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UTEP Reaches Bowl Eligibility With 35-17 Drubbing of North Texas

The Miners jumped out to an early lead and after putting their foot on the breaks late in the second, coasted to the 35-17 victory Saturday night at the Sun Bowl.

Alex Nicolas -

Aaron Jones returned to the lineup for the Miners and racked up 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, leading his team to their sixth win and bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010.

The Miners opened the game with a 7 play 75 yard drive capped by a 31 yard Nathan Jeffery score to go up 7-0 four minutes into the ball game.

North Texas would punt on their opening possession, and the four that followed, and the Miners would continue to score touchdowns, going up 28-0 after their fist four offensive possessions.

Neither team would score for the final 8:50 of the first half, and the Miners would take a 28-0 lead into the intermission.

The Mean Green would get on the board on their first possession of the second half, taking the ball 55 yards in 10 plays before settling for a 37 yard field goal.

UTEP would punt on their opening possession, but after the defense forced the sixth punt of the night on UNT's ensuing possession, the Miners would tack on 7 more on a 54 yard Aaron Jones run to go up 35-3 with 4:28 left in the 3rd.

North Texas would tack on a couple late touchdowns to make the score a little more respectable, but this one was never in doubt as the Miners strolled to the 35-17 victory.

Aaron Jones led the way with 177 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 16 carries. The performance took him over the 1000 yard mark for the season, with still two more games to play.

Josh Bell also racked up 52 yards on 7 carries, and Nathan Jeffery rushed for 46 yards and 3 touchdowns on 7 carries of his own. El Pasoan Jacob Martinez also picked up 7 carries, and finished with 16 yards on the night.

Autrey Golden was the Miners' leading receiver, hauling in 3 catches for 50 yards. Only two other Miners caught passes on the night; Ian Hamilton had 2 catches for 22 yards, and Aaron Jones had 3 for 15.

Jameill Showers finished the night 8 of 11 passing for 87, and also picked up 33 yards rushing on just 4 carries.

Andrew McNulty led the way for the Mean Green, completing 16 of his 28 passes for 107 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He also was the team's leading rusher with 67 yards on 12 carries.

Antoinne Jimmerson rushed for 22 yards on 8 carries, and Carlos Harris finished the night with 6 catches for 42 yards.

As a team, the Miners tallied 438 yards, while giving up just 207. They also racked up 18 first downs to just 13 for North Texas, and controlled time of possession with a 33:00 to 27:00 advantage.

The Miners, now 6-4 and 4-2 on the season, have reached bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010 under Mike Price. They have an opportunity to build on their resume with games at Rice and against Middle Tennessee still left on the slate.

Up next, a trip to Houston and a Friday visit with the Rice Owls awaits. Kickoff for that game is slated for 6:00 p.m. MT, and that game will also be carried live by Fox Sports 1.

Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for coverage of all things UTEP sports. Also, make sure to on Twitter and as always don't forget to like our Facebook Page. Picks Up, and Go Miners!