The UTEP Miners made several costly mistakes in their 27-20 loss at home Saturday against rival New Mexico State.
UTEP’s first very first drive of the game ended in a punt that was blocked by NMSU’s Christian Gibson and returned for a score by Izaiah Lottie.
The Miners also surrendered a fumble return for a touchdown late in the first half to fall behind 17-10 at the break.
Although the Miners rallied early in the third behind a Kai Locksley touchdown pass to Terry Juniel, they would be undone by another costly mistake.
Early in the fourth, NMSU quarterback Josh Adkins hit Royce Caldwell for what appeared to be a short gain, but Caldwell broke free from tacklers and raced to the end zone to give the Aggies a 24-17 lead.
The teams traded field goals the rest of the way as NMSU held on for its first win of the season, improving to 1-4.
UTEP mounted one final drive late in the fourth to try to tie the game. But NMSU’s Austin Perkins picked off Locksley’s pass on 4th and 26 to secure a victory for his side.
UTEP fell to 0-4 on the season and has now lost 16 straight games dating back to last year.
NMSU is off next week before hosting Liberty in two weeks’ time.
The Miners, meanwhile, will have to get ready for conference play with a road game at UTSA on the horizon next weekend.