North Texas Daily

Current football squad draws similarities to former bowl teams

Current football squad draws similarities to former bowl teams

Current football squad draws similarities to former bowl teams
November 19
16:06 2013

Brett Medeiros / Senior Staff Writer

Major Division-I college football powers like the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University football sustain decades of success and bowl game appearances, but the UNT football team hasn’t reached that level yet.

For the first time in nine years, the team is projected to go to a bowl game with hopes of winning one for the second time in school history.

The last UNT bowl-winning team comes from 2002, where the Mean Green came out victorious at the New Orleans Bowl. The bowl win came in the midst of four consecutive Sun Belt Conference titles and four New Orleans Bowl appearances.

Those teams provide many similarities to this year’s squad, with each bringing its own specialties to the gridiron to be successful.

“Both teams have provided all of us with so many good memories. It is eerie how much these teams are alike and yet they are still so different,” Athletic Director Rick Villarreal said. “I’ll say one thing – it is impossible to favor one of these teams over the other.”

The Mean Green teams from 2001-2004 introduced a style of play that was not commonly seen throughout the program’s history.

Players like quarterback Scott Hall and wide receiver Johnny Quinn provided an air assault that became unmatchable. The current duo is senior quarterback Derek Thompson and senior wide receiver Brelan Chancellor – with the latter recently passing Quinn in career 100-yard receiving games with seven.

The 2013 UNT squad has a defense-first approach. The team allows just 18.6 points per game, tied for 10th in the nation.

In the most recent game against the University of Texas-El Paso Nov. 9, UNT tied an all-time school record with eight sacks in a single game – a record set by the bowl-winning 2002 squad.

“Those teams were certified winners, and we’re winners too,” senior linebacker Zach Orr said. “When you come to a university, you are not just playing for your team and your fans, but the players and fans that came before you. We just want to make them proud.”

Of all the similarities that these teams present, the biggest difference is the 500 yards that separate Apogee Stadium from the former stadium, Fouts Fields.

UNT’s record at Fouts Field from 2001-2004 was 16-3, while the team is 12-4 since Apogee opened. But the new stadium provides a more significant home-field advantage.

Villarreal said Apogee presents a louder atmosphere because of its design. Wind is eliminated because of the wing seats on the north end zone and the athletic department building on the south side – different from Fouts, which was open on both sides and let more sound escape.

“They’re winning games, they’re bowl eligible and the fact that they’re buying into the system is essentially what we did back when we played,” Quinn said. “As an alumni, I am very proud of what this current team is doing right now. Kudos to them, and it is such an exciting time to be a Mean Green fan.”

If UNT (7-3, 5-1) wins its final two games, it will be the first UNT team with only three losses in a season since 1969.

“I have such a deep respect for those teams before us with their consistency, the success they had and the love and respect that everyone at UNT has for those teams,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “Someday, if they can look at the same light for this program and these players and feel that there is that kind of respect, then we have truly done a great job.”

The 2002 UNT football team. The team won its first FBS bowl game in 2002 against the University of Cincinnati at the New Orleans bowl. Photo courtesy of Eric Capper

The 2002 UNT football team. The team won its first FBS bowl game in 2002 against the University of Cincinnati at the New Orleans bowl. Photo courtesy of Eric Capper

Feature photo: Coach Dan McCarney and members of the mean green football team run out onto the field during a home game against Rice on Oct. 31 at Apogee Stadium. UNT’s win against Rice qualified the team for a bowl game this year. Photo by Ryan Vance / Staff Photographer

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