Looking at North Texas: Offensive line, linebacker Zach Orr, some history with K-State


Throwing out a few things mid-week for K-State fans to look for in Saturday’s game against North Texas (1-1) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium – kickoff is set for 6 p.m.:

They have confidence in their offensive line

The Mean Green feel like they have an advantage up front because of sophomore left tackle Antonio Johnson (6-foot-6, 311 pounds), sophomore left guard Mason Y’Barbo (6-2, 309 pounds) and sophomore right guard Cyril Lemon (6-3, 321) – all in their second year as starters. They’ve been working as a group since March 2011 at the start of spring ball and were the big reason why North Texas had two 100-plus yard rushers in last Saturday’s 34-7 win over Texas Southern. Brandon Byrd had 142 yards on 24 carries and Antoine Jimmerson had 139 yards on 15 carries – the first time over 100 yards for either running back in their North Texas careers. The Mean Green rushed for a total of 350 yards in the win.

The North Texas offensive line has yet to allow a sack this season – and that’s including a 41-14 loss to LSU in the opener.

“I assume LSU has some pretty decent defensive linemen,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said.

The heart of their defense, just like K-State, is at middle linebacker

Junior Zach Orr, 6-1 and 223 pounds, is a two-year captain and led the Mean Green with 74 tackles last season. Orr was third on the team with 60 tackles as a freshman in 2010, including 8 tackles in a 49-41 loss to Kansas State in Denton, Texas.

“He’s the heart and soul of our defense,” North Texas coach Dan McCarney said. “I think all you need to see is that he’s already been elected captain twice and he’s only a junior. Because of his size, he’s somebody that was overlooked a little bit coming out of high school but he’s a player.”

History is not on the side of North Texas, or coach Dan McCarney

In five meetings, the only North Texas win over Kansas State came in 1985, which was getting toward the end of the Dark Ages for the Wildcat football program – they also lost to Wichita State that year in their season opener. McCarney is 2-10 all time against Bill Snyder after coaching at Iowa State for 12 seasons.