Honors continued to roll in for members of North Texas’ offensive line Monday, when starting guards Cyril Lemon and Mason Y’Barbo were named to the watch list for the Lombardi Award.
A total of 123 players, including 13 from Conference USA, were named to the preliminary list of players under consideration for the honor that goes to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker each season.
Lemon also was one of 64 players named last week to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, presented to the top interior lineman.
The two guards are among four returning starters on an offensive front that has ranked among the Mean Green’s strengths in each of the last two seasons.
“Anytime you have as many guys back as we do, everyone knows each other and the chemistry is good,” Y’Barbo said during spring practice. “As long as we have been together, it’s like hanging out with your friends out there.”
UNT allowed just six sacks in 2012, the best total among Football Bowl Subdivision programs. The Mean Green followed up that performance by allowing just 11 sacks last season, when the Mean Green tied with Fresno State for seventh nationally in sacks allowed.
UNT’s total of 17 sacks allowed over the last two seasons is the lowest total in major college football. Coach Dan McCarney credited the offensive line for helping guide the Mean Green to a breakout 9-4 season last fall that included a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Lemon has started 37 games at UNT and was a first-team All-Conference USA pick as a junior. He received All-Sun Belt honorable mention as a freshman and sophomore and is the only player in the FBS to head into the 2014 season having started every game of his college career while earning all-conference honors in each of the last three seasons.
Y’Barbo has been just as instrumental in UNT’s success and also has started 37 games heading into his senior year. He was a second-team All-C-USA selection last season as a junior, when he and Lemon helped UNT post a breakout season offensively.
UNT averaged 31.8 points per game, up from 20.9 points a game in 2012. The Mean Green scored at least 35 points in three of its last four games, including its 36-14 win over UNLV for the third bowl win in school history.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.