2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl Preview
UNLV Wide Receiver Devante Davis

Date: Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Where: Dallas, Texas

When: 12:00 PM Eastern Time

TV: ESPNU

Line: North Texas -6.5, Over/Under is at 54.5

UNLV Rebels (7-5 Overall, 5-3 in Mountain West, Finished T-3rd in West Division)

The Rebels season began with back-to-back losses against BCS Conference foes Minnesota and Arizona. They gave up at least 51 points in both of those games. UNLV won the next four games until they ran into #17 Fresno State and again were easily beaten. They came back with a victory against Nevada and sat at 5-3 on the season. The Rebels lost their next two games to San Jose State and Utah State heading into their final two games. They easily crushed Air Force and San Diego State to get to their final record of 7-5. Here are UNLV's stats for the 2013 season:

Last Bowl Game: 2000 Las Vegas Bowl vs. Arkansas (31-14 Win)

Passing Offense: 242.4 yards per game (51st in the FBS)

Rushing Offense: 181.4 yards per game (52nd)

Points Scored per Game: 31.3 points per game (54th)

Passing Defense: 214.5 yards per game (T-33rd)

Rushing Defense: 221.8 yards per game (110th)

Points Allowed per Game: 25.3 points per game (46th)

Player to Watch: Wide Receiver Devante Davis. He is the team's leading receiver by OVER 700 yards. He has 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns on 77 catches. The 2nd leading receiver has 41 catches for 469 yards and 4 touchdowns. He will be targeted quite a bit in this game and should have a say in the outcome, one way or the other.

North Texas Mean Green (8-4 Overall, 6-2 in C-USA, Finished T-2nd in West Division)

North Texas started the season 2-3 with all 3 losses coming on the road at Ohio, #9 Georgia, and Tulane. North Texas would win 6 of their last 7 games to get to the final record of 8-4. Their one loss in the last 7 games was to an improved Texas-San Antonio squad, 21-13. In the final 6 wins, North Texas won by double digits and the closest margin of victory was 12 points. It was a successful first year in C-USA for North Texas after spending the previous 12 season in the Sun Belt Conference. Here are North Texas' stats for the 2013 season:

Last Bowl Game: 2004 New Orleans Bowl vs. Southern Mississippi (31-10 Loss)

Passing Offense: 227.6 yards per game (68th in the FBS)

Rushing Offense: 184 yards per game (47th)

Points Scored per Game: 31.5 points per game (51st)

Passing Defense: 230.4 yards per game (65th)

Rushing Defense: 125.1 yards per game (18th)

Points Allowed per Game: 18.1 points per game (9th)

Player to Watch: Quarterback Derek Thompson. His numbers are not overly impressive, but he has been very effective this year. He has 2,640 yards, 14 touchdowns against 13 interceptions, and a completion percentage of 63.9. The completion percentage is over 6% better than 2012 (57.5%). In the 4 losses, Thompson threw at least 1 interception in every game.  

Prediction

North Texas has an advantage in the running game on both offense and defense. They have the 47th ranked rush offense against the 110th ranked run defense of UNLV. North Texas also has the 18th best rush defense against the 51st rush offense of UNLV. UNLV may need to pass their way to a victory. Let's go with North Texas to win 31-20.

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