North Texas football aims for a winning streak

Posted Friday, Oct. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
More information North Texas at Louisiana Tech 2:30 p.m. Saturday Records: North Texas, 3-3, 1-1; Louisiana Tech 2-4, 1-1 TV: CBS Sports Network Radio: KHYI/95.3 FM; KNTU/88.1 FM

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North Texas dives into the second half of the season Saturday looking to break another barrier in a football program that’s beginning to emerge from its once torpid state.

A winning streak.

The reality is it doesn’t burden the mind to believe that the Mean Green hasn’t won consecutive games since 2004.

It’s a string of 26 consecutive losses after a victory.

North Texas (1-1 CUSA, 3-3 overall) travels to Ruston, La., for a Conference USA game against Louisiana Tech (1-1, 2-4), the first of two straight on the road.

The Mean Green has been a woeful 4-18 on the road the past four seasons, including 0-3 in 2013.

Kickoff is 2:30 p.m.

“I love being around this football team,” said coach Dan McCarney, whose team is trying to earn the program’s best record after seven games since 2003, the last time UNT was over .500 this late in a season.

“We absolutely would love to have one or two more wins. But I see a team that is getting better, really motivated. They’re hungry, not satisfied and not complacent.”

Defensively, North Texas is becoming just that. It has gotten better and better each week.

In its 34-7 victory last week, the Mean Green gave up just 205 yards to Middle Tennessee State. In the past two game, UNT has allowed 432 yards combined.

The opposition, regardless of the week, simply can’t ignore the nucleus of playmakers on that side of the ball.

Linebacker Zach Orr is two tackles shy of becoming the seventh player in UNT history with 300 in his career. Orr, along with safeties Marcus Trice, and Lairamie Lee, exemplify the physical, hard-hitting style McCarney and defensive coordinator John Skladany have instilled in Denton.

It’s hard to imagine opposing wide receivers don’t go through the middle wondering where the two safeties might be.

“Our whole defense has gotten better,” said McCarney, noting how improved depth allows for a steady rotation. “Guys have really bought into the system.

“It’s understanding assignments, pride in play after play after play and take care of the next play. I think our guys have done that.”

Orr leads the team in tackles with 56.

He also has three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries for a team that leads the nation in fumble recoveries.

In all, North Texas has collected 17 turnovers.

The Mean Green also ranks second in the conference in allowing only 22 points per game.

Louisiana Tech, under new coach Skip Holtz, likes to run the football. The Bulldogs are third in C-USA in rushing.

“No one is satisfied,” said McCarney, whose team is unbeaten at home this season. “We have to coach and play with an edge. I think that’s what we’re getting.

“We’ve taken care of business at home. Now we need to carry it on to the road.”

Head to head

UNTLa Tech
Total off.402.7388.7
Pass off.258.3204.7
Rush off.144.3184
3rd down 44.8%37.2%
Pts allowed22.726.8
Total def.396.7422.3
Pass def.241.7224
Rush def.155198.3
3rd down 39%41.3%

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