Darden catches 4 TDs, North Texas beats UTEP 45-43

NCAA Football

DENTON, Texas (AP)Jaelon Darden had eight catches for 173 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to help North Texas beat UTEP 45-43 on Friday night.

On Darden’s fourth TD reception, the 2020 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist tied Casey Fitzgerald (2005-08) for the North Texas program record with 229 career receptions as he gave the Mean Green (4-5, 3-4 Conference USA) a 45-28 lead with 9:58 to go in the fourth quarter. He broke Fitzgerald’s record with a minus-2-yard grab with 3:33 to go.

Darden has 19 touchdown receptions – four more than any other player in the nation – in nine games this season.

The Miners (3-5, 0-4) closed the gap with a pair of touchdowns, including a two-point conversion. But UTEP needed to recover an onside kick with 26 seconds to go and Deonte Simpson secured it for the Mean Green to allow them to run out the clock for the win.

Austin Aune passed for 302 yards and a career-high five TDs for North Texas. Simpson added 103 yards receiving and a TD, and Tre Siggers ran for 94 yards.

Calvin Brownholtz threw for 196 yards with two TD passes and four interceptions and ran for 114 yards and two TDs for the Miners. Deion Hankins added 99 yards rushing and two TD runs and Jacob Cowing caught five passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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