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(Saturday, October 27)
Final Score: Houston 45, Texas-El Paso 35
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Charles Sims turned 12 carries into 119 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Houston Cougars past the Texas-El Paso Miners for a 45-35 win in a Conference USA shootout at Robertson Stadium.
Houston (4-4, 3-1 C-USA) is now 7-0 in games Sims surpasses the 100-yard rushing mark. David Piland went 16-of-30 for 174 yards and two touchdowns while Larry McDuffey tallied three receptions for 61 yards and a score. The Cougars' defensive unit was charged by D.J. Hayden, who contributed two interceptions and a defensive touchdown. Houston forced six total turnovers as a team and recorded five sacks.
The Miners (2-7, 1-4) suffered their fifth loss in their last six outings and seventh straight road defeat as Nick Lamaison was picked off four times and managed only 76 yards on 8-of-18 passing. Blair Sullivan and Carson Meger both saw action under center for UTEP as well. Sullivan went 6-of-10 for 105 yards and two touchdowns while Meger completed 5-of-8 attempts for 42 yards. Mike Edwards grabbed a team-high six catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns while Jordan Leslie made four receptions for 95 yards and a score. Nathan Jeffery had a productive game on the ground with 137 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries.
Sims gave the Cougars a 7-0 lead with just under six minutes left in the first frame as he broke away for a 43-yard touchdown run.
Later in the quarter, Piland completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Deontay Greenberry.
UTEP found the end zone for the first time in the opening minute of the second quarter as Jeffery rushed nine yards up the middle for a touchdown.
Houston took complete control as Piland completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to McDuffey, Hayden returned an interception 97 yards for a score, and Sims dashed six-yards into the end zone before the intermission. The Cougars' run put them up, 35-7 at halftime.
Houston continued to roll in the second half as Sims rushed for his third touchdown and Matt Hogan made a 24-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the third stanza.
The Miners began to rally with just under six minutes left in the third quarter when Leslie scored on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Jim Jones.
UTEP added another score in the opening seconds of the fourth frame when Jeffery punched it in from two yards out. Sullivan completed a pair of touchdown passes to Edwards to make it a 10-point game, but the Miners were unable to overcome the early deficit.
Houston did not waste time putting points on the board as it held possession for only 21:01.
10/27 21:26:23 ET
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