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Garnering national attention, where does North Texas statistically rank against the rest of the country?

From a stellar offense to a surprising defense, the Mean Green sit high in several statistical categories around the country

NCAA Football: North Texas at Arkansas Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Keegan Brewer’s punt return went viral and North Texas handled Arkansas on the road Saturday, the Mean Green have been garnering national attention.

The fake fair catch has gotten Brewer airtime on multiple national TV shows, including Inside Edition, Good Morning America and SportsCenter, and has been written about by nearly every print outlet, including SB Nation.

As for the team, UNT received five votes to be ranked in the latest coaches poll and four votes in the AP Poll on Sunday. So for now, the Mean Green are on the outside of the top 25, but they do, however, rank nationally in several statistical categories.

Below, we’ll break down how the Mean Green rank statistically against the rest of the country after three weeks. Thursday, we’ll take a look at individual statistics to compare how players such as Mason Fine and Cole Hedlund measure up against their counterparts nationwide.

Offense

This was the unit that had everyone buzzing before UNT’s season kicked off almost a month ago. Surprisingly, the offense has been outdone by the defense so far, but it’s still up there in several categories, especially in the passing game thanks to Mason Fine’s arm and a cast of stellar receivers.

The Mean Green rank third nationally in passing offense, averaging 398.7 yards a game and totaling 1,196 passing yards. Texas Tech leads that category averaging 448.7 passing yards a contest. UNT’s passing efficiency sits at No. 11 with an 89.07 average.

As for the offense as a whole, the Mean Green average 49.3 points a game, putting them at No. 11 nationally. UNT also tallies 36 minutes a game for time of possession, tying the offense with four others for the eighth most in the country. Army leads the way with 39 minutes a game.

No. 11 in scoring offense, averaging 49.3 points a game

Tied for No. 8 in time of possession, averaging 36 minutes a game

No. 3 in passing offense, averaging 398.7 passing yards a game

No. 5 in passing efficiency, averaging an 89.07 efficiency percentage a game

Defense

The UNT defense jumped on SMU in the first game season and has held up since. And apparently going up against an SEC foe on the road only bettered the Mean Green’s defensive statistics.

UNT tallied six (!!) interceptions against Arkansas, giving the unit nine on the season, which leads the country. The next closest is Fresno State with seven.

Of the Mean Green’s nine interceptions, two were returned for scores, putting UNT’s two defensive touchdowns at No. 6 in the nation. There are five teams tied for the top spot in the category with three defensive scores.

UNT’s nine interceptions plus a fumble recovery bring its turnover total to 10 on the season, which is tied with Navy for No. 3 in the country. The count also puts the Mean Green’s turnover margin at a plus-2.67 average, also tied for third in the FBS. UNT has a plus-8 turnover margin for the season.

Although the secondary is tallying all the turnovers and statistics, the numbers could be a result of UNT’s front seven. The Mean Green are eighth in the country in team sacks, averaging 3.67 a game and have 11 total. Oklahoma State averages 5.33 a game, which tops the category.

The UNT defense as a whole is tied at No. 17 while giving up 296 yards a game. Utah statistically has the best defense in the country, allowing only 204.7 yards a contest.

But although the Mean Green don’t have the best total defense, they do sit atop one more category, having yet to allow a fourth-down conversion. However, it is a tiny sample size of one, and UNT is tied with 14 other teams at the top. But UNT’s .244 third-down conversion percentage is good enough for No. 10 in the nation. The Mean Green have allowed opponents to convert on third down only 10 times in 41 attempts.

Tied for No. 17 in total defense, allowing 296 yards a game

Tied for No. 3 in turnovers gained with 10 turnovers

Tied for No. 3 in turnover margin, with a 2.67 average a game

No. 1 in interceptions with 9

Tied for No. 8 in team sacks, averaging 3.67 a game

No. 6 in defensive touchdowns with 2

No. 10 in third-conversion percentage with an opponent’s .244 conversion percentage

Special Teams

UNT’s special teams has gotten all the national attention this week thanks to one play, but outside of Cole Hedlund individually ranking as one of the best kickers in the country, this Mean Green unit ranks high nationally in only one statistical category.

UNT sits at No. 9 in kick returns average, tallying 33.4 yards a return. Most of the Mean Green’s 167 total kick return yards on five attempts came from DeAndre Torrey’s 96-yard return against SMU in Week 1.

Alabama leads the country in kick returns, averaging 59.33 yards on three returns.

No. 9 in kick returns, averaging 33.40 yards a return