Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2001

Tech-North Texas to be last game for Eagles in stadium

September 22, 2001


— This is the last time that North Texas plans to call Texas Stadium home. And the Eagles probably won't miss it.

North Texas hasn't won a game at the home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys since 1979, losing eight straight there over the years.

The last was a 30-0 loss in 1998 to Texas Tech, the team the Mean Green (0-2) play in Irving tonight.

New UNT athletic director Rick Villareal wants to play all future home games on the Denton campus. He even tried to get Texas Tech (1-0) to move to Fouts Field, but the Red Raiders refused for the final game of their five-game series.

"We have to establish that North Texas is a Division I football program," Villareal said.

The Mean Green are 19-49 since moving up to I-A in 1995. They're 2-12 against Big 12 teams, the only wins coming against Texas Tech.

Not only is this likely the last UNT "home" game in Texas Stadium, it might be the last meeting against Texas Tech.Except for the last time they played at Texas Stadium, Tech has never had an easy time against the Mean Green. UNT holds a 4-3 edge in the series.

North Texas won 21-14 in 1999. Last year, Tech escaped with a 13-7 win after safety Kevin Curtis stripped UNT receiver LaDarrin McLane and the Raiders recovered the ball at the 2 yard line with less than two minutes left.

"We take pride in playing bigger schools and hopefully, sometime soon, we'll win those games with more regularity," said senior linebacker Brad Kassell, whose 23-yard interception return accounted for the only UNT touchdown in last year's game.

One concern for both teams is coming back after last week's layoff, in which all Division I-A games were postponed after the terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

"Our worst practice was probably the one after we discovered we weren't playing at all," said Tech coach Mike Leach. "Up until that point we really did practice well. Our whole team was looking forward to a game."

Tech hasn't played since winning its season opener 42-30 over New Mexico on Sept. 8. The Mean Green at least got to play two games before then, but lost both 37-10 at No. 3 Oklahoma after a 19-5 opening loss to TCU.

"Neither team, in my opinion, has trouble getting ready to play," said UNT coach Darrell Dickey. "Every game we've played has been intense, emotional, hard-hitting. I know that when we've won, people have said, 'Tech's flat.' I haven't seen that."

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