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UTEP vs. Houston final: Cougars win 45-35

Turnovers were the key for Houston, as they moved back to .500 on the season by forcing four Miner interceptions.

Bob Levey

With 31 unanswered points during a 17:11 span of the game between the second and third quarters, the Houston Cougars established a 38-point lead that was too much for the UTEP Miners to make up, as UH earned a 45-35 win.

The Cougars got out in front early with a 49-yard touchdown run by Charles Sims and a 9-yard touchdown pass from David Piland to Deontay Greenberry to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. After a nine-yard touchdown run by UTEP's Nathan Jeffery cut the score to 14-7, the Miners went on a 31-point run that included two more Sims touchdowns and a interception returned 97 yards for a touchdown by D.J. Hayden.

After four interceptions by UTEP's Nick Lamaison, he was replaced and the Miners began a furious comeback with Jim Jones throwing one touchdown and Blaire Sullivan throwing two more. However, despite scoring 28 unanswered points, it wasn't enough to make up the large Houston lead.

With the win, the Cougars' record in Conference USA play improved to 3-1, while UTEP dropped to 1-4 in conference.

Box Score Hero: Sims finished the game with 119 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just 12 carries. He also caught two passes for 11 yards.

Rankings Ramifications: Neither team was ranked and a win over the UTEP Miners won't be enough to get the Cougars into the rankings.

But Did They Cover? The Cougars were favored by 14.5 points and were in line to cover, but a rally by UTEP erased a 38-point lead and UH wasn't able to cover, winning by only 10 points.

Next Week's Schedule: Houston will next travel to face East Carolina, while UTEP will try to bounce back at home against UCF.

This story was originally published on SB Nation.com.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.