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Frisco Football Classic Prediction and Preview: Miami (Ohio) vs. North Texas

Contrasting offensive styles will be on display in this inaugural bowl game
Contrasting styles will be on display in the inaugural Frisco Football Classic

Contrasting styles will be on display in the inaugural Frisco Football Classic

The inaugural Frisco Football Classic will showcase two .500 teams with contrasting offensive styles. Miami (Ohio) comes into this bowl game boasting a powerful passing game, while North Texas will showcase their running game. No matter what the offensive style is, the Frisco Football Classic should provide opportunities for a high-scoring affair.

Related: College Football Picks for Every Bowl Game in 2021-22

Miami lost 48-47 in overtime to Kent State in its last regular-season game on Nov. 27. The loss to Kent State knocked Miami out of the Mid-American Conference championship game, but the RedHawks had previously earned bowl eligibility by virtue of winning four of their last six games. In their last six games, Miami averaged better than 37 points per game. This appearance will mark the second time in three years that Miami has qualified for a bowl game, with the RedHawks last playing in the 2019 LendingTree Bowl, a 27-17 loss to Louisiana.

North Texas comes into this bowl game from a different perspective. North Texas started out the season 1-6 and was able to rally for five straight wins to clinch a bowl game destination. Among the more impressive wins for North Texas was the regular-season finale, where North Texas defeated 22nd-ranked UTSA 45-23 at home. UTSA was previously unbeaten up until that point. North Texas played in the 2020 Myrtle Beach Bowl, where the Mean Green were defeated by Appalachian State, 56-28.

Frisco Football Classic: Miami (Ohio) (6-6) vs. North Texas (6-6)

Kickoff: Thursday, Dec. 23 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas)
Spread: Miami (Ohio) -3

When Miami (Ohio) Has the Ball

As mentioned earlier, Miami has a strong passing offense. Led by quarterback Brett Gabbert (2,418 yards passing, 24 touchdowns, 6 interceptions), the RedHawks boast an offense that averages 425.6 yards and 29.1 points per game. 

Among Gabbert's leading targets are wide receivers Jack Sorenson (69 rec., 1,290 yds., 10 TDs) and Mac Hippenhammer (48, 786, 5). Both Sorenson and Hippenhammer average better than 16 yards per reception.

Defensively, North Texas has only allowed 230.0 yards per game through the air. To combat the Miami passing game, it will be imperative that Mean Green defensive end Grayson Murphy makes an impact. Murphy leads the Mean Green with 7.5 sacks and is also credited with a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

When North Texas Has the Ball

North Texas relies upon its strong running game, ranked third in the nation behind Army and Air Force, led by DeAndre Torrey. Torrey has carried the ball 248 times for 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Torrey has also contributed with 12 receptions for 176 yards as well.

The Mean Green have leaned heavily on two pass-catchers this season when they do throw. Wide receiver Roderic Burns leads the team with 54 receptions for 715 yards and four scores, while tight end Jason Pirtle has added 38 receptions for 351 yards and two touchdowns. No other player has more than 13 catches.

Defensively, Miami has given up an average of 150.7 yards per game on the ground. Miami's top defender is linebacker Ivan Pace Jr., who leads Miami with 116 tackles, including 13 for a loss, to go along with four sacks.

Final Analysis

This game will come down to whichever defense is best able to slow down the opposition's strength. With the impressive win over UTSA, and the relative close proximity to home for North Texas, look for the Mean Green to have just enough to claim this inaugural Frisco Football Challenge win.

Prediction: North Texas 31, Miami 24

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— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is podcasting for Buckeye Scoop. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.