Mean Green Opens 2012 Season At LSU Saturday
Venue: Tiger Stadium
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Series Record: LSU leads 4-0
Last Meeting: LSU 41 NT 3
In Baton Rouge: LSU leads 4-0
Radio: KHYI 95.3 FM, KNTU 88.1 FM
Live Stats: www.LSUSports.net
DENTON, Texas - North Texas opens the 2012 football season Saturday night against the No. 1 ranked team in the country as they travel down to face LSU at 6 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPNU and heard on the Mean Green Radio Network (95.3 KHYI, 88.1 KNTU).
The Mean Green is coming off its most wins in a single season last year since 2004 and entering the second season with head coach Dan McCarney.
LSU is the top ranked team in the USA Today Coaches poll and No.3 in the Associated Press poll. LSU will be the fourth top-ranked team that North Texas has played in school history.
North Texas last played a No. 1 team when it began the year at Oklahoma in 2003. The other two times North Texas played the top-ranked team in the nation was 1987 at Oklahoma and 1965 at Arkansas.
The Mean Green closed the 2011 season on a roll as for only the fifth time since 1986, North Texas ended the year having won three of its final five games. The last five games were the best since 2004 for the Mean Green.
The 59-7 win over Middle Tennessee to end the 2011 season was the biggest margin of victory for the Mean Green ever in Sun Belt conference play while racking up 464 rushing yards, which tied a school record. The 59 points were the most points in a season-finale game for North Texas since scoring 63 against Drake in 1976.
In the first-year under coach McCarney North Texas averaged only 41.4 yards a game in penalties, which was the fewest penalty yards per game for a Mean Green team since 1999 and the fewest in the Sun Belt.
Quarterback Derek Thompson begins the 2012 campaign 946 passing yards away from joining the top-10 all-time passers at North Texas. He has 1,902 career yards, but passing yards isn't the only category Thompson is approaching.
He already ranks fifth all-time in passing efficiency entering the 2012 season, with a rating of 121.63. For his career, his passing percentage is 58.4, ranks fourth-best in school history.
The North Texas defense had 27 sacks last season, which was the most in a single season since 2002 and more than double the total the Mean Green had just two seasons ago. North Texas had not registered more than 20 sacks in a season since 2004, but the 27 sacks last year were the most since the Mean Green had 43 in 2002.
Prior to 2011, North Texas had only 91 total sacks in the last six seasons, an average just over 15 a year. Twelve different players had sacks last season for North Texas.