DENTON (5/13/05) The four-time defending Sun Belt Champion North Texas football team will host a nationally-televised game against Troy University on Tuesday, Oct. 4, it was announced today. The game will be shown on ESPN2 as part of the Sun Belt Conference broadcast deal with the cable sports giant. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT. It will be the first-ever nationally televised game at Fouts Field.
"Obviously we are very pleased to be playing on national television at home," said athletic director Rick Villarreal. "The exposure that results from a game like this will have an immeasurable impact for this University and the Denton community for some time. It is a compliment to this program that ESPN and the Sun Belt Conference believe North Texas football is a viable commodity for a national telecast."
The game will feature two bowl teams from last season as North Texas played in the New Orleans Bowl as the Sun Belt champion and Troy played in the Silicon Valley Bowl. Both teams finished the 2004 season with a 7-5 record and both are expected to challenge for a Sun Belt title in 2005. The Mean Green returns the last two national rushing champions in Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas, who led the NCAA in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Troy led the Sun Belt in total defense last season and had the Defensive Player of the Year in Demarcus Ware, who was the number 11 pick overall in this year’s NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
"The opportunity to play a quality opponent like Troy on national television at Fouts Field will be a privilege for this team and all of our fans," said head coach Darrell Dickey. "The ability to showcase this program and this conference on a national stage is a tremendous accomplishment for everyone involved."
Moving the Troy game to a Tuesday night forced North Texas to re-schedule the game with Arkansas State that was previously slated for Saturday, Oct. 8. The Mean Green will now host the Indians on Saturday, Nov. 26, giving North Texas three Saturdays during the fall without a game.
North Texas is also likely to play additional games on regional television as part of the Sun Belt package with ESPN. The conference won’t announce its entire television schedule until late July.