For the first time in eight months, the Wildcats will take the field after finishing 6-5 in the 2018 season.
Similar to last year where ACU played the Baylor Bears in Waco, they will start the season with an FBS opponent, North Texas. The Mean Green enter the 2019 season on a hot note with a bowl appearance against #23 Utah State in the New Mexico bowl.
Head coach Adam Dorrel is well aware of the talent he’s going up against but knows what he wants to focus on to start the year.
“I think the things that really stand out to me is when you play a team of that level, if you want to have success, you’ve got to believe and I think our guys genuinely believe that, ” Dorrel said. “Secondly, it’s turnover margin. I’ve been talking about the week zero games all week, and they all have one thing in common. The team that won had a positive turnover margin. So, I think it’s key week one to minimize your critical errors.”
The Wildcats posted a negative three turnover margin last season. That’s something Dorrel wants to change going into this year. Despite those numbers however, ACU finished with its best record in its Div. I era.
“Last year is over, but we always struggled to win those close games,” Dorrel said. “Well, last year we were finally able to do that and, it’s given us a lot of confidence.”
Junior quarterback Luke Anthony is coming off a solid season, throwing for over 3000 yards and 23 touchdowns. Nonetheless, he’s motivated to improve on his success on the field this year.
“I really just want to see us close out games better,” Anthony said. “I think we showed up last year and got some wins, but this year it’s about finding a way to win all of those games.
Anthony also mentioned that in preparation for the UNT game, the coaches have been heavily focused on limiting turnovers.
“With me, it’s just taking care of the ball,” Anthony said. “Against a bigger team like that, you put yourself in hole if you turn the ball over early, especially. I just got to execute. Everyone else will do their job, and it’ll be fun.”
Senior running back Tracy James is also coming off an impressive 2018 season. James led the Wildcats with over 750 yards rushing. He says that last year is in the past, and his eyes are focused on this season.
“I’m never looking back,” James said. “I’m always looking forward. So, I knew things I wanted to work on in the offseason.”
He knows how big of a season this is too. The Wildcats play 12 games this for the first time since 2014. They start with UNT Saturday and close out the year with Mississippi State.
“I’m most looking forward to Mississippi State this year,” James said. “They’re an SEC school and that is something I like, and I always wanted to play SEC. It’s going to be a fun game right there. UNT is what I’m worried about for this week and I’m focused on getting the win there first.”
The Wildcats begin their 2019 season journey Saturday in Denton at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+.