El Paso, TX (UTEP) — UTEP (1-7, 0-4 C-USA) will play the final contest of a three-game road swing, battling North Texas (6-3, 4-1 C-USA) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MT (2:30 p.m. CT) at Apogee Stadium. This will be the first meeting between the programs in 33 years and first meeting in Denton, Texas since 1979. The Miners will play their final home game of the season against FIU on Nov. 16 and will continue the road trend when they finish out the season at Tulane on Nov. 23 and at Middle Tennessee on Nov. 30. The Miners are 3-17-2 when playing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The Miners’ last win in the area was a 48-45 overtime victory at SMU on Sept. 29, 2007. UTEP’s last win after playing a Top 25 opponent came on Oct. 3, 2009 when the Miners defeated No. 12 Houston after falling to No. 2 Texas.
This is the 22nd meeting between the Miners and the Mean Green. The Mean Green leads the overall series 13-5-3. North Texas has won the last six contests against UTEP (1966, 1968, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980). The Miners’ last win against the Mean Green came in the 1965 season opener (61-15). The Miners also notched wins during the 1953, 1954, 1957 & 1963 seasons. The Miners are 1-7-2 all time at North Texas.
The Last Meeting
UTEP built a 9-0 lead over North Texas State (now North Texas) in the first quarter but was outscored 35-6 over the next three periods as the Miners lost 35-15 on Sept. 20, 1980 in the Sun Bowl. North Texas’ Joe Stevenson was 7-of-19 passing for 76 yards and two touchdowns. North Texas got on the board at the beginning of the second quarter as Bobby Daniels scored on a one-yard run into the end zone. The Mean Green took the lead for good when Stevenson threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Pete Harvey with 1:48 left in the first half. Delbert Thompson led the Miners with 95 yards on 27 carries. UTEP gained 141 yards on the ground. Keith Castle and Paul Sieczkowski combined for 13 completions for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Sieczkowski threw a two-yard touchdown to Don Kimball in the first quarter and Castle threw a 15-yard score to Virgil Glasgow for the Miners’ final score in the fourth. North Texas gained 348 yards of total offense, including 264 yards rushing on 56 attempts. The Miners gained 251 yards of total offense.
UTEP players from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area are OL Jerome Daniels (Little Elm/Little Elm HS), DB Ishmael Harrison (Red Oak/ Red Oak HS), DB Adrian James (Dallas/Skyline HS), RB Nathan Jeffery (Caddo Mills/Caddo Mills HS), RB Hunter Nix (Prosper/Prosper HS), DL Devante Richardson (Fort Worth/JuanSeguin HS), DB Traun Roberson (DeSoto/DeSoto HS), QB Garrett Simpson (The Colony/The Colony HS), OL Chris Thomas (Lancaster/Lancaster HS), WR Malcolm Trail (Dallas/Life School Oak Cliff HS), TE Craig Wenrick (Flower Mound/Flower Mound HS) and WR Jaquan White (Dallas/Lancaster HS).
UTEP DB Traun Roberson graduated from DeSoto (Texas) HS along with North Texas’ RB Antoinne Jimmerson, WR Brandon Johnson, LB Zach Orr and WR Darius Terrell.
UTEP WR Malcolm Trail and North Texas WR Roderick Lancaster are products of Life School of Oak Cliff HS (Dallas,Texas). UTEP TE Craig Wenrick and North Texas OL Kaydon Kirby are Flower Mound (Texas) HS graduates.
UTEP Assistant Head Coach Spencer Leftwich was the offensive line coach at North Texas from 1994-2002 and again from 2007-09. UTEP graduate assistant Tyler Bailey is a 2009 graduate of North Texas. Bailey played for the Mean Green from 2006-09 on the offensive line. He started every game in 2009 and was part of a unit that surrendered the third-fewest sacks in the nation. He played in over 30 games during his career at North Texas.
About North Texas
The Mean Green earned bowl eligibility after defeating the Rice Owls 28-16 in Apogee Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 31. North Texas stopped Rice’s five-game winning streak, despite the Owls outgaining the Mean Green by 102 yards. The Owls took a 16-7 lead in the first half when Taylor McHargue threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor. McHargue threw for two scores on the day, but that was all the scoring that the Owls could manage. North Texas scored two touchdowns late in the second quarter to take control of the game. Antoinne Jimmerson dashed 42 yards to the end zone to pull his team within two points and Brelan Chancellor returned a punt 42 yards to the house to give his team the lead for good. Jimmerson took a pass from Derek Thompson 46 yards for a touchdown to seal the win. Jimmerson finished the night with 62 yards rushing on eight carries as the Mean Green rushed for 149 yards. North Texas has outscored its opponents 282-179. Brandin Byrd leads the Mean Green with 518 yards rushing (4.1 avg) and is tied for the team lead with six touchdowns rushing while Reggie Pegram has rushed for 338 yards and six scores. Thompson is completing 67 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,084 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He ranks third in the conference in passing yards per game (231.6) and passing efficiency (140.0). Darnell Smith leads the team in receptions (46) and ranks fifth in the conference in receptions per game (5.1), while Chancellor leads in yards (642), touchdowns (four) and yards per catch (16.9). He ranks fifth in the conference in receiving yards per game (71.3) and second in all-purpose yards per game (167.9). North Texas has been good on both sides of the ball as it averages 31.3 points per game (third in conference, 53rd in the nation) and ranks first in the conference in scoring defense (19.9 points allowed per game). The Mean Green ranks 40th in the nation in total defense (376.4). They have been ball hawks, picking off 13 passes (second in conference, tied for 12th in the nation) for 181 yards and two scores. The Mean Green has also harassed the opposing quarterback with 23 sacks (ranks second in conference).
Johnny Manziel accounted for six touchdowns as No. 12 Texas A&M roughed up UTEP, 57-7, on Nov. 2 in front of an announced crowd of 87,126 at Kyle Field. The Aggies handed the Miners their sixth straight loss. Heisman hopeful Manziel completed 16-of-24 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns. He was also unstoppable with his feet as he rushed for 67 yards on seven carries and two scores, including a season-long 49-yard scamper to the end zone in the third quarter. Late in the first quarter with the score 2-0 in favor of the Aggies, the Miners got on the board when freshman sensation Aaron Jones scored on a four-yard run. It was his first trip to pay dirt since Sept. 14 at NM State. Malcolm Trail’s career-best 29-yard catch from Blaire Sullivan to the Texas A&M four-yard line set up the score. The Aggies were quick to answer as they went 72 yards on four plays, ending with a Manziel 44-yard touchdown strike to Travis Labhart (four receptions, 83 yards, two touchdowns). Jones finished the night with 62 yards and the Miners’ lone touchdown. The Miner defense allowed 564 yards, including 330 on the ground. The Miners got some pressure on Manziel as senior James Davidson notched a career-best two sacks. Sophomore Demarcus Kizzie led the defense with a career-best eight tackles (five solo).