North Texas is a 32 point dog in Athens tomorrow. So why are we so nervous? Sure, Akron set the stage well last week in Ann Arbor. But there are examples that hit much closer to home.
There was Troy in 2007 where the Dawgs won by double digits - albeit barely - in a game that was way too uncomfortable to watch. There was also Marshall in 2004, another 10 point victory over a mid-major, 13-3. Not to mention UAB in 2003, a narrow 16-13 victory by the skin of our teeth. Or more directly, a Blazer missed field goal.
Recently, you only have to look at last season's games against both Buffalo and to a lesser extent Florida Atlantic. Both were early season charity games that saw the defense struggle to contain an offense that should have barely put up a fight. Instead, we give up nearly 200 yards rushing to Buffalo and 134 to FAU on the way to allowing 23 and 20 points respectively.
Which is why I posted this last week in terms of stopping the run. The Mean Green can run the ball if someone lets them. They have some playmakers and they're bringing about 20 offensive linemen with them (seriously, take a look at how many big uglies they carry on their roster). Are we going to force them into long yardage on third down? Can we contain their mobile quarterback?
To the point, if we're going to have a shot in hell against LSU's punishing attack, we're going to have to develop an attitude and an identity on defense. Quick like. We can't be caught off guard by a fledgling football squad, or approach them with a lackadaisical attitude.
Our offense should be able to name their score tomorrow. I just hope our defense can follow suit.