HUNTSVILLE, Texas - The UTEP Miners are in a fight to keep their bowl eligibility hopes alive.
That was evident Wednesday night in Huntsville, TX, after the Miners pulled off a 37-34 win over the Sam Houston Bearkats.
It was a field goal late in the 4th quarter by UTEP kicker Buzz Flabiano that would help secure the victory for the Miners.
UTEP has to win all 4 of their remaining games if they want to become bowl eligible.
That first win would have to come against the Sam Houston Bearkats.
The Bearkats would strike first in the first quarter following a 28-yard touchdown run by Sam Houston running back John Gentry.
Sam Houston would take the early lead, 7-0.
The UTEP offense would put together a great drive on the ensuing possession, and the Miners would find themselves at Sam Houston's 2-yard line as the first quarter would come to a close.
In the first play of the second quarter, UTEP would pick up their first points of the game courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run by UTEP running back Deion Hankins.
That would tie the game at 7.
Sam Houston would connect on a field goal on their next possession, but a running into the kicker penalty against UTEP would keep the Bearkats' offense on the field to continue the drive.
Sam Houston would capitalize on UTEP's penalty as quarterback Keegan Shoemaker would connect with Gentry on a 18 yard touchdown pass.
Sam Houston would retake the lead, 14-7.
UTEP would respond on the ensuing possession running 12 plays and capping off the drive with a 23-yard field goal from kicker Buzz Flabiano.
UTEP would cut into Sam Houston's lead, 14-10.
However, with more than 2 minutes left in the second quarter, the Bearkats would march down the field and find the end zone for the the third time of the game.
Shoemaker would find Malik Phillips on a 6 yard touchdown pass.
Sam Houston would extend their lead, 21-10.
UTEP had 45 seconds to work with before halftime, and the Miners would fight their way down the field and connect on a 43-yard Flabiano field goal to end the half.
Sam Houston would take an 8 point lead into the half, 21-13.
The UTEP offense would go three-and-out to start the third quarter.
Sam Houston wouldn't waste any time putting up points on the board getting a field goal on their first possession of the second half.
Sam Houston would extend their lead, 24-13.
The Miners offense could not get anything going in the third quarter.
Meantime, the Bearkats would tack on another field goal in the third quarter to go up 27-13.
On the ensuing possession UTEP's offense would finally find a spark.
The run game for the Miners would start to click with Hankins and Mike Franklin putting some good runs together.
Franklin would cap off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Sam Houston's lead was cut back to seven, 27-20 as the third quarter would come to a close.
UTEP's offense would continue to find success on their next possession in the 4th quarter.
UTEP quarterback Cade McConnell would find wide receiver Kelly Akharaiyi on a 25-yard touchdown pass.
The game was once again tied, 27 all.
UTEP's defense would come up big after James Neal would intercept a pass by Shoemaker and take it all the way back to Sam Houston's one-yard line.
UTEP's Kevin Hurley would punch it into the end zone from the one-yard line with a quarterback sneak.
UTEP would take their first lead of the game, 34-27.
Sam Houston's defense would have a big play of their own after they intercepted a pass from McConnell.
The Bearkats would take advantage of the short field, and find the end zone again following a 4-yard touchdown run from Noah Smith.
The game was tied at 34.
UTEP's offense would have 1:05 to try and march down the field and kick a game winning field goal.
A stellar pass from McConnell to wide receiver Jeremiah Ballard would get UTEP in field goal range.
Two plays later, Flabiano would connect on a 32 yard field goal to break the deadlock, 37-34 leaving only 4 seconds left on the clock for Sam Houston.
With the win the Miners improve to 3-6 on the season, 2-3 in conference play.
The Miners keep their bowl hopes alive as they must now win their remaining three games of the season.
UTEP's next game will be back at the Sun Bowl November 4 when the Miners host Western Kentucky.