DeAndre Torrey

DeAndre Torrey (3) breaks a tackle for a nice gain during UNT’s season opener against Houston Baptist.

North Texas coach Seth Littrell made his debut as UNT’s play-caller when the Mean Green took on Houston Baptist on Saturday night at Apogee Stadium.

Littrell left play-calling to his offensive coordinator in each of his first four seasons. He changed course after firing offensive coordinator Bodie Reeder following last season.

The move was everything he hoped it would be.

“I had a blast,” Littrell said. “I have been having a blast since we came back. Calling plays is something I can do because of the coaching staff that we have. Our offensive coaches do a phenomenal job with communication.”

Tommy Mainord and Mike Bloesch are serving as co-offensive coordinators this season.

The question heading into the year was how that dynamic would play out.

For one night, it couldn’t have worked out better. UNT established a new program record with 721 total yards, surpassing the 668 yards the Mean Green rolled up in a win over Lamar in the 2017 season.

UNT rolled up more than 300 yards both rushing and passing for the first time in program history. The Mean Green struck a remarkable balance while throwing for 361 yards and rushing for 360 with Littrell directing the show.

“We missed some things in all three phases that we have to clean up,” Littrell said. “I am never going to not be excited about a win.”

That was especially true after a record-setting performance.

Briefly …

  • Three players made their debuts as starters on UNT’s offensive line against HBU. Cole Brown started at left tackle, while Chris Cassidy started at right guard and Anterrious Gray at left guard.

Manase Mose moved from right guard, where he started all 12 games last season to center. Mose took over for his brother at center — Sosia Mose started each of UNT’s games at center last season.

  • The Mean Green brought in a group of transfers over the summer in an effort to bolster its defense. Two of those transfers started in UNT’s season-opener.

Davontae McCrae started at defensive end, while Jordan Rucker started at cornerback. Rucker is a former Denton Ryan standout who was granted immediate eligibility over the summer after transferring from Purdue. McCrae started his career at North Carolina State before transferring to East Mississippi Community College. Rucker finished with four tackles, while McCrae posted one.

  • UNT was without preseason All-Conference USA kicker Ethan Mooney. The junior is dealing with a minor undisclosed injury. Zach Williams filled in. He hit his first two extra point attempts before missing on his third opportunity. Williams came back to hit a 30-yard field goal late in the first half.
  • UNT linebacker KD Davis came up with a key stop early in the first quarter. The Mean Green were up 7-0 when HBU drove to the Mean Green’s 5-yard line, where the Huskies faced a fourth-and-2 situation. Davis stopped LaDarius Turner for no gain.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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