UTEP vs UNT Season Opener - Photo by Ruben Ramirez

UTEP Miners fall to UNT 31-13 in Season Opener

It was a tale of two halves for the UTEP Miners football team as they lost their 2022 season opener to North Texas by the score of 31-13.

Author: Joe Rodriguez

The Mean Green shutout the Miners in the second half scoring 17 unanswered points to pull away after only taking a one-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

After an hour weather delay at the Sun Bowl, Miners failed to put points on the board on their first two possessions of the game after moving the ball easily into the red zone on both occasions. 

That fact that UTEP failed to take advantage of the few mistakes that the Mean Green made, while the visiting team capitalized on every single one that the Miners had over the course of 60 minutes made a significant difference in the course this game would take.  

Here’s what happened

  • The third time was the charm offensively for UTEP scoring on their third possession on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Hardison to Tyrin Smith with 13:58 to go in the second quarter to take a 7-0 lead. The Miners failed to score inside the red zone on their first two possessions (a missed 41-yard field goal and a turnover on downs on the North Texas 3-yard line). 
  • North Texas responded on the ensuing possession, going 88-yards in 12 plays. Quarterback Austine Aune found Tommy Bush on the slant from seven yards out to make the score 7-7 
  • UTEP and North Texas exchanged the lead in the final five minutes of the half. The Miners scored a field goal by Gavin Baechle from 29-yards out to make the score 10-7. The Mean Green responded with a rushing touchdown by Oscar Adaway to make it 14-10 UNT. A fumble late in the second quarter allowed UTEP to score a field from 26-yards out making it 14-13 at the half. 
  • The Mean Green took the opening possession of the second half 75-yards in 12 plays and scored a touchdown to extend their lead, 21-13.
  • UTEP Fumbled the ball at midfield with 5:49 left in the 3rd quarter. This allowed North Texas to take the ball 50 yard downfield in 4 plays to score on a 11-yard touchdown pass from Aune to Jake Roberts to make it 28-13 Mean Green.
  • North Texas had its final score of the game in the form of a 28-yard field goal to go on and get its first win of the season 31-13

What was said

After the game UTEP head coach Dana Dimel called today’s game “frustrating” as they were not able to finish drives, especially in the red zone and capitalize on those developed situations in order to take a commanding lead early in the game.

As for the way the second half developed Dimel said, “Once they took that eight point lead we had to become too one-dimensional. In the first half we were two-dimensional. They ate up the clock and took a two score lead that really took us out of our game.”

Overall, Dimel concluded, he felt that his team struggled to keep rhythm over the course of the night because of the way that the game developed.

What’s next

The Miners will now travel to Norman, Oklahoma to face the Oklahoma Sooners next Saturday. It will be the first game of the season for the Sooners. The game will be televised nationally on FOX and is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. MT kickoff. 


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