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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 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
2nd
UNCW 35
ECU 25
 
2nd
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
Half
CHA 52
UTA 39
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
Half
NOP 44
POR 62
 
Half
CHA 52
UTA 39
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
Final
UTEP 6
UTST 21
Final
COLST 10
UTAH 45
3rd
AFA 23
WMICH 10
 
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
Final
KENT 83
UCLA 44
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
Final
RIU 69
DET 55
Final
UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
Final
MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
Final
NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
WAGN 66
MON 74
 
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
PITT 81
OU 77
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
Final
AFA 75
UCD 81
Final
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Final
JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
Final
DRAK 54
ISU 83
Final
SHU 73
UNH 60
 
Final
SCU 72
NE 78
 
Final
MSU 64
TXSOU 71
Final
UF 63
WAKE 50
Final
ND 94
PURD 63
Final
SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
2nd
AUB 71
XAV 71
 
Half
AKR 48
BLUFFTON 27
 
Half
DAY 39
BU 32
 
2nd
UNCW 35
ECU 25
 
Half
CLMB 34
HOF 38
 
Half
GMAS 45
IONA 38
 
2nd
TOWS 15
LAS 32
 
2nd
MAN 45
MRGST 42
 
2nd
CCST 42
YALE 51
 
2nd
PEPP 32
RICH 33
 
2nd
MAR 34
STJOE 45
 
Half
KYST 39
TEXAM 32
 
2nd
MAST 45
VALPO 44
 
Half
UMKC 44
INCWORD 31
 
1st
IDST 27
CALST 26
 
1st
NIOWA 20
IOWA 20
 
1st
SIUE 12
UWMIL 12
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
1st
TCU 0
TXSA 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
2nd
CLB 1
CHI 0
 
2nd
BUF 0
COL 2
 
1st Intermission
PIT 2
FLA 1
 
2nd
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
1st Intermission
MON 1
OTT 1
 
1st Intermission
TOR 3
PHI 3
 
2nd
NYI 0
TAM 0
 
2nd
NJD 0
WAS 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
 
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC