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North Texas (0-0) at Texas (0-0)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, August 30, 8 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (100,119) -- Austin, Texas. Television: Longhorn Network. Home Record: UNT 0-0, UT 0-0. Away Record: UNT 0-0, UT 0-0. Neutral Record: UNT 0-0, UT 0-0. Conference Record: UNT 0-0, UT 0-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 9-0.

GAME NOTES: The Charlie Strong era in Austin officially gets underway on Saturday night, as the Texas Longhorns play host to the North Texas Mean Green.

North Texas is coming off a season in which it went 9-4, logging a 6-2 mark in Conference USA play which tied it for second place in the West Division standings. The Mean Green were rewarded for their impressive campaign with a date against UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which they won in a 36-14 final.

Dan McCarney is set to embark on his fourth season at the helm in Denton, and will try to improve upon his 18-19 overall record with the Mean Green.

Strong, the former Louisville head coach takes over the reins at Texas, where Mack Brown had ruled the roost since 1998. The Longhorns went 8-5 last season, with seven of those victories coming against Big 12 Conference foes. Having lost out on the chance at winning the league crown and a BCS bowl bid, UT settled for an Alamo Bowl clash with Oregon, and the Ducks prevailed easily in that one, 30-7.

Texas has won each of its last 14 season openers, and is an astounding 101-17-3 all-time in such endeavors, which includes a 79-7-2 mark at home.

This Lone Star State rivalry has been one-sided since its inception, with the Longhorns prevailing in all nine prior matchups.

The good news for North Texas when it comes to offensive starters returning is that the offensive line doesn't need much work. Four of the five starters are back, which will help offset the fact that several of the skill position players are brand new.

McCarney recently announced that sophomore Josh Greer will be the starter at quarterback, while the top returning receiver is Carlos Harris (553 yards, two TDs). Other pass catchers to keep an eye on include Darius Terrell and Darvin Kidsy.

The rushing attack, which featured a 1,000-yard back in Brandin Byrd in 2013, boasts a pair of solid options in Reggie Pegram and Antoinne Jimmerson, the duo combining for seven touchdowns last year.

Defense was UNT's strong suit in 2013. Led by Zach Orr, who registered 123 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, the Mean Green limited foes to a mere 120.5 rushing yards per outing. Marcus Trice registered nine pass breakups and intercepted a team-high five passes from his spot in the secondary.

Unfortunately, both players are gone, leaving only four returning starters, although one of them is productive linebacker Derek Akunne (90 tackles).

Along on the defensive line, not a single starter returns, but there are guys McCarney feels comfortable going into battle with, namely seniors Daryl Mason and Alexander Lincoln.

Kenny Buyers (78 tackles, three interceptions) and James Jones (67 tackles, seven pass breakups) should anchor the secondary on the outside, while Lairamie Lee (74 tackles, three interceptions) roams the middle of the field.

Running the football was the strength of the Texas offense last season, as the unit averaged just shy of 200 yards per game (196.2) on the ground. That aspect of the team's attack should be the least of Strong's concerns this year, as senior Malcolm Brown (904 yards, nine touchdowns) and junior Johnathan Gray (803 yards, four touchdowns) are back to handle the bulk of the carries.

Quarterback and offensive line are the two areas that may take some time to develop, although junior David Ash is coming off a season in which he completed nearly 61 percent of his passes while throwing for seven scores against only two interceptions.

Strong is a no nonsense coach, and his reign has already resulted in several players being dismissed from the team, including receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, running backs Joe Bergeron, Jalen Overstreet and Chet Moss, as well as defensive backs Chevoski Collins and Leroy Scott. He has also suspended running back/receiver Daje Johnson, offensive tackle Desmond Harrison and safety Josh Turner for at least the first game of the season, so clearly he isn't willing to put up with much with regard to off-the-field transgressions or violating team rules.

The one bright spot as it pertains to pass catchers still on the Texas roster is that senior Jaxon Shipley is back after securing a team-high 56 receptions (589 yards, one TD) in 2013.

The Longhorns were a middle-of-the-road defensive unit at best last season, permitting more than 25 points per game while yielding nearly as many yards (407.2) as they generated (408.7).

Back to help improve the numbers across the board are seven players with starting experience, the most notable being senior defensive end Cedric Reed (79 tackles, 10 sacks). Junior Malcolm Brown should be able to stand his ground at defensive tackle, while Jordan Hicks, Steve Edmonds and Peter Jinkins form a solid linebacking unit.

In the secondary, seniors Quandre Diggs and Mykkele Thompson are expected to lead by example, and junior Duke Thomas is fresh off a year in which he picked off three passes.

It may take some time for the 'Horns to come together as a cohesive unit, but Strong has already left his mark. Expect the home team to be less than hospitable to their guests in this season opener.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 38, North Texas 17

08/29 15:14:53 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
 
Final
PHI 91
BRK 99
Final
ORL 96
GSW 111
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
CLE 113
WAS 87
Final
DET 98
LAC 104
Final
DAL 109
NYK 102
Final
ATL 115
TOR 126
Final
MIN 86
MIL 103
Final
HOU 102
SAC 89
Final
OKC 97
UTA 82
Final
SAN 106
IND 100
Final
PHO 120
DEN 112
 
4th
LAL 87
MEM 89
 
7:30pm Tonight
TEXAM
LSU
7:30pm Tonight
TEX
TCU
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
Final
WCU 66
CHIST 61
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
Final
EVAN 79
USF 72
Final
COL 71
GTDNS 75
 
Final
VERM 73
BRY 47
 
Final
OSU 91
CAMP 64
Final
LOU 45
CLST 33
Final
UCF 69
DAVID 95
Final
IONA 126
DELST 76
 
Final
OU 78
UGST 83
Final
TOWS 97
GOUCHER 43
 
Final
ND 81
GRAM 54
 
Final
YALE 82
LAF 60
 
Final
GWU 91
LONG 66
 
Final
VT 78
UMO 63
Final
WAKE 83
MNTER 49
 
Final
NAVY 67
PSUHARRIS 42
 
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
MINN 61
STJ 70
Final
JVU 69
TRINBAPT 57
 
Final
YOUNG 66
UMKC 63
 
Final
UAB 43
WISC 72
Final
CORN 67
CAN 60
Final
WVU 103
VMI 72
Final
DEP 74
LEH 86
 
Final
UNT 67
MVSU 52
 
Final
MARS 68
MORE 77
 
Final
TCU 74
RAD 50
 
Final
SELA 86
TENT 65
 
Final
SMU 72
TXSOU 59
 
Final
UTAH 85
TXPA 48
Final
LMU 66
UCR 62
 
Final
SCAR 89
UNCA 75
 
Final
SD 86
WAYNEST 69
 
Final
PITT 70
KYST 47
Final
UWGB 59
FLGC 45
 
Final
IOWA 70
NILL 49
 
Final
ORST 69
AUB 71
 
Final
MONT 75
CARROLLMT 52
 
Final
SUTAH 64
EKENT 73
 
Final
NMST 78
FAM 33
 
Final
WYO 65
STET 41
 
Final
EWASH 81
NKENTUCKY 60
 
Final
IDST 57
WLVRN 60
 
Final
GEOR 66
UF 65
 
Final
GONZ 88
UGA 76
 
Final
NIOWA 61
NW 42
 
Final
CAL 72
CPSL 52
 
Final
UCD 77
UTST 70
 
2nd
SDST 51
ARZ 55
 
2nd
NDAK 72
ALAST 58
 
2nd
CSNO 42
PORST 57
 
Half
AKAN 27
PAC 28
 
1st
OKST 40
TULSA 30
 
2:00am Today
COLST
MIZST
12:00pm Today
TENN
SCU
 
12:00pm Today
RMU
LAMON
 
1:00pm Today
BUT
OKLA
 
2:00pm Today
BRO
PEAY
 
2:00pm Today
UTEP
PRIN
 
2:30pm Today
CHAT
CCAR
 
2:30pm Today
RIU
KU
 
3:30pm Today
USCU
FIU
 
3:30pm Today
GEOR
WISC
 
4:00pm Today
USB
LIU
 
4:30pm Today
XAV
SDU
 
5:00pm Tonight
INDST
ILL
 
6:00pm Tonight
WRST
CSFU
 
6:00pm Tonight
STJOE
WKENT
 
6:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
 
8:30pm Tonight
WMICH
LBSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
GT
MARQ
 
9:00pm Tonight
PVU
STEPH
 
9:30pm Tonight
MERC
RICE
 
9:30pm Tonight
UF
UAB
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
SJST
 
11:59pm Tonight
MEM
BAY
 
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
WASU
 
Final
NYI 3
WAS 2
Final
BUF 1
WIN 2
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
Final
TAM 4
NYR 3
Final
DET 5
PHI 2
Final
PIT 4
TOR 3
Final
MIN 0
LOS 4
Final
COL 2
CHI 3
 
3rd
SJS 0
CAL 1
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
EDM
 
12:30pm Today
DET
CHI
4:30pm Today
DAL
PHI
8:30pm Tonight
SFX
SEA