Team: University of North Texas (UNT)
Conference: Conference USA (This is the fourth of four games Liberty will play against a C-USA team).
Game Date: October 23 (Week 8)
Location: Denton, Texas – Apogee Stadium
Game History: UNT and Liberty have met once before. In 2018, the Mean Green had their way with the Flames, winning 47-7.

Coach – Seth Littrell

Littrell is an offensive-minded coach who enters into his sixth season leading the Mean Green. In that time, he sits at an even 31-31 record, four bowl appearances, and one C-USA conference championship appearance. His history includes stints at Arizona, Indiana, and UNC as offensive coordinator.

2020 Record: 4-6. North Texas had a pair of games canceled during the season due to COVID.

2021 Outlook:

A few years ago, a match-up against North Texas was one to fear. Liberty’s blowout by the Mean Green in 2018 highlights that. Back-to-back losing seasons have cooled those fears though.

Despite their record, North Texas had one of the best offenses in the country last year, averaging over 500 yards a game. This was due in part to their line and talented group of running backs. Both RB DeAndre Torrey and RB Oscar Adaway III, who fueled the offense, are back this year. Torry lead the team in rushing with 656 yards and 6 touchdowns. Adaway’s season started out strong with a pair of 100-yard games, but a hand injury limited his playing time. He still managed 572 rushing yards with 3 touchdowns though. These two, along with their RB depth, are vital parts of UNT’s success in 2021. QB Austin Aune also returns with a few starts and much needed experience under his belt now. With the state of their line and skill positions, Aune could have a big season in store.

One would ask, “How can a team that scored over 34 points a game and have that level offensive success go 4-6?” Well…the Mean Green defense wasn’t very mean in 2020. They allowed an average of 522 yards a game last year, putting them dead last in total defense. No team, no matter their offensive output, can win when they give up that amount of real estate each week. New defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, with over 40 years of coaching experience under his cap, has a ton of work ahead of him. He does have a number of returning pieces (which could be good or bad) to build off of though. This includes defensive centerpiece DT Dion Novil who will be discussed more later. If they can get things figured out on this side of the ball, even if it’s just giving up less than 35 points a game, North Texas could be a tough team to keep up with.

Offensive Player To Watch – Sophomore RB Oscar Adaway III

As mentioned earlier, Adaway is set to be an important piece of North Texas’ offense this year. If it weren’t for the broken hand in 2020, he would have been the leading rusher for the team, and as a redshirt freshman no less.

Defensive Player To Watch – Senior DT Dion Novil

Novil had every right to pursue NFL aspirations but chose to use his COVID waiver for one final season with the Mean Green. The First-Team All-Conference selection from 2020 is returns after a season in which he accounted for 38 tackles, a team-high 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles. He was, arguably, the best defensive player for UNT last year.