Miners Shatter 20-Game Losing Streak in 34-26 Win Over Rice
El Paso, exhale.
UTEP's 707 days of a winless football program are over.
Despite a late spirited comeback by the Rice Owls (1-8, 0-6 C-USA), the Miners (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) held onto their early 34-3 lead to take the eventual 34-26 victory over Rice, thus snapping the longest active losing streak in FBS.
It took 20 games for the Miners to get their first win, over two years for a road win and 13 years to get a win in Rice Stadium, but they did it.
It also marked the first win for first-year head coach Dana Dimel, who is now 1-8 with the Miners and 31-47 overall as a head coach.
Their success started offensively, where they kickstarted the game hot, scoring four touchdowns in the first half. Their 27-3 lead at the half included out-gaining Rice 310-96 offensively and holding the Owls to just 23 yards on the ground.
UTEP junior quarterback Kai Locksley and junior running back Quadraiz Wadley led the way in the first half for UTEP, each scoring two touchdowns for the Miners in the first half. Locksley finished the first half completing 13-of-18 passes for 193 yards and had two rushing touchdowns. Wadley had eight carries for 52 yards and a pair of rushing scores too.
In the second half, the Owls showed some late resurgence, scoring three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth and outscored the Miners 23-7 to finish the game.
Rice had the ball with more than three minutes left in the game, but back-to-back sacks by A.J. Hotchkins and Trace Mascorro forced the Owls in a 4th-and-long situation, where Rice quarterback Wiley Green threw an interception to Justin Rodgers. The Miners simply ran out the clock and hung on for the win.
Locksley finished the day completing 13-of-21 passes for 193 yards, two rushing touchdowns and an interception. Wadley and Treyvon Hughes led the day on the ground, combining for 167 rushing yards.
UTEP out-gained Rice offensively 410-383, while holding them to converting just 3-of-13 third down conversions. While the Miners average over seven penalties a game, today they had just three. And, they broke even with Rice in turnovers, with each team having two.
Next up, the Miners will host Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Sun Bowl for an early 1:30 p.m. start.