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UTEP Moves to 5-3 With 35-14 Dispatch of Southern Miss.

The Miners have won three straight for the first time since posting four straight victories back in 2010.

Alex Nicolas -

UTEP came up with 5 turnovers, including two returned for scores in the fourth to blow things open and run away from the Golden Eagles for the 35-14 victory.

The Miners would open the game with a fumble just 1:20 in, but a recurring theme would begin as the defense came up with a big three and out, quickly giving the offense another crack at getting on the board.

They did just that with a 9 play 87 yard drive that was capped off by a 1 yard grab by Katrae Ford, the first of his career.

The UTEP defense would force five more punts on the ensuing five possessions, and would finish off the half by turning USM over on downs. Offensively, the Miners would struggle to move the ball for the rest of the half, but they'd still enjoy a 7-0 lead at the break.

Southern Miss didn't waste any time evening things up out of the locker room, as they took the ball 75 yards in 6 plays to tie the game 7. That drive was capped by a 55 yard catch and score by Casey Martin.

It would only take the Miners 12 seconds to reclaim their lead as Autrey Golden returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to the house putting UTEP back on top 14-7 with 11:42 to play.

A Jameill Showers ten yard dash would put the Miners up 21-7 with over 4 to play in the third, but the Golden Eagles' special teams would get them right back in the game following a 78 yard scoop and score on a blocked field.

Neither offense would do much in the fourth, but the UTEP defense would come up with three huge turnovers, including two that were returned for touchdowns as they sealed the win 35-14.

UTEP was led by Jameill Showers who finished 10 of 23 for 127 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 9 yards and a score on 8 attempts.

Nathan Jeffery led the Miners in rushing, finishing with 57 yards on 12 carries. Aaron Jones added another 38 yards on 19 attempts. Jones was also the teams' leading receiver with 3 grabs for 46 yards. No other Miner finished with multiple catches, but 7 others caught a pass.

The Golden Eagles' Cole Weeks finished 20 of 46 for 307 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Jalen Richard finished with 33 yards on 6 carries, and Casey Martin finished with 6 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.

As a team, the Miners finished with just 234 total yards of offense, compared to 402 for the Golden Eagles. They also managed just 15 first downs to 17 for Southern Miss, but came away with 5 turnovers while giving up only 1.

Those turnovers were clearly the difference in the game, as the Miners' offense just never seemed to find any type of rhythm. For the second week in a row though, the defense has shown up, and performed at an extremely high level.

With the win, the Miners improve to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA play. Up next, they'll hit the road to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Kickoff for that game is slated for 2:00 p.m. MT.

Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for coverage of all things UTEP sports. Also, make sure to on Twitter and as always don't forget to like our Facebook Page. Picks Up, and Go Miners!