The 2017 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will have teams from the Sun Belt and C-USA conferences squaring off in the Superdome. The North Texas Mean Green and the Troy Trojans will square off in a battle of quality teams from lower end conferences.
Troy Trojans (10-2)
Troy lost two games this season by 11 points each. One loss, at Boise State, was acceptable. The other loss, to South Alabama, raised some eyebrows. The Trojans were able to overcome those two losses to share a conference championship with Appalachian State. Beating LSU in Death Valley was the highlight of the season for Troy and they will be looking to cap off the great season with one more win.
Brandon Silvers is the senior quarterback for Troy. He has thrown for 2,985 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. He does have four games with over 300 passing yards, but for the most part just helps the Trojans move the chains. He spreads the ball out to a lot of receivers, seven of which have over 200 receiving yards. Deondre Douglas is Silvers’ best target with 628 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Jordan Chunn is the leading rusher with 774 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He missed two games this season, which hurt his overall stats. His best game came against LSU, when he rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown. Since then he has slowed down, but he has still managed to average five yards a carry.
The offense is average, but the defense is the reason why this team is so good. The Trojans have the 11th best scoring defense, allowing just 17.5 points per game. They specialize in stopping the run and rank 14th in rushing yards allowed. Defensive back Blace Brown helps the turnover margin with his five interceptions.
North Texas Mean Green (9-4)
North Texas is coming off of a loss to Florida Atlantic in the C-USA Championship Game. Florida Atlantic accounted for two of their losses this season, with the other two coming at the hands of Iowa and SMU. It was a pretty successful season for the Mean Green.
The North Texas offense is good. They rank 20th in points scored with 35.9 points per game. Mason Fine leads the offense from his quarterback position with 3,749 yards passing, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He ranks ninth in passing yards in the FBS. He’s just a sophomore and has a bright future ahead. The Mean Green have four receivers with over 500 receiving yards, but Jalen Guyton and Michael Lawrence lead the way with over 700 receiving yards. Guyton has nine touchdowns on the season as well.
There is some balance to the North Texas offense. Their leading running back, Jeffery Wilson, has 1,215 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. He helps set up the passing game with his 6.5 yards per carry. He has been injured and missed the last two games, but Nic Smith has been able to fill in well for Wilson. They’ll be in good hands no matter who is in the backfield come game time.
The Mean Green defense leaves a lot to be desired. They allow 33.8 points per game, which is one of the highest amount of points allowed in the country. Their defense allows 208 rushing yards and 223 passing yards per game. They will need someone to step up in this game to help shut down Troy.
Troy has proven they can play with the best, even if they can slip up at times. Jordan Chunn will have a big game against a bad rush defense, which will help the Trojans control the clock. With their defense fresh, North Texas won’t be able to be as effective as usual. The Trojans will win the game because of their defense the turnovers they force.
Final score: Troy Trojans 27 North Texas Mean Green 20
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