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UTEP Outlasts UTSA 52-49 in Five Overtime Thriller

The Miners started slow, but they answered the bell and went blow for blow with UTSA before outlasting the Runners 52-49 in five overtimes. 

Aaron Jones and Walter Dawn each finished with three touchdowns apiece, and the Miners and Roadrunners combined for 101 total points as UTEP escaped with a 52-49 victory Saturday night.

Following a Miner three and out to start the game, UTSA would put together a 13 play 70 yard drive to go up 7-0 midway through the first quarter. Another three and out would give the ball right back to the Runners and just a minute later Dalton Sturm would find Kerry Thomas Jr. for a 53 strike to go up 14-0.

UTEP would settle in on their third drive, needing just 6 plays and 2:54 to find paydirt as Aaron Jones would find the end zone for the first time on the night on a scamper from 41 out.

A missed field goal from 52 out on UTSA's ensuing possession would give the ball back to UTEP, and 6 plays later, Walter Dawn would score his first touchdown of the night on an 8 yard run tying the game at 14 with just under seven left in the first half.

The Roadrunners would salt away nearly the entirety of the remaining clock, using 16 plays to go 75 yards to take a 21-14 lead on a Sturm run just before the teams headed into the locker rooms.

UTSA would again find the end zone on their first possession of the second half, as Jalen Rhodes capped another 75 yard drive with a 25 yard to run to put the Runners back up 14 early in the third quarter.

The Miners weren't done yet though. They would score touchdowns on back to possessions, again by Jones and Dawn to get right back into it, tying the game at 28 with just over a minute left in the third.

Both defenses would step up from there, and neither team would allow a score the remainder of regulation, but things were just starting to get interesting as the game headed to overtime.

UTEP would start on defense first, and they would hold strong as UTSA would settle for a 43 yard field goal to take a 31-28 advantage. The Miners wouldn't be able to capitalize though, and would send a 32 yard field goal through to head into a second extra frame.

Both teams would score touchdowns in each of the next two overtime periods, including successful two point conversions by both teams in the third to keep the action going into a fourth overtime.

The Miners would pound their way down to the UTSA 2 yard line to start the fourth, but a mishap in the center-quarterback exchange put the ball on the deck and allowed the Runners to recover and begin their half of the OT only needing a field goal for the win.

Conservative play calling and sure tackling led to a third and long for UTSA and they would have to settle for a 42 yard attempt for the win. Victor Falcon would sail his kick wide left though, his third miss of the game, and the teams would head into a fifth extra period tied at 46.

Following a UTSA field goal in the first half of the period, UTEP would pound their way down to the 6 yard line setting up a huge 2 and 5. Ryan Metz would roll out to the right and find Warren Redix right on the boundary for the connection and the 52-49 victory.

Ryan Mets led the way for the Miners going 15 of 23 for 211 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Kavika Johnson also added a touchdown completing a 74 yarder on his only pass attempt of the game.

Aaron Jones rushed 21 times for 113 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground, and Walter Dawn added 38 yards on 4 rushes and had 2 touchdowns of his own on the ground.

Hayden Plinke led all Miner receivers with 4 catches for 84 yards. Walter Dawn had 1 catch for 74 yards and 1 touchdown, and Aaron Jones hauled in 4 catches for 56 yards and 2 more touchdowns.

Dalton Sturm finished the night 18 of 34 for 214 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Jarveon Williams rushed for 104 yards, Jalen Rhodes added another 84 and a score on the ground, and Sturm finished with 74 rushing yards of his own.

Kerry Thomas Jr. hauled in 5 grabs for 84 yards and two touchdowns to lead UTSA receivers, and Brady Jones had 3 catches for 60 yards and another score.

UTSA finished with 29 first downs and 525 total yards (278 rushing, 247 passing) compared to 19 first down and 444 total yards (159 rushing, 285 passing) for the Miners. The Roadrunners also controlled the time of possession 34:41 to 25:19. Both teams finished with 1 turnover.

The win improves the Miners to 2-5 (1-3) on the season, while UTSA drops to 3-4(2-2). The Miners will now return home to take Old Dominion next Saturday at 6:00 p.m. MT in the Sun Bowl.

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