AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- No. 8 Texas kicks off the 2004 season with an intrastate tussle against the "Mean Green" of North Texas.
Texas leads the all-time series, 7-0, including a 27-0 victory in 2002, the last meeting between the teams. The Longhorns went 10-3 in 2003, losing to Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.
In six seasons at Texas, coach Mack Brown has yet to get the Longhorns to a BCS bowl but has guided the Longhorns to a school-record three straight 10-win seasons.
Vince Young was the 2003 Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year as he became the first Texas quarterback to rush and pass for more than 900 yards in the same season.
Running back Cedric Benson, who rushed for 1,360 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior, gave up his summer job - playing minor league baseball in the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization - to concentrate on football.
Benson ranks third on Texas' all-time rushing chart with 3,706 yards. Earl Campbell (4,443) and Ricky Williams (6,279) - who both won the Heisman Trophy - are the two ahead of him.
The Longhorns will miss Roy Williams, the school's all-time leading receiver and an NFL first-round pick. Senior Tony Jeffrey is the only returner with significant experience, collecting 24 receptions for 277 yards and three touchdowns in 38 career games.
Linebacker Derrick Johnson, who led the team with 125 tackles, including 20 for loss, and defensive tackle Rodrique Wright are among seven returning starters from a unit that ranked 25th in total defense in 2003.
Texas has not been shut out in an NCAA-leading 277 games, dating to a 16-0 loss to Baylor in 1980.
North Texas went 9-4 in 2003, including 7-0 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green won their third straight conference crown last season and have won 18 straight Sun Belt contests.
The Mean Green return 16 starters from their latest championship squad and look to win their first season opener since 1996, when they defeated Illinois State.
Despite having never beaten the Longhorns, North Texas doesn't figure to be intimidated. In the 2002 matchup, North Texas allowed only 28 yards rushing and recorded eight sacks.
If the Mean Green are to pull off the upset, they will have to hit the Longhorns with their defense and a heavy dose of running back Patrick Cobbs.
A 5-9, 205-pound senior, Cobbs led the nation in rushing and scoring last season, averaging 152.7 yards and 11.5 points per game. He finished with 1,680 yards and 19 rushing TDs.
The North Texas game will mark the fifth straight year that the Longhorns have opened their season against a Sun Belt Conference opponent. Texas has won all four previous games by a combined 186-24.