Fun Facts: North Texas-Iowa

Were the Mean Green named after Mean Joe Greene? Maybe

An afterthought? North Texas-Iowa? Pshaw!

Iowa is a 22-point favorite over the Mean Green. In Week 1, Howard was a 45-point underdog at UNLV and won.

What, you say Iowa isn’t Las Vegas? Having been to both, my reply is this:

Tell me something I didn’t already know!

Now, on with this week’s Fun Facts.

1. Hayden Fry was North Texas State’s coach before coming to Iowa. His record there was 40-23-3. None of the nine coaches who have followed him at North Texas had/has a career winning record there.

2. Iowa’s Nick Easley is the first player in Kirk Ferentz’s 19 seasons as head coach to catch touchdown passes in his first two games as a Hawkeye.

3. The Hawkeyes had just one more first down than North Texas when they met in Iowa City two years ago. Yet, they won by 46 points.

4. Iowa’s 44-41 overtime win at Iowa State was its first road victory under Ferentz in a game in which it trailed by double-digits in the fourth quarter.

5. North Texas is averaging 580.5 yards per game, ninth in FBS, and is 14th nationally in time of possession.

\93 yards per game. That’s a bit deceptive, since the Mean Green gained 668 yards in their opening-game 59-14 win over FCS Lamar.

6. North Texas is getting $900,000 to make this trip.

7. This is the second-straight game Iowa is facing a head coach younger than 40. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell is 37. North Texas’ Seth Littrell is 39.

8. North Texas is a member of Conference USA. It has 14 members, all of the located in the USA.

9. The preceding fact makes Conference USA a more-honest league name than the Big Ten (14 members), Big 12 (10 members) or Atlantic Coast Conference (its only members actually on the Atlantic Coast are Miami and Boston College).

10. Hawkeyes receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who had two touchdown catches at Iowa State, made verbal commitments to Rutgers and then Minnesota before signing with Iowa.

11. In April, Smith-Marsette tweeted “Want to have a year like the 1985 Hawkeyes. #oldschool

12. North Texas has played before 44,230 fans over two games, 19,592 at home and 24,638 at SMU.

13. UNT has had just one player taken in the NFL draft since 1996. That was linebacker Cody Spencer, a 2004 6th-rounder who played for five years in the league.

14. The most famous Mean Green player of all-time is defensive tackle Mean Joe Greene. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hall of Famer was born in Elgin, Texas.

15. Mean Joe Greene’s actual name is Charles Edward Greene.

16. North Texas State switched its nickname from the Eagles to the Mean Green while Greene played there in the 1960s, but it’s disputed whether he was the reason for the change. Either it was because the wife of the school’s sports information director yelled “Mean Greene!” after a Greene tackle, or because of two of the school’s basketball players (Willie “Sleepy” Daniels and Ira “Hotrod” Daniels) and a small bottle containing an alcoholic beverage.

17. Iowa and North Texas have both had players named Bob Sanders selected in the NFL draft. Iowa’s was a safety in the 2000s. North Texas’ was a center-turned-linebacker picked in the ninth round of the 1966 draft.


18. Denton, the home of North Texas, is the 12th-largest city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It has over 125,000 people, but that’s fewer than Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie, McKinney, Frisco, Mesquite and Carrollton.

19. UNT starting quarterback Mason Fine passed for 13,081 yards and 166 touchdowns in his career at Locust Grove (Okla.) High School. He is Oklahoma’s only two-time Gatorade Player of the Year. He was a 2-star recruit.

20. Locust Grove, population 1,423, is the home of the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry.



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