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Sunday, October 1, 2023


Cougars topple Miners 42-37

Houston recorded the biggest comeback win in school history in its last regular season home game to stay undefeated at Robertson Stadium this year and remain in a tie with Tulsa and Rice for first place in the Conference USA Western division.

The Cougars scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to gain a 42-37 edge over the Texas-El Paso Miners in front of 18,134 on Saturday.

Sophomore quarterback Case Keenum dealt the final blow with a 1-yard run into the end zone to take the go ahead and eventual winning score with 41 seconds left in the game.

Keenum finished the night with 480 yards through the air, completing 41 of 51 passes and three touchdowns. His 16-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Kierrie Johnson put the score at 36-35 to give the the Cougars (7-4, 6-1 Conference USA) their first lead of the game with 4:54 left to play.

The lead quickly slipped through Houston’s fingers when the 2-point conversion pass was picked off by UTEP senior defensive back Josh Ferguson and taken back to the Miner end zone for two as UTEP (5-6, 4-3 C-USA) reclaimed a 37-36 lead.

Luckily for the Cougars, however, a three and out drive – including a 10-yard sack by senior defensive end Phillip Hunt -gave Houston the ball back with 2:35 left in the game, resulting in Keenum’s game-winning score.

"Wow is an understatement (of the game)," said UH head coach Kevin Sumlin. "UTEP came in here and played lights out in the first half. We played with effort the whole game…but the effort was turned up at the end."

The Cougars recorded 306 yards and scored 26 points in the fourth quarter compared to 16 points and 395 yards in the first three.

Freshman running back Bryce Beall led Cougars on the ground with 19 carries for 167 yards and one touchdown, including a 71-yard run in the middle of the fourth, to break 1,000 yards on the season.

The first half saw little offensive production from the Cougars, which scored nine points on a 36-yard field goal and a 1-yard quarterback sneak. A blocked extra point prevented the Cougars from closing the gap further.

UTEP’s defense proved to be a formidable force, holding the Cougars to 75 yards on the ground and 299 total yards in the first half.

Houston had trouble producing in the end zone, going two for five on first-half scoring opportunities, including a fumble inside UTEP’s 10-yard line late in the second quarter as UTEP entered halftime with a 21-9 lead.

The Cougars face Rice to decide the C-USA West regular season champions Saturday.

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