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Five things UNT fans should know about Troy

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

North Texas will take on Troy in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 16 at the Superdome in New Orleans.

The Mean Green will be making their second consecutive bowl appearance under Seth Littrell, who has the Mean Green on the rise.

Troy is also in the midst of a great season under Neal Brown and enters its showdown with the Mean Green at 10-2. 

Here are five things UNT fans should know about the Trojans:

1. UNT can't discount Troy just because it's a Sun Belt team

UNT couldn't have been happier to escape the Sun Belt Conference for Conference USA after the 2012 season. The Mean Green were stuck on an island as the only Texas team in the Sun Belt and C-USA is widely perceived to be a better league.

The move has worked out just like UNT hoped it would, but don't be so quick to discount Troy just because it is a Sun Belt team.

The Trojans stunned LSU earlier this season. The Trojans 24-21 win was one of the biggest upsets in college football this year.

Troy's only losses have come at Boise State and against South Alabama in a rivalry game.

The Trojans are capable of beating UNT.

2. Troy's defense is among the best in the country

Troy enters the New Orleans Bowl ranked 11th in the country in scoring defense with an average of 17.5 points allowed per game.

LSU managed only 428 yards of total offense against the Trojans, who have intercepted 15 passes and piled up 36 sacks on the season.

Troy is the only team in the country to not allow more than 24 points in a game this season.

3. Troy's quarterback Brandon Silvers is the real deal

Troy senior quarterback Brandon Silvers enters the New Orleans Bowl having thrown for more than 10,000 yards in his career and is a four-year starter.

He is just what every Group of Five program is looking for. He was a three-star prospect coming out of high school and was ranked No. 80 nationally among pro-style quarterbacks by 247Sports. He has pedigree and has panned out terrifically for Troy.

Silvers has thrown for 2,985 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

4. There are a whole lot of similarities between Seth Littrell and Troy coach Neal Brown

UNT hit on a its coaching hire after the 2015 season when it hired a young, offensive-minded coach in Seth Littrell.

Troy made a similar hire in Neal Brown and has also enjoyed positive results. Brown was the offensive coordinator at Troy, Texas Tech and Kentucky before taking over as the Trojans head coach.

He has led Troy to consecutive 10-win seasons. The Trojans are averaging 30.0 points per game.

5. Troy has shown big-play ability

Troy ranks fifth nationally with an average of 8.4 tackles for loss per game, has made a host of big plays offensively and also has a standout return man in Marcus Jones.

Jones became just the 24th player in NCAA history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns earlier this season in Troy's win over Coastal Carolina. 

FEATURED PHOTO: Troy  coach Neal Brown celebrates his team's 24-21 victory over LSU earlier this season at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)