miss) and Charley Molnar (UMass) are still looking for that first win & game ball. Let's hope that happens for both this weekend.

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