Houston Knocks Off UTEP in an Offensive Thriller
When Houston and UTEP meet every year you never know what to expect. This trend continued as the 2 teams met for a rare Thursday night game at the Sun Bowl. Houston won the game 49-42 in front of a rather thin crowd of 24,111. It's a shame that more people didn't show up becasue they missed remarkable offensive performances by both squads as they combined for 1,248 total yards.
Things looked great for the Miners as they took a 14-0 first quarter lead over
the Cougars. A couple of UTEP turnovers and Houston's offense took full advantage as they scored 21 unanswered points in the final 2:31 of the 2nd quarter.
UTEP was able to tie the game at 21 just before halftime when Nick Lamaison connected with Mike Edwards on a 21 yard TD. Things really got interesting in the 2nd half as both teams kept trading scores, the Cougars looked to be pulling away when they went up 38-28 with 3:08 left in the 3rd quarter.
UTEP QB Nick Lamaison remained poised despite missing the previous 2 games due to injury. Between his skillful play and the Miners dominant ground game led by Joe Banyard, UTEP was able to pull within 3 points going into the 4th quarter.
Houston seemed shocked and realized that UTEP was there to play as the 17 point favorites held on to a slim 41-35 lead with 12:58 to go in the contest. Despite giving up countless yards in the 2nd half the Miners were holding their own and proving to everyone that they could play with a premiere oponent.
In the end the Miners came close to tying the game as they marched down the field to the 23 yard line. The famous quote is that "close counts for horseshoes and hand granades", as Miners QB Nick Lamison attempted to complete the game tying pass to WR Mike Davis with 1:05 reaming on 4th down. The throw was low and Davis could not hall it in and Houston prevailed going to 5-0 on the season.
You have to give UTEP credit as they hung in there with a superior offensive team with their Heisman Trophy candidate QB Case Keenum. The Miners are going to miss Keenum like a whole in their heads as he has thrown for a wopping 1,882 yards against them in 5 starts.
UTEP coach Mike Price was dissapointed following the loss talking about how they let the game slip away. He mentioned that he felt like Santa Clause giving up all of the yardage and scores to the Cougars.
There is no shame in losing to a team that is a dominant offensive force like Houston. The Miners will learn from this loss and take some things from it going into their bye. The goal for the remainder of the season will be to win these close games, it feels a lot better to learn from wins than losses.