THE BASIC FACTS
- UTEP (2-8) plays its final road game of the season on Saturday against 0-10 Southern Miss, kickoff 6pm MT televised on CBS Sports Network.
- The Miners are 0-5 on the road this season and are trying to avoid going winless on the road for the first time since 2002, when they were 0-7 away from home.
- UTEP is 0-3 in Conference USA road games. The Miners have won at least one C-USA road game in every season except 2009 and 2010, when they finished 0-4 in league road games.
- The Miners have lost 17 of their last 18 C-USA road games, the exception being a 44-7 triumph at Tulane on Oct. 15, 2011.
- The last time UTEP won its final road game of the season was in 1991 with a 41-24 victory at Hawaii.
- UTEP is 7-16 all-time versus Conference USA Eastern Division teams, including 2-9 on the road. The wins came at UAB in 2006 (36-17) and Southern Miss in 2008 (40-37 in double overtime). UTEP has lost its last six road games versus C-USA Eastern schools.
- This season, C-USA Western Division teams have posted a combined record of 7-7 against the East (Houston 1-1, Rice 1-2, SMU 2-1, Tulane 1-1, Tulsa 2-0, UTEP 0-2), including 2-5 on the road. Tulsa has both of the road wins, beating UAB (49-42) on Sept. 29 and Marshall (45-38) on Oct. 6.
- The Miners have struggled in the month of November under coach Mike Price, posting a 10-22 record.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
- UTEP rallied from a 14-point deficit to tie the game at 24 with 6:49 remaining, but UCF drove 75 yards in three plays to beat the Miners, 31-24, last Saturday in the Sun Bowl.
- Latavius Murray’s 46-yard TD run with 5:25 to play proved to be the winning score.
- Murray rushed 23 times for 117 yards for a UCF squad that compiled 188 yards on the ground with three touchdowns.
- Blake Bortles completed 16-of-27 passes for 214 yards with no interceptions for the Knights.
- UCF held UTEP to 346 yards of offense, including 79 passing.
- Miner freshman QB Blaire Sullivan, making his first career start, rushed 23 times for 74 yards and completed 5-of-11 passes for 79 yards.
- Nathan Jeffery had another big game for UTEP, rushing 24 times for 174 yards with a pair of TDs.
- Jeffery’s 69-yard run tied the game in the fourth quarter before UCF rallied for its sixth consecutive win.
- The Knights remained unbeaten in C-USA action with a 6-0 mark, while UTEP dropped to 2-8 through 10 games for the first time since 2003.
- SMU dealt Southern Miss its 10th straight setback, 34-6, last Saturday in Dallas.
- The Golden Eagles are still seeking their initial victory under first-year coach Ellis Johnson, the former defensive coordinator at South Carolina.
- Garrett Gilbert passed for 249 yards and ran for 94 more to lead SMU.
- Zach Line added 92 yards as the Mustangs tallied 186 yards rushing.
- Three Southern Miss quarterbacks (Chris Campbell, Cole Weeks, Anthony Alford) combined to complete 14-of-31 passes for 127 yards with two interceptions.
- The Golden Eagles were limited to 178 total yards, including 51 rushing.
- Dominique Sullivan accounted for Southern Miss’ lone score of the game when he reeled in a 15-yard TD pass from Campbell with 9:39 to go in the second period. The extra point attempt was blocked.
UTEP VS. SOUTHERN MISS
- Southern Miss leads the series 3-2.
- The teams have met twice in postseason play. The Miners beat the Golden Eagles 37-14 in the 1954 Sun Bowl, and Southern Miss, led by quarterback Brett Favre, returned the favor with a 38-18 victory in the 1988 Independence Bowl.
- Southern Miss has won two of the three matchups between the schools as Conference USA members. Both wins came in El Paso, 56-30 during the 2007 season and 31-13 last year. In 2008, Trevor Vittatoe’s six-yard touchdown pass to Kris Adams lifted UTEP past Southern Miss, 40-37 in double overtime, at Hattiesburg.
- Southern Miss head coach Ellis Johnson was defensive coordinator at the school in 1988, the year the Golden Eagles beat UTEP 38-18 in the Independence Bowl. The Miners’ head coach that year was Bob Stull, currently UTEP’s Director of Athletics.
- Southern Miss offensive coordinator Steve Buckley was a GA at the school in 1988.
- Southern Miss defensive line coach Lorenzo Costantini played for Bob Stull at UTEP (defensive tackle) and was the Miners’ strength & conditioning coach and defensive line coach from 1995-99.
- The Golden Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Tommy West, was the head coach at Memphis (2001-09), Clemson (1993-98) and UT-Chattanooga (1992). West was 4-0 against the Miners as a head coach (3-0 at Memphis, 1-0 at Clemson).
- Southern Miss has one Texas player on its roster in junior OL Ed Preston (Bacliff/Dickinson HS).
THE LAST MEETING
- No. 25 Southern Miss extended its winning streak to six games with a 31-13 victory over UTEP on Oct. 29, 2011 in the Sun Bowl.
- The game was tied at 10 at halftime, and UTEP pulled within 17-13 on a 47-yard field goal by Dakota Warren midway through the third quarter.
- The Golden Eagles put the game out of reach with a couple of fourth quarter touchdowns. Southern Miss put together scoring drives of 98 and 82 yards in the final period.
- Austin Davis completed 17-of-31 passes for 190 yards and three TDs for the Golden Eagles, who also received 134 rushing yards from Jamal Woodyard.
- The stingy Southern Miss defense limited UTEP to 262 yards, including 68 rushing. The Miners had rushed for 877 yards in their previous three games.
- Nick Lamaison completed 21-of-35 passes for 194 yards to lead the Miners.