Ryan Metz passed for 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the night en route to a 27-17 win over the Incarnate Word Cardinals Saturday in the Sun Bowl.
It would be the Cardinals who would get on the board first in this one, using a 9 play 60 yard game opening drive to take an early 3-0 lead on the Miners just under four minutes into the contest.
The Miners wouldn't be able to do anything on their opening possession, punting after just one first down, but the defense would get things going as Kalon Beverly would intercept Trent Brittain's pass on the ensuing Incarnate Word possession, and would return it for the score to give UTEP a 7-3 lead.
The score would remain the same into the second period, before a 50 yard kick from Jay Mattox would up the Miner lead to 10-3 just about a minute into that second frame.
Neither the Miners nor Cardinals would get much going in the second, that is until UIW manufactured an 11 play 80 yard drive that ended with a 34 yard touchdown grab by Jamari Gilbert that would knot the game at 10 as the teams headed for the locker rooms.
A missed field goal and a punt were all that came of the first two possessions of the second half, but once again UIW would strike to take the lead on the Miners. The Cardinals' scoring drive took just 48 seconds off the clock, as they needed only 3 plays to march 80 yards to take the 17-10 lead.
The Miners would answer the call on their next drive, going 75 yards in 12 plays and 5:39 to knot the game again at 17. This time it would be Autrey Golden who would find paydirt, striking on a 10 yard reception from Metz.
The teams would remain tied as the contest headed into the fourth quarter, but that period would be owned by the Miners. UTEP would score a field goal on its first possession of the fourth, and would go 80 yards in three plays on its second possession, opening the lead to 27-17, and essentially ending the ball game.
Ryan Metz led the way going 20 of 28 for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. He was also the Miners' leading rusher, for 46 yards on 8 carries. Jeremiah Laufasa also had 8 carries and finished with 31 yards on the night.
Hayden Plinke was the team's leading receiver, hauling in 4 catches for 80 yards. Jaquan White also had a big night, tallying 7 catches for 73 yards and a score.
Trent Brittain finished the night 18 of 38 for 295 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions for Incarnate Word. Brittain also rushed 9 times for 63 yards, and Jamari Gibert led all receivers with 4 catches for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns.
UTEP finished the night with 16 first downs, to 15 for UIW, but was outgained 414 to 356 by the Cardinals. The Miners did however finish with a slight edge in time of possession and was also +3 in the turnover department.
The win improves the Miners to 2-2 on the season, while Incarnate Word falls to 2-2. The Miners will open Conference USA action a week from tonight, in the Sun Bowl again UTSA. Kickoff in that one is slated for 6:00 p.m. MT.
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