Bowl Hopes End On A Long Night In El Paso
UTEP Dismantles North Texas, 35-17
North Texas running back Reggie Pegram looks for running room against UTEP (photo by David Pyke)
EL PASO - North Texas came to the Sun Bowl Saturday looking to keep alive its pursuit of six wins and a potential second-straight bowl berth. Instead, they watched UTEP become bowl eligible by dismantling the Mean Green, 35-17.
The loss, the seventh North Texas defeat this year by double figures, officially ends the Mean Green's chance of being bowl eligible.
"You can try to sugar coat it if you want," North Texas coach Dan McCarney said, "but we got our asses kicked. They dominated the line of scrimmage."
The game could not have started worse for North Texas, or been more lopsided in the first half. UTEP drove at will through the Mean Green defense, pounding NT with its ground game, scoring on its first four drives, and out-gaining North Texas 288-53 in a first half that saw the Miners post a 28-0 lead.
North Texas (3-7 on the year, 1-5 in Conference USA play) finally put together a drive early in the third quarter, culminating in a Trevor Moore 37-yard field goal to cut the margin to 28-3. But UTEP (6-4, 4-2) answered with a 54-yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones to extinguish any hope of a Mean Green comeback.
For the game, North Texas managed just 201 yards total offense - 118 of them in the fourth quarter - and allowed 438, the second most the Mean Green has surrendered this year.
Freshman place kicker Trevor Moore continued his outstanding season. He hit a 37-yard field goal to make him 10 of 11 on the season, which is on pace for the best field-goal percentage in school history, and remained perfect on extra points, and is now 34 of 34.
This was the fourth game this season in which North Texas has fallen behind 28-0, and the fifth time North Texas has trailed by 21 or more in the first half.
North Texas is now 0-5 on the road this year.
Wide receiver Carlos Harris had six receptions Saturday, giving him 123 career receptions and moving him into the top 10 all-time at North Texas.
Andrew McNulty had a 65-yard rush in the fourth quarter, the longest of his career and the longest for North Texas this season.
One play after the fumble, freshman running back Jeffrey Wilson scored the first touchdown of his career on a short pass from Andrew McNulty that Wilson broke for a 29-yard score. He later ran one yard for his first rushing TD.
North Texas allowed a touchdown on the opening drive of the game when UTEP went 75 yards on seven plays. Coming into tonight, the Mean Green is 0-3 this year when its opponent scores on their opening drive of the game.
After only allowing one play of 20 yards or more last week vs. FAU, North Texas allowed four plays of 20 yards or more vs. UTEP in the first quarter.
North Texas has now been outscored 82-45 in the first quarter this season.
The Mean Green was out-gained 284-53 in the first half. It was the biggest disparity in total offense in a half for North Texas this season. North Texas was still under 100 yards total offense at the end of the third quarter, with just 83 yards.
North Texas was shutout in the first half for the third time this year.
NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver and UTEP alum Don Maynard was on hand for Saturday night's game.
North Texas plays its final home game of the season next Saturday, November 22, at 2:30 p.m. against Florida International.