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Miners fall to No. 16 UTSA, 44-23

UTEP Athletics

GAME FINAL: No. 16 UTSA scored on all eight possessions of the game on the way to a 44-23 victory over UTEP in front of a Saturday night Sun Bowl crowd of 31,658, the second highest for a Conference USA game since 2010.

The Miners fall to 6-3 on the season, while the Roadrunners at 9-0 are now among just four undefeated teams in FBS football.

Frank Harris passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more scores in UTSA's victory in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2.

The Roadrunners (9-0, 4-0 C-USA) pushed their school-record win streak to nine games and are one of four undefeated FBS teams. UTSA has won five in a row against UTEP (6-3, 3-2).

UTSA wasted no time in taking control, as running back Sincere McCormick darted through a big hole on the left side for a 75-yard touchdown run on the second play after the opening kickoff.

McCormick finished with 169 yards on 21 carries.

Harris and McCormick helped push all the right buttons for the Roadrunners, who scored all six times they had the ball in the first half.

The Miners, who were 6-0 at home dating to the 2019 season, lost for the second straight week and the first time at home this year. They were led by quarterback Gavin Hardison, who was 13-of-30 passing for 247 yards and three scores.

As a result of the win over UTEP, the No. 16 Roadrunners could move up another couple of spots this week in the polls, as four teams ahead of UTSA in the AP Top 25 poll lost — including previously unbeaten Michigan State and Wake Forest.

THE TAKEAWAY

UTSA: The Roadrunners go downhill on offense. One of the matchups to watch was the UTSA offensive line against a solid UTEP defense, which was ranked No. 8 in the nation overall and No. 11 against the run. But that showdown never materialized, as the Roadrunners led by 21 at halftime and McCormick, who averages 111 yards per game, already had 138 at the break.

UTEP: Now with two C-USA losses, UTEP saw its West Division title hopes fade. UTEP is two games behind UTSA and one behind UAB with three games left. The Miners were plagued by some of the same mistakes that always seem to haunt them in big games — an offside penalty that kept a UTSA drive alive and led to a field goal, a 24-yard punt, a missed extra point, and a missed field goal. UTEP, however, is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014.

UP NEXT

UTEP: The Miners will try to boost their bowl resume next Saturday at North Texas (3-6, 2-3 C-USA).

UTSA: The Roadrunners host Southern Miss on Nov. 13. Southern Miss (1-8, 0-5) lost Saturday to North Texas.

HALFTIME REPORT: EL PASO, Texas - The UTEP Miners came out before a crowd of 30,000-plus Saturday with a lot of juice. But with how the first half vs. UTSA went, it may have been too much.

UTSA totaled 348 yards of total offense in the first half, and UTEP kick Gavin Baechle missed two field and an extra point as the Roadrunners raced out to a 30-9 halftime edge. .

The crowd at the Sun Bowl is the best it's been in years, but from the opening kick they were silenced by the undefeated Roadrunners.

UTSA RB Sincere McCormick went up the middle for a 75-yard Touchdown on the second play from scrimmage, and UTSA eventually got out to a 13-0 lead.

But the Miners got on the board midway through the first quarter, when Gavin Hardison stepped up to hit WR Tyrin Smith for 35-yard TD on 3rd down. Bachele's missed extra point made it 13-6.

UTSA then followed a field goal with consecutive TD's to make it 30-6 before Baechle drilled a 50-yarder before the half.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.

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