Jackson's Late Burst Propels UTEP Past New Mexico, 10-6
Sept. 1, 2007
Terrell Jackson rushed for 70 yards - including the go-ahead touchdown with 13:08 remaining in the fourth quarter - propelling UTEP to a 10-6 victory over New Mexico on Saturday night in the Sun Bowl.
The Miners beat their long-time rivals in El Paso for the third straight time, avenging last season's 26-13 loss in Albuquerque in the process. The crowd of 43,326 was the second-largest for a UTEP-New Mexico game in the Sun Bowl.
"Both teams showed a lot of character and left it all out on the field," UTEP coach Mike Price said. "It was the most exciting 10-6 game I've ever coached in."
The Miners won a game when scoring 10 points or less for the first time since 1975, and had their lowest total offensive output in a victory in 16 years.
"Our young guys made mistakes, but we worked hard," Price said. "And I thought the kicking game might have been the difference in the game."
After the teams traded field goals in the first half, John Sullivan gave New Mexico the lead by connecting on a 41-yarder with 14:29 remaining in the fourth quarter before Jackson put the Miners ahead to stay on a 36-yard run.
"Our linemen made a good block, a hole opened up, and I tried to run as fast as possible," Jackson said.
But the story of the game was the UTEP defense keeping the Lobos out of the end zone, despite Rodney Ferguson rushing 32 times for 128 yards.
Price said the Miners made Ferguson work for his yards. "I think he will probably be one sore young man tomorrow, and he'll probably be in the whirlpool," he noted.
"I know what this team is capable of," said linebacker Jeremy Jones, one of three Miners with double-digit tackles (10). "It's an arrogance and a swagger that we have. The sky is the limit ... this UTEP defense is young and hungry and ready to go."
UTEP freshman quarterback Trevor Vittatoe made his first career start, completing six of 21 passes for 59 yards.
\"I was really rusty," Vittatoe said. "That's not where I want to be as a quarterback, but at least I got the first game jitters out of my system."
Donovan Porterie completed 25 of 39 passes for 190 yards for the Lobos.
UTEP will play at Texas Tech next Saturday for the first time since 1998. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. MST.
"We'll be a better team next week because of this game," Price said.
The Miners improved to 56-29-4 in home openers, including 30-16-3 in season openers in El Paso ... UTEP moved to 14-5 under head coach Mike Price in the Sun Bowl, with tonight's triumph snapping a two-game home losing streak ... tonight's game marked the fifth time in school history that the Miners opened the season against New Mexico. The Miners improved to 3-2 when christening the campaign against the Lobos, including 3-0 when doing so in the Sun Bowl ... Quintin Demps made a career-high 17 tackles. His previous best was 13 against Rice on Oct. 29, 2005 ... Adam Vincent recorded 16 tackles to establish a career best ... the attendance of 43,326 marked the school-record third straight year that the crowd for the home opener topped 40,000. The previous standard was two consecutive seasons (1991-92) ... the Miners' offense came to life in the final period, registering 99 yards on 16 plays. UTEP had managed 96 yards on 34 plays through the first three quarters ... Terrell Jackson's 36-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter was a career long. His previous best was a nine-yard run when playing for Oregon. He finished with 70 yards on 11 carries ... Trevor Vittatoe became the first freshman quarterback since 1981 and just the second in program history to start the season opener ... junior college transfer Jose Martinez nailed a 51-yard field goal in his first attempt as a Miner. The last UTEP player whose first career field goal was longer than 51 yards was Bronco Belichesky, who made a 52-yard field goal versus Pacific on Sept. 15, 1973 ... the contest marked the first time in the Mike Price era, and the initial time since 2002 that UTEP opened the year at home.