(Saturday, October 3rd)
Final Score: UTEP 58, (12) Houston 41
El Paso, TX (Sports Network) - Donald Buckram ran for 262 yards and four scores -- all in the second half -- as Texas El-Paso stunned 12th-ranked Houston, 58-41, in the Conference USA opener for both schools.
Trevor Vittatoe threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-30 passing for UTEP (2-3, 1-0 C-USA), which had averaged a little more than 17 points in its previous four games this season.
Roddray Walker added a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown for the Miners in a wild fourth quarter, in which each team scored 21 points.
Case Keenum completed 51-of-76 passes for 536 yards and five touchdowns, but Houston (3-1, 0-1) suffered its first loss of the season after notching wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
James Cleveland caught 14 passes for 147 yards and two scores for the Cougars, who amassed 664 total yards in the setback.
The game was tied, 17-17, at halftime, and UTEP used a strong third quarter to gain an advantage.
The Miners scored on their opening possession of the frame, going 71 yards in seven plays. Buckram capped the drive with three consecutive runs, the last an eight-yard dash into the end zone.
Jordan Mannisto connected on a 39-yard field goal for Houston with 6:11 left in the quarter, but UTEP responded immediately. On the first play of the ensuing possession, Vittatoe connected with Jeff Moturi for a 74-yard touchdown. The point-after attempt was blocked, leaving the Miners' lead at 30-20.
UTEP added another score with 39 seconds left in the quarter, on a 22-yard run up the middle from Buckram, pushing the hosts lead to 17 points.
That advantage held up after a frenzied fourth quarter in which almost every drive somehow ended in points.
Houston bridged the final two quarters with a seven-play, 73-yard drive that Keenum ended with an 18-yard strike to Cleveland on a crossing route. UTEP, though, took its next touch 62 yards for a score, as Buckram polished the drive off with two runs. His eight-yard TD with 8:21 left made it a 44-27 game.
Keenum's six-yard pass to Tyron Carrier went for a TD a little more than two minutes later, but the Cougars' failed onside kick gave UTEP the ball at the Houston 42. Buckram then ran for 15 yards before getting into the end zone on a 27-yard dash with 5:38 to play.
Houston advanced to the UTEP 19 on its next drive before Walker picked up a fumble and ran it back 70 yards, ballooning the Miners' lead to 58-34. Keenum had a 19-yard passing TD to Cleveland, and UTEP ran out the clock from there.
Keenum's 19-yard strike to Bryce Beall opened the scoring, and Mannisto's 31- yarder made it a 10-0 game with 7:27 left in the first. Logan Barrett connected on a 22-yard field goal on UTEP's ensuing drive, and the Miners trailed by seven going into the second.
UTEP evened the score nearly five minutes into the new quarter when Tufick Shadrawy caught a four-yard pass from Vittatoe, though Houston answered with another score -- Keenum's seven-yard pass to L.J. Castile.
The Miners' Jason Williams scored on a five-yard run with three minutes left, and it was a tie game at the break.
UTEP defeated a top-25 opponent for the first time since a 14-3 victory over no. 25 BYU in the Sun Bowl on November 1, 1997...The Cougars have recorded at least 400 yards of total offense in 17 consecutive games...UTEP accumulated 581 total yards...Keenum set a school record for completions (51) and tied David Klingler's school record for pass attempts (76). His 536 passing yards were the most by a Houston player since Klingler threw for 613 yards against Rice on November 28, 1992...Beall led Houston in rushing with 68 yards, while Carrier had 11 catches for 115 yards...Moturi finished with six catches for 127 yards for UTEP, and Kris Adams ended with four catches for 88 yards.
10/04 02:35:47 ET