The Liberty Flames and North Texas Mean Green meet at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas. Liberty are coming off a shocking upset against the UL Monroe Warhawks on the road. That’s one of the best mid-major teams falling to one of the worst. It’s not going to make waves like a 32-point upset featuring a Power Five conference, but that was a notable upset.
I don’t know if people know how bad UL Monroe are this season. That’s a potential top-5 quarterback getting downed by one of the worst schools in the FBS. UL Monroe needed a long 53-yard field goal for the win, but they got it done for a 31-28 win. Malik Willis had one of the worst stars I’ve seen from him.
Thoughts from HCHF looking ahead to this Saturday's game against North Texas.
— Liberty Football (@LibertyFootball) October 20, 2021
The Warhawks stopped Willis for 135 yards with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. He gashed UL Monroe for 157 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 6.8 yards per carry, but his putrid day through the air was the difference in the ballgame. NFL scouts aren’t going to like what he did in that one, but one game isn’t going to hurt his draft stock.
It was the second loss of the season for Liberty, as they dropped to 5-2 on the year. Their other loss came on September 24 versus Syracuse Orange. That was another winnable game that Liberty let get away for a 24-21 loss. Following their loss to Syracuse, they responded with a 36-12 win over UAB and 41-13 against Middle Tennessee.
How will Liberty respond versus North Texas following an unacceptable performance? North Texas are a 1-5 team coming off a 49-21 loss against Marshall for their fifth straight loss. They opened the year with a 44-14 win against Northwestern State, but haven’t done anything since. A win against a bad FCS school doesn’t move the meter.
Back-to-back losses against two of the worst football programs in the country wouldn’t be a good look for Willis. The Mean Green present a good bounce back spot for Liberty, but a similar effort would put the Flames in trouble again. Head below for our free Liberty vs. North Texas pick on October 23, 2021.
Liberty Flames vs. North Texas Mean Green Live Odds and Betting History:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Liberty Flames||-21 (-110)||-1700||Over 60.5 (-110)|
|North Texas Mean Green||-21 (-110)||+900||Under 60.5 (-110)|
|Team Data||Liberty Flames||North Texas Mean Green|
|Points Per Game||34.3||22.5|
|Points Against Per Game||16.7||35|
|Passing Yards Per Game||231.7||199.3|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||209.3||215.7|
Liberty vs. North Texas Prediction:
Malik Willis had his worst game of the season last week. The good news for Willis is that it was an outlier for him.
If it wasn’t an outlier then he wouldn’t be considered a top-5 pick in the NFL. Overall on the year, Willis has passed for 1,462 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions.
He is liked so much for his athleticism. Willis not only has the wheels to take off and gain yards, but he can run around in the pocket and buy time.
We’ve seen him pull off some special plays because he found time on his legs to get the ball out to a receiver. Willis has rushed for 655 yards and 9 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry.
He’s helped lead Liberty to 435.6 yards per game for 45th in the FBS. They are in the top-30 with 34.3 points scored per game. The offense was disappointing last week, and so was the defense for the Flames.
In fact, the defense was even more disappointing than the defense in my view. The Liberty defense has given up 280.3 yards per game for fifth in the FBS. With 16.7 points allowed, the Flames are 14th.
Liberty Flames vs. North Texas Mean Green Betting Trends:
- 13-2 ATS in their previous 15 games
- 8-1 ATS in their previous nine games versus nine games versus a team with a losing record
- 9-2 ATS in their previous 11 games as a favorite
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games after a loss
- 12-1 ATS in their previous 13 games on a Saturday
- 3-7 ATS in their previous ten games
- 0-5 overall in their previous five games
- 0-9 ATS in their previous nine games as an underdog at North Texas
- 2-9 ATS in their previous 11 games after allowing 40 points or more
- 1-4 ATS in their previous five games at North Texas
That’s not the defense that we saw against a bad UL Monroe team. Allowing 31 points to a bad offense wasn’t what we’ve been accustomed to with Liberty. Austin Aune and North Texas should be a good opportunity to get the confidence back.
Aune has thrown for 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on 49.1% completions. The offense goes through running back DeAndre Torrey. He’s gained 780 yards and 6 touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry. If Torrey isn’t going, then North Texas doesn’t have much to offer.
The Flames are one of the better teams in the country against the run, with 107.1 runs allowed per game. Running on them likely isn’t going to work. Bettors will shy away from the Liberty because of what happened last week, but I think we’re seeing value at 21 points because of the loss.