For the fourth time since the dawn of the new millennium, the North Texas Mean Green will be playing the hated (at least to the people on the message boards) Texas Longhorns. Things have not gone well against Texas since the game in 2002, with the Longhorns outscoring the Mean Green by a margin of 148-7.
I specifically remember the 2006 game. I was a freshman, and it was Colt McCoy's first start after the Longhorns won the 2005 National Championship, and the Mean Green were coming off an uncharacteristic 2-9 season after four straight New Orleans Bowl appearances. By the third quarter it was something like 49-0, and 100 degrees, and the Mean Green were well on their way to another losing campaign, which led to Coach Darrell Dickey getting fired mid-season. Thank god for the free breakfast tacos in the morning, otherwise I would've been miserable.
There was the 2002 game, where even though the Mean Green lost to the No. 3 Longhorns 27-0, the defense recorded eight sacks, and the 'Horns scored zero points in the second half. Cedric Benson was also held to 49 yards on 18 carries. That Longhorn team finished 11-2, and the Mean Green that year finished 8-5, with less-than-a-touchdown losses against Arizona and TCU, completing the season with the school's first bowl win in 50 years.
North Texas, while still 0-9 overall against Texas, actually played some competitive games before 2000, with the 1976 Hayden-Fry coached team losing by only three to a Longhorn team led by Darrell Royal team that finished 5-5-1 on the year. 1976 was a year of near misses for North Texas, with single digit losses against Mississippi State, Texas, SMU, Oklahoma State, and a one point loss towards the end of the season against Florida State. Imagine.... an undefeated Mean Green team..... 1976 NCAA National Champion Mean Green.....
Ah, but the one game that still burns in the hearts of many Mean Green fans is 1988. The one that got away. The Game. The Mean Green lost on the final play, and lost the opportunity to score another win over a ranked opponent. The last time the Mean Green had beaten a ranked opponent? A 21-14 win in 1975 over Tennessee. The next time the Mean Green beat a ranked opponent? Never.
Let the video below take you back. Last play, Texas at the ten yard line. Quarterback Mark Murdock, steps back and throws a rainbow to Keith Cash, who made a great catch... out of bounds. No matter, instant replay wasn't available at the time, and the referee ruled the play a touchdown. Texas fans stormed the field, not realizing the team would end up wining only two more games that next year. North Texas, on the other hand, went 8-4 as a member of the Southland Conference, and beat Texas Tech that year as well.
What do you think?