It’s not every day that players have a chance to make history, but today North Texas wide receiver Brelan Chancellor will have his. He can put his name alongside Keyshawn Johnson, Charles “Cotton” Speyrer, Jim Brown and Ernie Davis.
Chancellor and the Mean Green (8-4) take on the UNLV Rebels (7-5) today in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at 11 a.m. The game will be played at the historic Cotton Bowl and will be broadcast on ESPNU.
“It’s a big deal for us to think about all of the guys that came out of there and walked out of that tunnel, strapped up and played on that field,” Chancellor said. “It means a lot that they picked us to come here and play.”
The former Copperas Cove Bulldawg heads into his final college game after helping the Mean Green make it to a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
For Chancellor, going bowling was a goal.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Chancellor said. “It’s my fourth year now and it’s good to know that all of the hard work that we’re putting in is finally paying off.”
The Heart of Dallas Bowl serves as a reward for North Texas’ turnaround. The Mean Green started the season 2-3, but ended the year by winning six of their last seven Conference USA games to close out the season.
Their last loss was a 21-13 home setback to the UT-San Antonio. The Mean Green finished third in the CUSA West division.
Chancellor comes into the Heart of Texas Bowl as UNT’s leading receiver with 718 yards and four touchdowns on 47 catches. Word has gotten out about him.
After posting three games of more than 103 yards in the first eight games, Chancellor has been held to just 11 receptions for 99 yards and has been kept out of the end zone.
But receiving isn’t Chancellor’s only way to make a difference. The 5-foot-9, 183-pound senior ranks 17th nationally in all-purpose yards and is a staple on special teams.
Chancellor has returned 22 kickoffs for 619 yards and a touchdown while bringing back 22 punts for 370 yards and another touchdown.
“Nobody’s satisfied with just getting to the bowl game,” Chancellor said. “We want to win the bowl game. That’s our biggest thing and everybody is really focused. I want it more than anything and I treat it like any game. I hate losing.”
Chancellor will take on a UNLV defense that is ranked 93rd nationally in points allowed.
North Texas has played UNLV four times since 2000 and has lost every meeting with the Rebels.
Chancellor won’t be the only former Bulldawg with bite at the Heart of Dallas Bowl as former Cove standout Brandin Bryd established himself as UNT’s leading rusher this season after enjoying a breakout season in 2012.
Byrd has gained 1,023 yards and 11 touchdowns on 182 carries.
Byrd has surpassed the 200-yard mark in two of the final three games of the season.
Junior defensive back Brendan Campbell, a former Harker Heights Knight, also plays for the Mean Green.