Home is where the heart is and for the Mean Green, so is a bowl game championship.
UNT became the 2014 Heart Of Dallas Bowl Champions after a 36-14 win over the UNLV Rebels New Year’s Day.
As the lone representative of the DFW Metroplex in post season play, the win resulted in the Mean Green’s first win at the Cotton Bowl Stadium and conversely, the first bowl game lost in UNLV’s school history.
The Cinderella story will not discontinue according to head football coach Dan McCarney. The championship win vividly displays the drastic program turnaround from just 4-8 a year ago to finishing 9-4 this season.
The Rebel’s opening possession of a 95-yard drive into the end zone fueled the Mean Green to display why their defense is 1st in fewest points allowed in the Conference-USA and 9th overall, according to Sports Illustrated.
Though the Mean Green finished their season on an all-time high, the program is losing 22 seniors including quarterback Derek Thompson.
Thompson earned the bowl game’s Most Valuable Player award after completing 21 of 30 passes for a total of 256-yards and two touchdowns, all while overcoming a leg injury early in the first half.
Other notable seniors include Brelan Chancellor, who rushed for two touchdowns in the fourth and running back Brandin Byrd, as well as Zach Orr and Marcus Trice who helped make up North Texas’ elite defense.
Though the bar has been set high by the seniors, elevating to the next level is the only option for the remaining Mean Green players.
UNT will take on the University of Texas at Austin on Aug. 30th at the Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium. The time of kickoff and televised options are to be announced at a later date.