A Unique Game For 2021
Many times the NCAA gets a lot of criticism for not doing the right things for their athletes. If we’re being honest a lot of it is deserved. However, after finding themselves in an interesting situation they did something cool. As a result of having 84 bowl-eligible teams for only 82 slots, two schools were getting left out. In our final bowl projections, we had Ball State and Hawaii on the outside looking in. The NCAA created a new game for this year so everyone gets to play in the postseason. Let’s talk a little more about the game and preview the teams with our 2021 Frisco Football Classic Preview.
What To Call It?
When the NCAA created the new game the first thing that came to mind was “what will they call this thing?” Many ideas floated around the internet from the “Mystery Meat Bowl” to the more boring “unnamed college football bowl.” Here at Last Word as an homage to my kids who are huge Scooby-Doo fans we called it the “Scooby-Doo Mystery Bowl.”
Eventually, the NCAA simply called it the Frisco Football Classic. Played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas it comes only two days after the Frisco Bowl between San Diego and Texas-San Antonio. The classic, on the other hand, features Miami (Ohio) and North Texas.
Now that we’ve discussed how the game came about let’s preview the teams as our 2021 Frisco Football Classic Preview continues.
The game will air on ESPN at 2:30 p.m. CT.
— Frisco Football Classic (@FBFriscoClassic) December 18, 2021
Scouting The RedHawks
Chuck Martin’s squad heads into Thursday’s game with a 6-6 record. In addition they finished 5-3 in the Mid-American Conference and knocked off two bowl eligible teams Ball State and Central Michigan. Miami does a lot of their damage through the air, where their 280 yards per game ranks 20th in football. Two players lined up under center during the year Brett Gabbert and AJ Mayer. Gabbert threw for 2,418 yards and 24 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Mayer added 946 yards through the air and six touchdowns.
Whoever is quarterback their main target is Jack Sorenson, one of the best receivers in the MAC. The senior had 67 receptions on the season. In addition, he led the conference with 1,290 yards, ten touchdowns, and nearly 19 yards per catch. Another receiver Mac Hippenhammer is a former Penn State player. added 48 catches for 786 yards and five scores. The RedHawks don’t run the ball that much but when they do Keyon Mozee is the man. In 2o21 he rushed for 480 yards and four touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Miami is led by a couple of players, defensive lineman Kameron Butler and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. During his junior campaign Pace was second in the league in tackles with 116 and seven sacks. Butler finished with eight sacks, 49 tackles, three forced fumbles, and an interception.
We’ve finished looking at Miami-Ohio so now let’s turn to North Texas with our 2021 Frisco Football Classic Preview.
Looking At the Mean Green
Seven games into the 2021 season Seth Littrell’s club sat at 1-6 and hope for a bowl game seemed highly unlikely. However, North Texas got on a roll winning their last five to finish at 6-6. The capper was a 45-23 drubbing of Conference USA champion Texas San-Antonio who was 11-0 heading into the game. Austin Aune is the man under center for North Texas. On the year he threw for 1,763 yards and nine touchdowns. However, he did throw seven picks.
The Mean Green are the polar opposite of Miami in that they love to run the ball. In fact, they have five different players with over 300 yards on the season. Leading the way is senior Deandre Torrey, who ranked fourth in Conference USA with 1,214 yards and third in touchdowns with 13. In addition to Torrey Ikaika Ragsdale added 517 yards and five scores while Ayo Adeyi had 479 yards and six touchdowns. During their five-game winning streak, they ran for more than 320 yards three times.
When North Texas does throw the ball Roderic Burns and Jason Pirtle are the main targets. Between the two they accounted for 92 catches and nearly 1,100 yards. On the defensive side of the ball linebacker, KD Davis had 106 tackles leading the way. Furthermore, he also had 15 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. Another player to watch is defensive end Grayson Murphy who had 12.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks.
Now that we’ve looked at both teams it’s prediction time as we finish our 2021 Frisco Football Classic preview.
Who Wins The Game?
While many people argue there are too many bowl games and the case can be made this game isn’t necessary. However again kudos to the NCAA for making it happen. Taking it a step further this game features players who aren’t opting out and not only want to play but win. North Texas is looking to break a four-game bowl losing streak. In fact, they’ve been blown out in the last three. Their last win came in the 2013 Heart Of Texas Bowl beating UNLV 36-14.
Miami (Ohio) hasn’t won a bowl game since 2010 when they beat Middle Tennessee in the GoDaddy.com bowl 35-21. Even though this game was kind of thrown together it should be a fun, high-scoring contest. In the end, the RedHawks have the better defense and they’ll pull out a fourth-quarter victory.
Miami (Ohio) 31 North Texas 27
Thanks for checking out our 2021 Frisco Football Classic Preview here at Last Word On College Football. Don’t forget we have previews and wrap-ups of every bowl game leading up to the big one on January 10th.