I’m about to head out for the airport on my way to UNT’s game against Tulane tomorrow down in New Orleans.
If it’s not the best destination site for a game, it has to be right up there. And it certainly brings back a lot of memories of the Glory Days.
We have talked about it over the last week or so, but those four years in which UNT won the Sun Belt and played in the New Orleans Bowl changed the school forever. That run got the ball rolling for UNT to build a new athletic center, which was a precursor to Apogee Stadium being built, which led to UNT laying the ground work to bring its baseball program back.
The athletic fee that was passed a few years back? I don’t think that happens without the bowl run, either.
So what will it take for UNT to make its return to the site of so many good times in program history a successful one?
A few thoughts:
– UNT has to find a way to get over the hump on the road. Dan McCarney has sunk a whole lot of time and effort into building a home field advantage at Apogee Stadium (smart move). UNT just hasn’t won games on the road for one reason or another. Teams don’t win championships and get to bowl games without winning on the road. UNT is hoping tomorrow will mark its big breakthrough and the end of a six-game road losing streak.
– Stop Ryan Grant. UNT has given up big play after big play in the passing game and ranks dead last in C-USA in total defense (488.2 yards allowed per game) and passing defense (314.2 yards allowed per game). A lot of that has to do with facing a bunch of pretty good teams, Georgia chief among them, but there is no denying UNT has struggled. Grant is one of the best receivers in C-USA and has 461 yards on the season already.
– Get back on track offensively. UNT managed just one offensive touchdown in its loss to Georgia. Yeah, it’s Georgia. Still, UNT has been a bit inconsistent offensively, especially in the running game.
– Win the turnover battle. McCarney preaches about turnovers quite a bit. And with good reason. UNT has forced 13 turnovers, committed eight and ranks second in C-USA with a plus-five turnover margin. Only Tulane, which has forced 16 turnovers and committed nine for a plus-seven ratio is better among C-USA teams. UNT can’t afford to lose the turnover battle, especially with the way its defense has given up yards at times this season.