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North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden (1) runs the balls for a touchdown during the second quarter of their game against UTEP on Saturday at Apogee Stadium in Denton.

Jaelon Darden has suddenly found himself in the spotlight.

North Texas’ junior slot receiver has always been a productive player for the Mean Green. He’s taken on a larger role as Mason Fine’s go-to wide receiver this fall and has come through over and over.

The Mean Green’s 52-26 win over UTEP on Saturday at Apogee Stadium was just the latest example.

Darden caught six passes for 60 yards and scored three touchdowns.

“Darden is a special player,” UNT coach Seth Littrell said.

“We knew that as soon as he stepped on campus. He is one of the hardest workers I know. He catches anything in the vicinity. His route running is amazing. Our chemistry has been there from the start. I am proud of him.”

Darden continued to move up on the program’s career leaders list with his performance against UTEP. He entered the game tied for eighth in program history with 15 receiving touchdowns in his career.

Darden pushed his total to 18 and moved into seventh place in program history past John Love, who finished with 17 from 1965-66.

Darden also moved into the top 10 in career catches.

He now has 139, moving him into ninth place past Troy Redwine and Marvin Walker.

Redwine caught 138 passes from 1992-96, while Walker had 137 from 1979-82.

Darden’s three touchdown catches also pushed him past the 100-point mark in his career. He came into the game with 98 points.

Darden credited his big day largely to the chemistry he has found with Fine.

“We are very confident right now with where we are in the passing game,” Darden said.

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

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