Preview: UNLV at North Texas

When: 12:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Where: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, Texas


When its comes to the two most unlikeliest teams to be playing in a New Year's Day bowl game, you'd be hard-pressed to beat the Heart of Dallas Bowl matchup between UNLV and North Texas. Both teams combined to win a total of just six games a year ago and the Rebels entered the season following back-to-back-to-back two-win campaign. But both teams overcame slow starts -- UNLV began 0-2 while North Texas started 2-3 -- to end long bowl droughts and wind up playing at the Cotton Bowl on one of college football's most sacred days.

The Mean Green play a short drive north up I-35 in Denton, Texas and is making its first bowl appearance since 2004 when it lost the last of four consecutive New Orleans Bowls to Southern Mississippi, 31-10. UNLV is playing in its first bowl game since 2000 when it upset Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl, 31-14. The Rebels lead the all-time series with the Mean Green, 4-0, and won the last meeting in 2000 in Las Vegas, 38-0.

TV:  Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: North Texas -7

ABOUT UNLV (7-5): Senior quarterback Caleb Herring, moved to wide receiver for his junior season after a disappointing sophomore campaign, has been the MVP of this team. He took over for sophomore Nick Sherry midway through the UNLV's third game with Central Michigan and rallied the Rebels from a 21-0 deficit to a 31-21 victory, the start of the team's first four-game regular-season win streak since 1984 when Randall Cunningham was the quarterback. Herring has passed for 2,522 yards and 22 touchdowns and been intercepted just four times.

ABOUT NORTH TEXAS (8-4): The Mean Green rank ninth nationally in scoring defense (18.1) and have been particularly tough in the red zone, allowing teams to score touchdowns just 45.5 percent of the time which, ranks sixth nationally. Senior running back Brandin Byrd leads the offense with 1,023 yards rushing, including 251 yards and three touchdowns in a season-ending 42-10 win at Tulsa. Derek Thompson, who passed for 2,640 yards this season, ranks second in school history in career passing yards with 7,191.

EXTRA POINTS

1. RB Tim Cornett (1,251 yards, 15 TDs) and WR Devante Davis (77 catches, 1,194 yards, 14 TDs) became UNLV's first duo to top 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

2. North Texas has blocked eight kicks this season.

3. North Texas senior Brelan Chancellor led Conference USA in both kickoff (28.14) and punt returns (16.82).

PREDICTION: UNLV 31, North Texas 21

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
UNLV 7-5 W2 31.2 31.5 4-3 3-2 2-0 0-0 5-3
North Texas 8-4 W1 31.5 18.1 5-1 3-3 0-1 1-1 6-2

Last Meeting

UNLV North Texas
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/16/00 UNT 0 UNLV 38 447 314 133 271 108 163

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UNLV N/A
UNT N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UNLV N/A
UNT N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UNLV N/A
UNT N/A
TDs Player TD
UNLV N/A
UNT N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
UNLV C. Herring 64.3 2522 22 4
UNT D. Thompson 63.9 2640 14 13
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
UNLV T. Cornett 252 1251 5.0 15
UNT B. Byrd 182 1023 5.6 11
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
UNLV D. Davis 77 1194 15.5 14
UNT B. Chancellor 47 718 15.3 4
TDs Player TD
UNLV T. Cornett 15
UNT B. Byrd 12

Quickchart Matchup

UNLV Off vs  North Texas Def
423.8 yards
355.5 yards
4.5 yards/rush
3.8 yards/rush
6.6 yards/attempt
6.7 yards/attempt
North Texas Off vs  UNLV Def
411.6 yards
436.2 yards
4.4 yards/rush
5.2 yards/rush
7.3 yards/attempt
6.5 yards/attempt

Live Game Odds

Lines History | All Odds
Currently no lines available.

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

UNLV Overall North Texas
7-5-0 W/L 8-4-0
8-4-0 ATS 9-3-0
7-5-0 O/U 4-8-0
31.2 Pts For 31.5
31.5 Pts Against 18.1
UNLV A/H North Texas
3-2 W/L 5-1
4-1-0 ATS 5-1-0
3-2-0 O/U 1-5-0
32.2 Pts For 31.7
34.8 Pts Against 14.0