Jaelon Darden

North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden jumps over a host of Middle Tennessee defenders during the Mean Green’s win over the Blue Raiders on Saturday at Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden continued to move up on the Mean Green’s list for career receptions during UNT’s 52-35 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday at Floyd Stadium.

Darden came into the game with 192 career catches and vaulted past Carlos Harris for second on UNT’s all-time leaders list after grabbing 10 passes for 204 and a touchdown.

Harris caught 197 passes during his time with the Mean Green that spanned from 2012-15.

Darden now is chasing UNT Hall of Famer Casey Fitzgerald, who holds UNT’s career record of 229 catches. Fitzgerald played for UNT from 2005-08.

Darden caught his 200th career pass early in the second half.

“Darden had made a lot of big plays for us,” UNT coach Seth Littrell said. “You never know the way teams are going to play him, bracketing him or doubling him. They didn’t do that tonight.”

That decision left MTSU’s defensive backs facing Darden in one-on-one situations. Darden has won those battles throughout the season.

He came into the night with nine touchdown catches on the season and continued to shine in UNT’s win over the Blue Raiders.

UNT comes up with fourth-down stop

UNT came up with a huge defensive play early in the first quarter.

MTSU running back Chaton Mobley broke free for a 63-yard run to the Mean Green’s 6-yard line.

Asher O’Hara’s pass to Yusuf Ali fell incomplete on third-and-goal from the 1. Linebacker Tyreke Davis and defensive tackle Dion Novil stopped O’Hara for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Briefly …

  • UNT got its running game back on track against MTSU after a tough outing last week in a loss to Charlotte. The 49ers held the Mean Green to 97 rushing yards on 27 carries, an average of 3.6 yards per attempt.

The Mean Green rushed for 462 yards against the Blue Raiders. MTSU came into the day allowing 201.5 rushing yards per game.

  • UNT running back Tre Siggers cleared the 1,000-yard mark in career rushing yards in the first half. He entered the game with 968 yards and finished with 101 yards.
  • UNT was without two of its top offensive players for the second straight week. Running back Oscar Adaway missed his third straight game, while wide receiver Jyaire Shorter was out for the second straight week.

Both were injured earlier in the season. Adaway has rushed for 222 yards, while Siggers has four catches for 97 yards.

  • UNT cornerback Jordan Rucker has opted out of the season.

A school spokesman confirmed the redshirt sophomore’s decision late Friday night.

The former Ryan standout played in two games since arriving in the summer as a transfer from Purdue. He finished with seven tackles in two games and had not played since UNT’s loss to SMU in the second game of the season.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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