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North Texas Downs UTEP 41-7

The Miners changed quarterbacks, but it didn't change the outcome as the North Texas Mean Green ran away early, and never looked back.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Mack Leftwich's first career start as the quarterback of the Miners didn't provide much relief for a struggling UTEP offense. North Texas jumped out to an early 21-0 lead, and basically shut the door on this one before the first half came to an end.

After forcing a three and out on North Texas' first drive, the Miners put together a solid 10 play drive that moved the ball well into UNT territory. The drive eventually stalled though, and Jay Mattox would have his 46 yard field goal attempt blocked to keep the score at 0-0.

From there, it was all UNT as the Mean Green put together a quick 5 play, 40 yard drive that ended with a Brandin Byrd touchdown run to put the Green ahead 7-0. The Miners would punt after a couple of first downs on their ensuing drive, and North Texas would tack on another quick score on a blocked punt to go ahead 14-0 late in the first.

The Miners would find little success offensively the rest of the half, tallying zero total yards on their final five possessions of the first half. UNT put together their third quick strike touchdown midway through the second, and would enjoy a 21-0 lead at the half.

UTEP continued its punting spree out of the locker rooms, punting after a short 26 yard drive to open the second half. The Mean Green then moved the ball 93 yards in 4 plays, scoring their fourth touchdown of the day on an 82 yard Byrd touchdown scamper.

The Miners would respond with their first and only touchdown of the day, going 75 yards on 11 plays, and scoring on a 22 yard connection from Leftwich to Jordan Leslie. That score put the Miners within 21 at 28-7, but that was as close as they'd be the rest of the day.

North Texas tacked on a final touchdown and a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter to win the game by a final score of 41-7.

The Mean Green were led by Derek Thompson who finished with a subpar 154 yards passing, completing just 10 of his 24 attempts. He finished the day with a single passing touchdown and no interceptions.

Brandin Byrd finished the day with 202 yards rushing on just 18 carries, good for a ridiculous 11.2 yards a carry. He also had a pair of touchdown runs.

Drew Miller ended up as the team's leading receiver with three receptions for 44 yards, but it was Darnell Smith (3 receptions, 32 yards) who had the Mean Green's lone receiving touchdown.

Mack Leftwich was the only quarterback who saw action for the Miners, finishing the day with just 128 yards passing, going 14-20 with one touchdown and one interception. He was also sacked 8 times on the day, and finished with a QB rating of just 26.7.

L.A. Dowell finished as the team's leading rusher, after Aaron Jones went out with an injury, going for 28 yards on 6 carries. Josh Bell finished with 19 yards on 4 carries, and Nathan Jeffery had 15 yards on 6 carries.

Jordan Leslie was Leftwich's favorite target on the day, hauling in 5 balls for 41 yards and the lone Miner touchdown. Ian Hamilton, Craig Wenrick, and Eric Tomlinson all had 2 catches each.

The Mean Green dominated, not only on the scoreboard, but also on the stat sheet, outgaining the Miners 471 (154 passing, 317 rushing) to 184 (128 passing, 56 rushing), while picking up 22 first downs to the Miners' 13.

The Miners once again won the time of possession battle (33:06 to 26:54), but as seen in previous contests, that has meant little as far as scoring is concerned.

UTEP will now return home for their final home game of the season, as they will take on Florida International next Saturday in the Sun Bowl. Kickoff for that game is slated for 6:00 p.m MT.

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