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  1. The crowd of 38,380 seemed sparse in the 92,100-seat Cotton Bowl, and seemingly more than 38,000 of those fans were wearing their North Texas green, filling the stands behind their team’s sideline from end zone to end zone, not surprising with the campus located about 45 minutes from the stadium. Small clumps of Rebel red did their best to buoy UNLV, a near-touchdown underdog. The teams’ honorary captains were announced for the pregame coin toss, the first of many times the Rebels were outclassed on the field that day: UNLV’s representative was former cornerback Kevin Thomas, a decent enough player who had one interception in 24 career games with the Buffalo Bills. North Texas, meanwhile, was honored with the presence of Mean Green legend, Pro Football Hall of Famer and iconic Coca-Cola pitchman “Mean” Joe Greene, who still looked like he could sack someone at the age of 67. UNLV President Neal Smatresk gave Rebel fans the next cheer, though, one month before he takes over as North Texas’ president, when his ceremonial coin toss came up UNLV’s way. The crowd was quiet early, when the Rebels drove 95 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead on their first possession. And when the Mean Green were stopped on their next drive, it seemed like it might be UNLV’s day. But then the Rebels’ Keith Whitely muffed the punt, and North Texas parlayed the gift into a game-tying touchdown. UNLV never did regain its swagger. - See more at: http://vegasseven.com/2014/01/07/rebels-day-among-legends/#sthash.hZopVXWE.dpuf
  2. I got this idea as I fell asleep last night watching this damn thing again for the 5th time!!! My wife is like you are crazy!! Come on guys, they say the first step to overcoming an addiction is being honest with yourself about it ;-) I see this as sort of a "raise your hand if you cried during old yeller" poll...
  3. DALLAS - For the first time in eleven years and the first time on New Year's Day in program history, the North Texas football team is a bowl champion. In a game that epitomized the 2013-14 North Texas season, the Mean Green fell behind early but showed its boundless resiliency, methodically taking control of the game, battering the UNLV offense into submission, getting an efficient performance from senior quarterback Derek Thompson, and scoring a Heart of Dallas bowl-record 22 fourth-quarter points to roll to a 36-14 victory Wednesday afternoon at the Cotton Bowl. "Really proud of my football team," North Texas coach Dan McCarney said. "I dreamed of day these seniors could go to a bowl game and win a bowl game." Thompson completed 21-of-30 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions, and earned the game's Most Valuable Player award, while Brelan Chancellor scored two touchdowns on reverses, both in the fourth-quarter assault that sealed the win. "We knew if we picked up the tempo that we could do some things and move the football," Thompson said. "We just made plays. I wasn't anything special that we did. We just executed. The defense did the rest." There were a number of negative streaks facing the Mean Green coming into the game. North Texas had never won on New Year's Day (0-1), had never won at the Cotton Bowl (0-3) and had never beaten UNLV (0-4), and the Rebels had never lost a bowl game (3-0). But before a crowd of 38,380 - almost entirely outfitted in North Texas green - the Mean Green put all those streaks to rest. Early on, however, UNLV's read-option offense sorely tested the Mean Green defense. The Rebels came into the game averaging 31 points and 423 yards a game, and backed up those stats on their opening drive with a 95-yard scoring march for a 7-0 lead. But the North Texas defense adjusted quickly and reined in the Rebel attack. A pair of big losses - on a tackle by Will Wright and a sack by James Jones - marked the beginning of a relentless, merciless pounding of UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring. North Texas sacked Herring five times and hit him countless other times, forcing errant throws. North Texas also broke up six passes. After completing his first nine passes, Herring completed just six of his next 24 throws and was intercepted for just the fifth time this year. Read more: http://www.meangreensports.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/010114aab.html
  4. DALLAS (AP) — Derek Thompson and Brelan Chancellor were among the seniors who wanted North Texas' first bowl game in nine years to be close to family and friends. They made a lot of green-clad fans very happy. Thompson threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns, Chancellor scored twice and the Mean Green dominated the second half of a 36-14 victory over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Wednesday. North Texas (9-4) pulled away from a 7-7 halftime tie for its first bowl win since New Orleans in 2002. The school's third postseason victory came in front of a strong turnout of 38,380 on a sunny day at the Cotton Bowl, just 45 miles from the Denton campus. "It was so exciting running on the field and seeing a sea of green," said Thompson, who was 21 of 30 without an interception and voted the game's MVP. "We love our fans." UNLV (7-6) drove 95 yards for a touchdown on its opening possession but didn't score again until the Mean Green were up 28-7 in the fourth quarter. - See more at: http://www.thealpenanews.com/page/content.detail/id/433507/North-Texas-tops-UNLV-36-14-in-Heart-of-Dallas.html?isap=1&nav=5017#sthash.8P2PyDz0.dpuf
  5. By Drew Harris, www.heartofdallasbowl.com DALLAS – It’s certainly been a long road for UNLV. This time, traveling more than 1,200 miles to the Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank and a de facto home game for North Texas proved to be too much for a rising Rebel program, which lost 36-14 on Wednesday afternoon at Cotton Bowl Stadium. North Texas (9-4), located just 44 miles north of Dallas on Interstate 35E, opened up a game that was tied 7-7 at intermission with physical play on both sides of the ball. The Mean Green scored 22 fourth-quarter points to hand UNLV (7-6) its first bowl loss in four appearances. UNLV had been up the challenge on the road three times this year, winning as many road contests in 2013 as it had in the previous eight seasons combined. That helped a 2-11 team become one that won seven games, making one of the nation’s biggest turnarounds. “This group I'm really proud of,” UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck said. “It was fun for me watching them go out there and compete, celebrating with them. As I told them, it's tough not to look at the last three hours, but as we move forward into next week, I'm hoping we focus on what we've accomplished, and that's a lot.” Things looked good early on for the Rebels (7-6). Absent from a bowl game for 13 years, UNLV put points on the board on its opening possession. Pinned deep after a North Texas punt, the Rebels took the ball 95 yards, slicing through the Mean Green defense on just eight plays. Senior quarterback Caleb Herring was a perfect 5-for-5 for 59 yards on the drive and found Marcus Sullivan in the end zone for the score. After forcing a quick 3-and-out, UNLV’s Keith Whitely muffed the ensuing punt, giving the Mean Green possession on the Rebels’ 42-yard line. It was a momentum changer, as eight plays later Antoinne Jimmerson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the score, 7-7, with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter. UNLV never got back on track offensively, and didn’t score again until Jerry Rice, Jr., hauled in a Herring pass with 4:56 left in the game that cut North Texas’ lead to 28-14. The Rebels averaged better than 30 points per game on the year and hadn’t been held under 24 points in any of its past five contests. For the game, North Texas outgained UNLV 397-262. Tim Cornett, the Rebels’ all-time leading rusher, was bottled up (33 yards on 12 carries) all afternoon. “They’ve got a good defense,” Hauck said. “They have pretty good players up front, and they did a nice job.” North Texas also converted 10 of 17 third-down opportunities, including 9 of 11 chances in the second half. That kept the UNLV defense on the field for more than 35 minutes. “We played a lot of plays,” Hauck said. “There were some long drives. We had a couple of drives where we were on the field a whole bunch, and probably (had) too many plays on defense in the second half.” Houston native Devante Davis, one of the nation’s leading pass catchers, registered 10 catches for 96 yards in his return to the Lone Star State. Herring finished 22 of 41 with two touchdowns and an interception in his final collegiate game. “As a leaving senior, I guess it's about the legacy,” Herring said. “I think there's something that went into this year and that's gone into this program that is going to go for a long time because it is good to have pride in something. I think that's what we have now is our pride and our work ethic. I think that the team motto will echo out throughout the years.” Drew Harris (drew@firstpitchpr.com) is the founder of First Pitch Public Relations, a sports-focused media relations company in Fort Worth. He has 15 years of experience in the sports communications industry with UW-Green Bay, TCU, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals. His current clients include: ESPN Events, UT Arlington Athletics, The Ben Hogan Award and the Fort Worth Stock
  6. Heart of Dallas Bowl Link: http://theheartofdallasbowl.com/ DALLAS - North Texas made its return to the postseason a memorable one with a New Year's Day 36-14 victory over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank. The Mean Green put a cap on a remarkable 9-4 turnaround season on a perfect afternoon at the historic Cotton Bowl. North Texas won a bowl game for the first time since 2002 and finished with at least nine wins for the first time since 2003. "Really proud of my football team," North Texas coach Dan McCarney said. "I dreamed of a day these seniors could go to a bowl game and win a bowl game. I really dread the day when I have to say goodbye to them. But we'll cherish this season. We'll cherish today. "And every time that I think about this football team the first names that will come to mind are these 22 seniors and they've led with class and integrity and pride and loyalty, and unbelievable examples today of how you play the game and how you win a football game. Really proud of my guys. Thanks to our fans, great support. We sent a message today. I think this is a program that's clearly on the rise." That's exactly what the caretakers of the UNT program had in mind when hiring McCarney three years ago. Mean Green football is back. "This is not the end," McCarney shouted to the Mean Green faithful from the on-field trophy presentation. "It's only a beginning." North Texas senior quarterback and Derrick Thompson closed his career as a starter by throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns to win the Heart of Dallas Bowl MVP. Wide receiver Brelan Chancellor added two rushing touchdowns. "It's such a special experience to be able to come down here, play close to home in front of our fans," Thompson said. "You saw the kind of support the team brought. It was so exciting running on the field and seeing a sea of green. UNT has supported us all year. It's been great. We love our fans. "All the amenities that come with a bowl game, that's great and all, but we were here for one mission and that was to win the bowl game. We never lost sight of that. We did what we had to do. We came out and finished in the second half. It was a great team win." The 22-point margin of victory was easily the largest in a bowl game for North Texas. The Mean Green improved to 3-5 all-time in bowls. The Mean Green defense was able to contain UNLV (7-6) after the Rebels scored on their first drive of the game. UNLV managed just 262 yards of offense, well short of its regular-season average of 423.8 yards. Rebels quarterback Caleb Herring passed for 196 yards and two touchdowns, but was virtually shut down for the majority of the game before throwing a meaningless fourth-quarter score. UNLV ran for only 66 yards for an average of 2.4 yards per carry. The Mean Green took their first lead at 14-7 by grinding out a 12-play, 60-yard drive in the third quarter. UNT converted four third downs, including Thompson's 7-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Drew Miller. North Texas added two more long scoring drives to put the game away. Chancellor had 3-yard touchdown on the opening play of the fourth and Thompson found receiver Darnell Smith from 34 yards out midway through the quarter. The Mean Green tied the game late in the first quarter after recovering a fumbled punt return at the UNLV 42. Running back Antoinne Jimmerson powered in from 1-yard line eight plays later. McCarney believes the performance of the first day of 2014 can be a springboard for the season to come. "It's just a jolt of confidence and something to really show for everyone's hard work, especially the sophomores and juniors have seen how these seniors have led and forged this path for them," he said. "And as the juniors become seniors as of tomorrow, they'll enjoy this forever, and remember it forever, cherish it forever, but in less than two weeks we've got to get ready for the season of 2014. "So that lasting memory from how we got here, to this day, the things you have to do to get here led by these seniors, what a great example for not only the underclassmen but for future teams." Art Garcia (adgarcia@uta.edu), the Assistant Athletics Director for Communications for UT Arlington, has spent nearly 20 years as a sportswriter. He's worked for NBA.com, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the San Antonio Express-News and the Bryan-College Station Eagle. Garcia has also written for FoxSportsSouthwest.com, ESPNDallas.com, CBSSports.com, in addition to other national websites and magazines.
  7. UNLV isn’t the only success story playing at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Wednesday in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. North Texas (8-4) has had a better 15-year run than the Rebels but recently their situations have been very similar, with the Mean Green winning only 22 games from 2005-12.. Under third-year coach Dan McCarney, who led Iowa State from 1995-2006, the Mean Green have broken out of their rut to play in a bowl game located less than an hour’s drive from campus. North Texas has done it with a top-10 defense that should pose significant challenges for UNLV’s potent offense. To get to know UNT a little better, the Sun reached out to Brett Vito, who covers the Mean Green for the Denton Record-Chronicle: North Texas went to four bowl games in the early 2000s and then drastically fell off. Do you attribute that fall to one coach — Todd Dodge — or is it larger than that? You have brought up what is a great debate among UNT fans. The reality of it is, UNT had a tough 2005 season under Darrell Dickey, the coach who guided the Mean Green to all four of those bowl games, and then had a tough start the next year. UNT fired Dickey in the middle of the season and hired Todd Dodge, the worst coach in the history of the school’s athletic program – program, not just football – any way one looks at it. Dodge dug UNT a hole it has taken McCarney a long time to pull the program out of. Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/dec/30/bowl-bites-getting-know-unlvs-heart-dallas-opponen/
  8. DALLAS North Texas players and coaches talked about the special opportunity in front of them months ago. The schools program turns 100 this season. Players like senior linebacker Zach Orr and a host of other veterans on the Mean Greens roster wanted to make sure that milestone season would be remembered for a lot more than just that anniversary. There is little doubt now that it turned out to be a breakout season. The Mean Green (8-4) is headed to its first bowl game since 2004, has already won as many games as it has in any season since 2003 and posted a host of key wins. The Mean Green toppled Tulsa for the first time since 1969 and also beat instate rivals Rice and UTEP. This is what we talked about at the beginning of the year, Orr said. Its the 100th year of North Texas football. We wanted to make it a special one and get to a bowl game. Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20131230-football-lasting-legacy.ece
  9. DALLAS — And to think Cyril Lemon almost didn’t visit the University of North Texas. The 2011 Marble Falls High School graduate took one last trip in February of his senior year and found his new home with the Mean Green. Three years later, Lemon, a junior, is a solid fixture on the North Texas offensive line and leads the nation in consecutive starts for his position at 36. Head coach Dan McCarney was so impressed with Lemon during his final year at Marble Falls that he told the player he would be a starter for the Mean Green when he arrived on campus. “You have to keep your body right, eat right and take it day by day,” the coach told him. This season, the former Mustang helped the Mean Green to its first bowl game since 2004. UNT will play the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day. Kickoff is 11 a.m. Read more: http://www.dailytrib.com/2013/12/31/former-mustang-cyril-lemon-help-leads-mean-green-bowl-game/#ixzz2p4IJ1j73
  10. Dan McCarneys phone has been buzzing pretty much nonstop over the last few days, just like the phone in the North Texas ticket office. UNT is only two days away from facing UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Years Day, and those closest to the program say they sense an enthusiasm building unlike anything they have seen in years when it comes to Mean Green football. UNT is breaking a nine-year bowl drought under McCarney, its third-year head coach who has been receiving well-wishes on a regular basis after leading the Mean Green to wins in six of its last seven regular-season games. That run includes attention-grabbing victories over regional rivals Rice, UTEP and Tulsa. People are hearing about us, McCarney said. Its a feel-good story about what is happening here. Who doesnt like a story about overcoming adversity and having some success? You have to be a depressing human being if you dont like those kinds of stories, and that is what these seniors have done. Read more: http://www.dentonrc.com/sports/colleges/north-texas-headlines/20131229-football-unt-all-abuzz-as-bowl-game-approaches.ece
  11. Our WKRN-Channel 2 news and sports maven, Dawn Davenport has been keeping up with Santa Claus's travel schedule. She started off doing sideline reporting Dec. 21 from the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho. Don't let this out, but D-square wanted everyone to know it was cold in Boise. Dawn will also be at the Cotton Bowl for the Heart of Dallas Bowl between North Texas State and UNLV. That will be on ESPNU Jan. 1 Read more: http://www.wkrn.com/story/24321406/joe-biddle-sunday-notes-dec-282013
  12. UNT is headed to a bowl game for the first time since 2004 and the Denton Record-Chronicle is going all out for the occasion. If it seems like I have been MIA on the blog for a while, which I have, there is a good reason. I have been holed up in the office writing and designing the largest bowl section we have ever produced. The section will be 12 pages with not a sliver of wire content anywhere. It’s all UNT and UNLV all the time. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2013/12/the-heart-of-dallas-bowl-section-is-out-tomorrow.html/
  13. I was interested for how many here would this be your first UNT bowl game in person? Having been able to make the New Orleans bowl games I can tell you that you are in for a real treat. There's something special about a nationally televised bowl game that words can't do justice...having the students, band, alumni, etc all on the same side together is a really neat experience. I am real happy that we are playing in this Heart of Dallas Bowl for many reasons. I do think the biggest though is how many of our fans will be able to experience the Mean Green playing a bowl game in person. GMG
  14. GAME DAY EATS - If you are hungry before or after the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day, the iconic Old Mill Inn Restaurant & Bar will be open at 7:30 a.m. on game day. Located 400 feet from the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium in the shadow of Big Tex inside Fair Park, the Old Mill Inn will feature breakfast and lunch with a full bar service. The menu features county-style cooking like chicken-fried steak, sandwich baskets, fruit cobbler and more. The Old Mill Inn was built as a flour mill for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. It was a large exhibit that featured a modern experimental flour mill, three model kitchens and a tea room. The roof (which features hand-carved beams that German carpenters connected with wooden pegs) and all other woodwork is built of old timbers. The stones are laid after the manner employed by the masons of a century ago. The fireplace in the down stairs dining area remains in its original state as it was in 1936. A working water wheel, and fountains, complement the nostalgic experience. In later years, the Old Mill became the Bordens Dairy Exhibit during each State Fair of Texas. Youngsters took particular delight in going there to visit "Elsie" the cow, her husband "Elmer" (of glue fame), and their calf son, "Beauregard." For information, please telephone 214/426-4600.
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