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David Minton

Notebook: Orr furthers family legacy

Profile image for By Brett Vito
By Brett Vito

DALLAS — North Texas linebacker Zach Orr has discovered more and more about his father’s decorated college and NFL career through the years.

The senior found out just a couple of days ago one more twist that he hadn’t known before — that he would be carrying on a family legacy in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Terry Orr played fullback for Texas and capped his collegiate career in the 1984 Cotton Bowl that saw Texas fall to Georgia before playing eight years in the NFL.

Zach Orr played a key role in turning the family’s fortunes at the Cotton Bowl stadium, finishing with nine tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in the Mean Green’s 36-14 win over UNLV.

“It’s really cool,” Zach Orr said. “It was only fitting that this was my last collegiate game. The only difference was that we were able to get the win.”

Orr was a three-year starter and finished with 365 career tackles, a total that ties him with former UNT linebacker Brad Kassell for third in program history.

“He has left a much stronger impression and a greater legacy with us and our program than we have with him,” UNT head coach Dan McCarney said. “Hopefully we have had an impact on his life because he has had such a major impact on ours. Whether he makes the NFL or not, and I think that he will, he has left a great legacy and an example of how to do things the right way. We will be talking about him for years to come.”

Turnaround one of the biggest ever for UNT

UNT posted one of the biggest turnarounds in school history, thanks to its win over UNLV.

The Mean Green finished 9-4, tying for the second-highest win total in school history.

UNT also won nine games in 2003.

That finish was a dramatic turnaround from a year ago, when the Mean Green finished 4-8 and lost four of its last five games. That skid left UNT with an eighth straight losing season.

McCarney credited the turnaround to the culture of the program.

“There is so much character in the program, and character does make a difference in athletics,” McCarney said of the turnaround. “That’s what we have now, and the legacy that will be left here forever by these seniors.”

UNT defense shines in win

UNT entered the day ranked among the nation’s best defensive teams and continued to thrive in its win over UNLV.

UNT was ranked ninth nationally in scoring defense with an average of 18.1 points per game and was allowing just 6.5 points a game in the second half.

The Mean Green continued that run of success in its win over UNLV, allowing just seven points after the Rebels scored on their opening drive.

“It starts with our defensive coordinator John Skladany,” Orr said. “He’s the smartest coach I have ever played for.”

UNT held UNLV to 262 yards. The Rebels came into the game having scored at least 40 points in each of their last two games, a 45-19 win over San Diego State and a 41-21 win over Air Force.

UNT caps solid offensive season with breakout game

The 36 points UNT scored was its highest total in eight bowl games in program history, one last milestone in a breakout year for the Mean Green offensively.

UNT entered the game averaging 31.5 points per game, the third-highest average in school history.

The Mean Green rolled up 397 total yards in its win over UNLV.

Briefly …

Senior wide receiver Brelan Chancellor set a UNT single-season record for all-purpose yards with 1,964. He had 181 all-purpose yards Wednesday. … UNT finished with five sacks on the day and 39 on the season, a total that ties for second on the school’s single-season list.