DENTON, Texas (10/27/07) The North Texas football team plays host to Middle Tennessee, Saturday night for homecoming at Fouts Field. Kickoff scheduled for 6:05 p.m and can be heard on the Mean Green Radio Network with George Dunham and Hank Dickenson.
North Texas is looking for its second consecutive win at Fouts Field after beating Louisiana-Monroe 31-21 on Oct. 13. The Mean Green is 39-17-1 all-time in homecoming games, having won five of its last six. Last year North Texas defeated Florida International 25-22 in seven overtimes on homecoming. The Mean Green leads the Sun Belt Conference and ranks 12th nationally in passing offense with an average of 298.1 yards per game. Middle Tennessee has won three of its last four games with its only loss during that time being a 23-21 defeat to Virginia. The Blue Raiders lead the Sun Belt in scoring defense (24.0 points per game) and total defense (362.0 yards per game).
North Texas leads the all-time series with Middle Tennessee 5-1 with the only loss coming last year in Denton. The Mean Green won the first five game from 2001-2005, but the average margin of victory in those games was 6.8 points. The Blue Raiders only victory in 2006 was a 35-0 win. North Texas is 2-1 in against Middle Tennessee in Denton. The average score by the winning team in the series is 27.7 points.
North Texas will be honoring its 1977 team at this year’s homecoming game, celebrating the 30th anniversary of perhaps the best team in North Texas history. Hall of Fame head coach Hayden Fry led that team to a 9-2 record which was later changed to 10-1 after Mississippi State was forced to forfeit its victory over the Mean Green for the use of an ineligible player. The only other blemish on the record of the 1977 team was a 35-14 loss at the hands of Florida State. The nine wins in 1977 came at the expense of such teams as UTEP (41-10), SMU (24-13), Southern Mississippi (27-14), Memphis State (20-19) and Louisiana Tech (41-14). The Mean Green finished that season ranked No. 16 in the nation, which was it highest final ranking ever excluding the Div. I-AA years.
Middle Tennessee scored 35 points against North Texas last year at Fouts Field which is the most points ever by a Sun Belt Conference team against the Mean Green at home. The 366 yards of offense for the Blue Raiders last year was also the most by any Sun Belt team at Fouts during the 2006 season. The 35-0 Blue Raider victory was the first shutout at Fouts since 1981 and it was the worst conference loss ever at the 55-year old stadium.
After recording just one interception in the first five games, the North Texas defense has improved its ball hawking skills the past two weeks. Two weeks ago against Louisiana-Monroe the Mean Green recorded three interceptions and last week at Troy it added four more picks. The last time a North Texas defense recorded four interceptions in a game was against Utah State in 2004. The Mean Green returned two of its three interceptions against ULM for touchdowns which is the first time since at least 1977 that it has accomplished that feat. North Texas now has eight interceptions for the season which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference and is two more than the Mean Green had in 12 games last year.