The Mean Green Defense Looked Stout On Saturday As North Texas Continues Its Remarkable Run.
The wins for suddenly legitimate University North Texas football program are only coming more and more easily these days: The team's 41-7 homecoming blowout victory over University of Texas at El Paso — the team's fifth straight win, which puts the team in first place of the Conference USA West standings — found the team is clicking on all cylinders.
But the defense was the real story. UTEP's 5-foot-10 freshman quarterback Mack Leftwich was harassed all day by a Mean Green defense that racked up eight sacks and an interception over the course of the day, all while holding the Miners to just 184 yards of offense. The Mean Green shutdown UTEP in every facet of the game — even blocking a punt for a touchdown and a field goal.
Senior running back Brandin Byrd ran for 202 yards and two touchdowns, including an 82-yard TD run. The team totaled 339 yards of rushing, averaging 7.4 yards a carry, thus relieving senior quarterback Derek Thompson, who only attempted 24 passes over the course of the afternoon, of any real heavy lifting.
And now, for the first time this season thanks to a Tulane loss to University of Texas San Antonio, North Texas leads the Conference USA-West standings, and sits in prime position for a bid to both the Conference USA Championship and a bowl game.
The Mean Green defense lines up before the snap. North Texas sacked UTEP quarterback Mack Leftwich eight times Saturday.
North Texas swarms UTEP running back Josh Bell (23) on a run play in the first quarter.
North Texas tight end Drew Miller (86) attempts to hurdle over UTEP defensive back Devin Cockrell.
North Texas wide receiver Brelan Chancellor (3) works the sideline on a 21-yard reverse down to the UTEP 2-yard line.
North Texas running back Brandin Byrd (24) dives past the goal line for the first score of the game in the first quarter.
North Texas defensive back Chad Davis (16) wraps up UTEP wide receiver Jim Jones (5) on a kick return.
North Texas defensive tackle Richard Abbe (97) smothers UTEP quarterback Mack Leftwich (16) for his first of two sacks on the day.
North Texas running back Rex Rollins (20) blocks a punt in the first quarter.
North Texas wide Receiver Darvin Kidsy (4) celebrates after recovering a blocked punt for a touchdown.
North Texas defensive tackle Richard Abbe (97) sacks UTEP quarterback Mack Leftwich (16) for the second time.
North Texas wide receiver Dave Harris (9) attempts to run through a UTEP tackle on a 26-yard run.
North Texas running back Antoine Jimmerson Jr. (22) leaps into the end zone for North Texas' third touchdown of the day.
North Texas defensive back Kenny Buyers (31) breaks up a pass to UTEP wide receiver Jordan Leslie (9).
North Texas mascot Scrappy crowd surfs during homecoming against UTEP.
North Texas running back Brandin Byrd (24) rushes through the UTEP defense. Byrd racked up 202 yards of rushing and two touchdowns on the day.
North Texas running back Brandin Byrd (24) breaks away for an 82-yard touchdown.
North Texas wide receiver Carlos Harris (9) crosses the goal line for a 42-yard touchdown catch.
North Texas wide receiver Darnell Smith (80) is upended while attempting to catch a pass in the end zone by UTEP defensive back Quinton Tezeno (20)
North Texas defensive end Brandon McCoy (93) sacks UTEP quarterback Mack Leftwich (16).