EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Nick Smith sprinted 20 yards to score in the fourth quarter to give North Texas just enough cushion to hold off UTEP 27-24 on Saturday night.
Smith's touchdown gave the Mean Green a 27-17 lead with 5:46 left to play. The Miners responded two plays later when Ryan Metz, in his first start for UTEP, hit Keynan Foster in stride for a 67-yard scoring strike to trail 27-24.
UTEP, which has lost 18 consecutive games, got the ball back with 2:45 remaining but the Mean Green defense stiffened when Bryce English and E.J. Ejiya sacked Metz, making it fourth-and-17 on UTEP's 24. The Miners went for it, but Metz's pass fell incomplete.
Mason Fine threw for 294 yards and two scores as North Texas (5-1,1-1 Conference USA) bounced back after losing 29-27 to Louisiana Tech last week. Rico Bussey Jr. hauled in eight passes for 117 yards and a score and Jaelon Darden caught five for 91 yards and a TD.
Metz threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for the Miners (0-6, 0-2). Warren Redix caught seven passes for 131 yards.