UTEP Knocks off Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, 34-33

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Miners were able to pick up their third win of the season Saturday night, knocking off the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 34-33 in Hattiesburg, MS.

On a wild night in college football, the Miners went on the road and came up with a big road win against Southern Miss. in Hattiesburg. The game started fast, as after the Miners went three and out, the Golden Eagles drove 66 yards in 3 plays and 58 seconds to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Miners answered with a field goal to make the score 7-3, and a couple drives later the Golden Eagles tacked on one of their own as the first quarter came to a close, making the score 10-3. But, it was UTEP who would own the second quarter.

Two straight rushing touchdowns by sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery gave the Miners a 17-10 lead, and while the Golden Eagles answered with one of their own, the Miners tacked on a field goal to take a 20-17 lead into the locker rooms.

Southern Miss tied the game early in the third quarter on a 36 yard field goal, making the score 20-20, where it would stay until three minutes into the final quarter.

This time, it was freshman quarterback Blaire Sullivan who capped an 80 yard drive with a 9 yard run to put the Miners back in front 27-20. But, the game was far from over. After punts by both teams on the next two drives, Southern Miss came up with a huge 81 yard touchdown pass to knot the score at 27 all with just over 6 minutes to play.

However, the Miners were able to answer right back as freshman running back Autrey Golden took the ensuing kickoff back 98 yards for the go ahead score. But again, the Golden Eagles responded, putting together an 86 yard scoring drive that brought the game back to 34-33.

Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson decided to go for two, and the Miner defense stood tall. Freshman defensive back Demarcus Kizzie came up with an interception on the conversion attempt, and the Miners salted away the clock for the one point victory.

The victory is the third for the Miners on the year, who improve to 3-8, and 2-5 in Conference USA action. They also pick up their first road victory since knocking off Tulane in New Orleans 44-7, on October 15th 2011. Southern Miss on the other hand, drops to 0-11 overall, and 0-7 in C-USA. This is the first time in the history of the program that the team has had 11 losses in a season.

Quarterback Blaire Sullivan led the way for the Miners, as he went 9 of 17 for 155 yards through the air, and also rushed for 98 and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Nathan Jeffery finished the night with 76 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries, and senior Mike Edwards was the leading receiver, finishing with 4 grabs for 89 yards.

The Miners will be back in action next Saturday against Rice as it will be senior night in the Sun Bowl. Make sure to get out there and support all those great seniors in their last game in a Miner uniform.

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