ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At least, this one was semi-interesting for awhile.
The UTEP Miners broke a 14-14 first-quarter tie with 24 straight points and went on to defeat the University of New Mexico 38-20 on Saturday night at University Stadium.
Trevor Vittatoe passed for 264 yards and three touchdowns as the Miners moved their record to 4-1. The Lobos fell to 0-5 and now have lost 20 of their last 21 games, dating back to 2008.
UNM’s much-maligned special teams scored two touchdowns during Saturday’s homecoming game. Peter Gardner blocked a Miners’ 52-yard field-goal attempt, and Anthony Hooks scooped up the loose ball and ran it 45 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 14 with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
Myles Daughtry then ran a kickoff back 100 yards — UNM’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since 1998 — that accounted for the final points of the game.
For complete coverage of Saturday’s game, read Sunday’s Journal or check back online at www.abqjournal.com.
Trevor Vittatoe’s 48-yard pass to Kris Adams capped an 80-yard touchdown drive as UTEP took a 31-14 lead over New Mexico with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Lobos kept penetrating Miner territory all game but tried to punt away to pin the Miners deep. The Miners responded with drives of 96, 39 and 80 yards to keep UNM from capitalizing.
Long drive hurts Lobos.
Trevor Vittatoe’s 12-yard pass to Evan Davis with 1:13 left in the half capped a 96-yard drive to give UTEP a 24-14 lead that it took into the half.
The killer for the Lobos was Vittatoe’s 15-yard pass to Kris Adams, in which Lobo cornerback DeShawn Mills drew a personal foul penalty that moved the ball to the UNM 12.
The Miners had 247 yards of total offense, while UNM had 104 in the first half.
Lobo RB Demond Dennis played only one play in the first 30 minutes, getting a 3-yard run.
Miners creep ahead.
Dakota Warren’s 44-yard field goal with 14:41 left in the second quarter gave the Miners a 17-14 lead. UTEP drove 38 yards on 11 plays to regain the lead after UNM tied the game by blocking Warren’s 52-yard attempt and returning it for a TD late in the first quarter.
The Miners had 128 total yards to UNM’s 61 in the first 15 minutes.
Back to even.
Anthony Hooks returned a blocked field-goal attempt 45 yards for a touchdown as New Mexico tied UTEP 14-14 with 3:32 left in the first quarter.
UNM’s Peter Gardner blocked Dakota Warren’s 52-yard field goal attempt, and the ball bounced up conveniently to Hooks, who was running full-stride.
Warren had hit field goals of 50 and 57 yards last week against Memphis.
Of course, lead lost.
Joe Banyard’s 10-yard touchdown run with 9:53 left in the first quarter gave UTEP a 14-7 lead. Lobo quarterback Tarean Austin threw an interception that Miner right end Greg Watkins returned to the 10. He fumbled, but left end Adam Ayala recovered to give Utah a first-and-goal.
Last week, the Lobos went from 7-0 ahead to 14-7 behind in the span of 4 minutes, 32 seconds vs. UNLV. Today, UNM went from 7-0 ahead to 14-7 down in 4:25.
Of course, momentum lost.
UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe had all day to complete a 49-yard touchdown pass to WR Kris Adams as the Miners tied the Lobos at 7-7 with 10:50 left in the first quarter.
Marlon McClure’s 40-yard kickoff return gave UTEP good field position, and Vittatoe fired a perfect strike to Adams three plays into the drive.
UNM’s 7-0 lead lasted all of 87 seconds.
No crowd but a score.
UTEP brought nearly as many people to University Stadium as New Mexico, but Tarean Austin’s 4-yard run with 12:17 left in the first quarter gave the home team a 7-0 lead.
Lobo linebacker Joe Stoner stripped Miner RB Vernon Frazier of the football at the UTEP 27 to set up the offense, which capitalized early.