UTEP wins a thriller against USM in Double OT

It took two overtimes but the Miners came out of Hattiesburg with a victory. Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe was on target again this week, completing 25 of his 43 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns including the game winning touchdown pass to WR Kris Adams.

UTEP was once again an underdog going into Saturday's game against USM, but that didn't matter as they managed to gain another win against another C-USA East foe. UTEP's surprising 40-37 win over USM in double overtime away from home, convinced many that this team is better than what their earlier 0-3 performances showed.

As the game got started, it looked liked UTEP might be in for another long night. USM blocked a UTEP punt early in the first quarter and USM quickly capatilized on this mistake by striking first with a 4 yard touchdown run by USM running back Damion Fletcher.

UTEP quickly came back to tie the game six minutes later with a 10 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Vittatoe to wide receiver Kris Adams. The lead would continue to change hands throughout the game. The Miners held a 17-14 point lead at halftime.

Both teams made numerous key mistakes in the game, USM failed three field goal attempts as well as having numerous holding and passing interference calls that cost them dearly, while UTEP had a failed on-side kick attempt in the third quarter that was recovered by USM, the Miners were also stopped on 4th and 1 on USM's 2 yard line that would have given the Miners a first down at the 1 yard line or a two posession lead late in the fourth quarter. The Golden Eagles were able to score a field goal in the last seconds of the game to tie the game up, 27-27.

In overtime, the two teams traded 4 yard scoring passes in the first overtime. The two teams switched sides for the second overtime and this time the Miners were able to stop the Golden Eagles at the Miners' 11 yard line. USM scored a field goal, giving them a 37-34 lead.

The Miners came back and reached USM's 6 yard line, and it looked as if it might head into a triple overtime, but on 3rd and goal from the 6 yard line, Vittatoe found wide receiver Kris Adams running into the end-zone and scoring the game winning touchdown for the Miners. The Miners went on to celebrate reaching for hands in USM's stadium.

UTEP, has now won two straight games, and they have won them over two of Conference USA's East Division preseason favorites.

The offense continues to improve nicely and last night there was plenty of evidence to prove it. Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe completed 25 of his 43 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns. Vittatoe, who is still not 100% healthy looked a lot more relaxed and not as wobbly as last week, he looked more at ease this week and he had a great night as he completed passes to 11 different receivers. Some might say that this was Vittatoe's best game yet in a Miner uniform.

USM's running back Damion Fletcher had a career night against UTEP, rushing for 262 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries.

UTEP's kicker Jose Martinez continues to have a solid season, he was 2 for 2 on field goal attempts from 37 and 34 yards, he also went 4 for 4 in extra point attempts.

In the past few weeks the Miners' receiving corps took a lot of flack for their earlier performances in the season, but last night they continued to improve tremendously and quieted many of their critics. Junior wide receiver Tufick Shadrawy had the best performance of his Miner career last night, as he caught 4 passes for 66 yards and one touchdown.

UTEP running backs Donald Buckram and Terrell Jackson gave better performances this week. Buckram rushed 12 times for 59 yards and one touchdown. Jackson rushed 12 times for 41 yards, he also caught 4 passes for 39 yards and one touchdown.

UTEP's defensive unit also continues to improve, although they did give up 541 yards to USM. The Miners were able to stop the Golden Eagles during key posessions that helped lead UTEP to victory.

The Miners will now return home and prepare this week for Saturday nights home game against Tulane.

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