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Miners unable to complete win against Rice

UTEP football (4-6, 2-4 Conference USA) lost to Rice University (5-4, 3-2 C-USA), 37-30, Thursday Nov. 3. Photo courtesy of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP football (4-6, 2-4 Conference USA) traveled to Houston to meet Rice University (5-4, 3-2 C-USA) Thursday, Nov. 3. The Miners lost to Rice 37-30 in a last-minute comeback by the Rice Owls. 

The Miners lost the coin toss but were able to get on the board first with a rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Deion Hankins; Miners on top 7-0 with 11:41 left in the first quarter. Rice made a quick comeback with two back-to-back scoring plays. The first one resulted in a field goal and the second one being a touchdown by graduate student running back Uriah West. Rice led UTEP with a three-point advantage at the end of the first quarter. 

Going into the second quarter, it was a back-and-forth battle between the Owls and the Miners. UTEP was able to tie the game in the second quarter with a 46-yard field goal by senior kicker Gavin Baechle, who now has 20 consecutive field goals made. Rice answered back with a two-yard rushing touchdown by junior quarterback Tj McMahon. The Miners once again tied the game after an interception by freshman cornerback Ilijah Johnson which led to a seven-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Gavin Hardison to senior fullback James Tupou. 

Going into the end of the second quarter Rice regained the lead with a successful 21-yard field goal try by graduate student Christian VanSickle. At the half, the score was 20-17. 

In the third quarter, Hardison was injured on a play which sent in Miners junior quarterback Calvin Brownholtz with 1:14 left in the third. Baechle made a 51-yard field goal to give the lead to UTEP with 3:55 left in the third. A few minutes later, Rice answered with a 27-yard touchdown by junior tight end Jack Bradley. 

Brownholtz tied the game for the Miners with a 25-yard run with 11:17 left in the fourth quarter. The next two plays was a battle of the kickers as VanSickle made a 38-yard field goal to give the Owls the advantage. After an incomplete pass in the endzone to sophomore wide receiver Tyrin Smith, Baechle connected on a 32-yard field goal to tie the game, 30-30 

Senior defensive end Jadrian Taylor was able to knock down two of McMahon’s passes, but McMahon was able to complete a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior Bradley Rozner which helped give Rice the lead, 37-30 with 0:25 seconds left in the game. UTEP had the ball in the final seconds of the fourth but were unable to make a play. 

The final score was 37-30. 

Brownholtz finished the game completing 7-of-10 passes for 56 yards and rushed eight times for 64 yards. Hardison completed 8-for-18 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Smith was the top receiver for the Miners as he recorded six catches for 79 yards. 

On the defensive side junior defensive end Praise Amaewhule recorded his second sack of the season. Senior linebacker Tyrice Knight (12) and junior linebacker Cal Wallerstedt (10) recorded double-digit tackles. 

After this loss, the Miners will need to win the last two games in order to become bowl eligible. UTEP will be back in action at 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19 to host Florida International University in the final home game at the Sun Bowl Stadium for senior day. 

All stats for UTEP courtesy of UTEP Athletics, 

All stats for Rice courtesy of Rice Athletics, 

Katrina Villarreal is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Katrina Villarreal
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
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Miners unable to complete win against Rice