UAB Scares Up 38-33 Halloween Win Over UTEP
Oct. 31, 2009
Joe Webb passed and ran for a touchdown and added a 14-yard reception for a score as UAB beat UTEP, 38-33, on Halloween afternoon in the Sun Bowl on Saturday.
It marked the second time in five years that the Blazers came into the Sun Bowl and stunned the Miners. In 2005, UAB knocked off a UTEP team that was 8-1 and ranked in the top-25 of both polls by the score of 35-23.
On Saturday, UTEP (3-5, 2-2 C-USA) couldn't score enough points to go with 585 yards of offense, and couldn't slow UAB (3-5, 3-2 C-USA), which averaged 8.8 yards per play.
"I'm really disappointed in this game," UTEP coach Mike Price said. "We played poorly. We had everything to play for. We had all the motivation in the world."
The Miners entered the game controlling their own destiny in the Conference USA West Division race, but now need to win three of their last four games to secure bowl eligibility.
"We're an inconsistent team right now," Price said. "We need to coach them up and get the right guys in there. Maybe we're not playing the right guys, I don't know."
In the end, the Miners dug a hole that they simply couldn't climb out of, falling behind 21-3 late in the second quarter.
Trailing 28-10, UTEP gave itself a fighting chance to win when Trevor Vittatoe completed a 13-yard pass to Jonny Moore and Moore lateraled it to Donald Buckram for a 30-yard TD as time ran out in the first half.
After the teams traded field goals in the third quarter, UAB put the game away on a six-yard pass from Webb to Mario Wright early in the final period - completing an 11-play, 76-yard drive.
The Miners trailed 38-20, but nearly staged a dramatic fourth quarter comeback for the second straight game. A pair of touchdown drives in the final 4:05 closed the gap to 38-33 with a little over a minute remaining. But Logan Barrett's onside kick attempt was recovered by the Blazers.
Vittatoe completed 23 of 44 passes for 397 yards for UTEP, but threw two first-half interceptions in opponent territory for the second game in a row.
Webb finished with 163 yards rushing and 127 passing to lead UAB.
It was a frustrating day for the UTEP offense, whose struggles were epitomized by a first quarter in which it had the ball for over 12 minutes and scored no points.
UTEP will be on the road for three straight games starting next Saturday at Tulane. The game will be televised in El Paso on the CW Network, with kickoff slated for 1:30 p.m. MT.