Frisco Bowl [5th Edition]
North Texas (7-6) vs. Boise State (9-4)
December 17, 2022
8:15 p.m. CT, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
By Troy Phillips
North Texas and Boise State both enter the fifth edition of the Frisco Bowl wanting to end 2022 on a winning note, but with somewhat opposite storylines.
Figuratively, UNT has an eye on all things new. Boise State wants a return to elite status among FBS Group of Five programs – a recapture of its “old” look.
One must first go through the other when UNT (7-6) faces the Broncos (9-4) for the first time since 2000. Kickoff is set for December 17 at 8:15 p.m. CT.
Runners-up in Conference USA and the Mountain West, respectively, North Texas and Boise State required opposite travel accommodations. The Mean Green are busing to Frisco from next-county-over Denton for the second straight year after playing in the 2021 Frisco Football Classic – one of two bowls in Frisco last postseason.
Boise State will travel roughly 1,600 miles for its 25th consecutive bowl appearance, third-longest active behind Ohio State (34) and Georgia (26). This is UNT’s sixth bowl appearance in seven years and 14th all-time. The Broncos list 13 Texas natives on their roster.
“It provides an opportunity to play in front of family and friends in their home state,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “It will be special for our seniors, who will take the field for the last time with their brothers. We look forward to the challenge and seeing Bronco Nation represented.”
Along with TCU and Utah, Boise State (2006-2011) was among those in the “non-BCS” upper crust who tormented programs in today’s Power Five – prior to the current playoff era.
TCU and Utah long ago moved on and up, and Boise State continues striving to capture the magic of a present-day Cincinnati, UCF, Houston, Tulane, etc.
With its history, infamous blue home field, and anytime/anywhere mentality outside the Mountain West, the Broncos have that annual sleeper quality among the Group of Five.
UNT wants to be one of those party-crashers to a New Year’s Six bowl, and it’ll join Rice, UAB, UTSA, Florida Atlantic and Charlotte as new members of The American in 2023.
“I believe we are positioned to be highly competitive in the AAC,” UNT president Neal Smatresk said. “We have the benefit of a passionate fan base, great facilities and resources.”
The Mean Green finished 6-2 in C-USA in their final season in the league. Austin Aune threw for 3,300 yards and 32 TDs, 10 of those scores to Jyaire Shorter on just 22 catches. UNT also rushed for 22 touchdowns and 202 yards per game. Boise State figures to game-plan for a steady diet of Aune passes and fresh runners out of the backfield.
Fort Worth-based freelance writer Troy Phillips is a former reporter and copy editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.