A week ago, the North Texas Mean Green struggled against Charlotte, as Mason Fine threw five touchdown passes in a losing effort against the 49ers.
This week, he threw seven.
The performance moved him into a first-place tie with himself for single most touchdown passes in a season (27), with four games still left to go. The performance also moved him into second place for most touchdown passes in a single game, past a four-way tie for third, trailing only Giovanni Vizza, who threw eight touchdown passes against Navy in 2007.
For fans of North Texas (4-5, 3-2), it was difficult to be optimistic after last week, but this game brought back much of the goodwill. Even with leading rusher Tre Siggers having difficulty getting anything going (22 carries totaling only 85 yards), the game was still a complete performance as the defense got key stops, and the offense cleared the way for a 52 point day.
The UTEP Miners, (1-7, 0-5) looked even worse than they did a year ago. Kai Locksley couldn’t get anything going on offense (17 for 29 on passing for 119 yards), and in fact the lone bright spot was RB Treyvon Hughes, who despite the underwhelming day for the team, still ran for three touchdowns, part of a 17-carry, 97-yard performance.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention Duron Lowe’s 100-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Other than that, UTEP struggled in every other category, save one: Zero turnovers for either team, all day.
Ultimately, the Miners are making negligible headway in year two of Dana Dimel. For their part, the Mean Green certainly played to their own strengths on Saturday, but still have some work to do if they want to make their fourth consecutive bowl game, or indeed, compete for C-USA West.
They’ll have their shot next Saturday, as they head to Ruston to face a rested Louisiana Tech (7-1, 4-0).
The Miners, who haven’t beaten an FBS team yet this season, will get another shot next week when they host surging Charlotte, who will bring their (4-5, 2-3) record into El Paso, after a surprise win over Middle Tennessee this weekend.