POSTED: Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 5:48pm
UPDATED: Sunday, October 16, 2011 - 5:13pm
It's a new season alright. UTEP defeated Tulane, 44-7, after 15 days of rest, and it showed. UTEP looked fresh and composed in a thorough beating of the Green Wave in New Olreans. UTEP snapped its 12-game Conference USA road losing streak with its first victory since Oct. 4, 2008 at Southern Miss. It is also the Miners’ first win in three trips to New Orleans. UTEP rushed for 266 yards as a team, led by Joe Banyard's nine carry, 97 yard effort, culminated by a 72 yard touchdown run, the longest of his career.
UTEP is now 3-3, 1-2, and will host former WAC rival Colorado State next Saturday (Oct. 22) at 6 p.m. It marks the Miners’ 80th Homecoming game. UTEP is 36-42-1 all-time on Homecoming with three straight wins.
The first-quarter interception by Travaun Nixon was his seventh in 16 games in a Miner uniform, but only two have led to touchdowns and both have come against Tulane (one in 2010 and one this year).
Vernon Frazier’s first quarter touchdown was his first since Sept. 4, 2010 versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff, when he reached the end zone twice on runs of 33 and 28 yards.
UTEP scored its first touchdown with 12:49 remaining in the first quarter, marking the quickest score for the Miners since Jose Martinez kicked a 46-yard field goal with 12:56 left in the first period versus Rice on Nov. 1, 2008.
Joe Banyard’s 72-yard run in the first quarter was a career long and is tied for the 16th-longest rushing play in school history.
Three UTEP tailbacks have scored touchdowns in back-to-back games, something that hadn’t happened once in the Mike Price era prior to the Houston game on Sept. 29.
UTEP has scored three or more rushing touchdowns in back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game streak versus Texas Southern (three), SMU (five) and Tulsa (three) during the 2007 season.
The Miners registered their first blocked punt for a touchdown in over six years in the second quarter. The last time this happened was on Sept. 24, 2005 versus New Mexico, when Chris Francies blocked a punt and Nate Draughon recovered in the end zone.
The second quarter interception by Deshawn Grayson was the first of his career in his 31st game in a UTEP uniform.Jeremy Springer also recorded his first career pick in his 32nd game with the Miners. It occurred in the third period.
The last time the Miners scored 30 points in a half was on Sept. 22, 2007 versus Texas Southern. UTEP led 38-0 at the midway point of that game.
The 66-yard reception by Craig Wenrick in the third quarter was the longest by a UTEP player since Kris Adams had a 67-yard catch versus BYU in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 18, 2010.
UTEP has scored 40+ points in back-to-back C-USA games for the fourth time since joining the league in 2005. This also happened in 2007 (three straight games versus SMU, Tulsa and East Carolina) and 2008 (versus UCF and Southern Miss).
The last time the Miners had four interceptions in a game was on Nov. 15, 2008 versus SMU (four). That was also the last time UTEP had four different players with picks as Dustin Bell, Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith, Nu’uese Punimata and Melvin Stephenson all achieved the feat against the Mustangs.
UTEP has had four or more interceptions in a game five times under coach Mike Price (five versus Houston in 2005, four versus Texas Southern & East Carolina in 2007, four versus SMU in 2008, four today).