It was oh, so close.
UTEP nearly stunned a North Texas team that was favored by 26 entering the night, but the Mean Green held on for a 27-24 victory, dropping the Miners to 0-6 on the year.
The Miners fell behind 27-17 in the fourth, but almost staged a miraculous rally in the final six minutes.
UTEP’s Ryan Metz found Keynan Foster for a 67-yard touchdown late in the fourth to cut it to a 27-24 game.
The Miners would then get the ball back with a chance to tie the game on a field goal or take the lead with a touchdown.
They found themselves facing a fourth and long with everything on the line. Metz dropped back scanning the field and found David Lucero open across the middle, but the ball just slipped through Lucero’s fingertips, securing a victory for North Texas, which improved to 5-1 this season.
‘We showed them much more than they expected,” said UTEP linebacker Jamar Smith. “And anybody else we’re going against, they should expect the same thing.”
UTEP has now lost its last three games by single digits after suffering three blowout losses to open the season.
“Again, we’re going to sit there and say, gosh dang, this is a game we should have won,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “And it’s against a team that went through this division pretty handily last year.”
Metz completed 16 of 33 passes for 313 yards to go with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for a score filling in for Kai Locksley, who suffered a sprained ankle in UTEP’s loss last week against UTSA.
Metz was asked after the game if he thought his performance would ignite a battle for the starting spot.
“I knew that question was gonna come up,” he said. “Honestly, I’m just gonna take it the same way that I do each and every week.”
UTEP is off this week and will return to the field in two weeks’ time to take on Louisiana Tech.
The Miners have now lost 18 games in a row dating back to last season.