UNT-SMU five things

North Texas safety Khairi Muhammad tackles SMU quarterback Shane Buechele last season at Apogee Stadium.

North Texas will host Dallas-area rival SMU on Saturday at Apogee Stadium in a showdown of teams that are off to 1-0 starts to the season.

UNT rolled past Houston Baptist in its opener 57-31, while the Mustangs beat Texas State 31-24.

Here are five things UNT fans should know about the Mustangs heading into the 5 p.m. showdown that will be shown on CBS Sports Network.

1. Quarterback Shane Buechele is back

Most of the time graduate transfers are around for one season to complete their college careers.

Texas transfer Shane Buechele is the of the exceptions. The former Arlington Lamar standout guided the Mustangs to a 10-win season last year and is back.

He gave UNT fits last season while throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns. He also broke off a season-long 28-yard run against the Mean Green to set up one of his touchdown passes.

2. One of SMU's best players is a Denton native

SMU starting linebacker and team captain Delano Robinson is a former Denton Ryan standout. He started in all 11 games he played in last season while racking up 76 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Robinson posted five tackles in SMU's win over Texas State. 

UNT linebacker Tyreke Davis played with Robinson in high school.

3. SMU lost quite a bit up front defensively

One area SMU might be vulnerable is in the front seven of its defense.  

The Mustangs lost starting tackles Pono Davis and Zach Abercrumbia as well as defensive end Delontae Scott. Backup defensive tackles Demerick Gary and Chris Biggurs were also seniors.

Linebacker Patrick Nelson is also gone.

SMU gave up 189 rushing yards in its win over Texas State. UNT's strength offensively is its running game behind a host of talented running backs, including Tre Siggers. The junior rushed for 164 yards in a loss to SMU last year.

4. SMU has had two weeks to prepare for UNT

UNT had an extra week to prepare for SMU after its game against Texas A&M was called off due to the fallout from the COIVD-19 pandemic.

SMU also had the week off after its game TCU was postponed.

5. The Mustangs have a young backfield

SMU lost several of its top running backs after last season and have a new duo leading the way in TJ McDaniel and Ulysses Bentley IV.

McDaniel played sparingly last season while rushing for 236 yards. Bentley spent his first season at SMU as a redshirt.

Both were impressive last week. McDaniel rushed for 130 yards, while Bentley scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.

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

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