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EL Paso, TX — Aaron Jones rushed for 97 yards and fellow freshman Darrin Laufasa added 74 as UTEP punished NM State on the ground in the second half en route to a 42-21 win over the Aggies on Saturday night.
Limited to 49 yards rushing on 22 carries in the first two periods, the Miners (1-1) erupted for 244 over the final 30 minutes. UTEP won its fifth straight game over NMSU (0-3) while securing its third consecutive victory in Las Cruces.
The teams combined for four touchdowns in the first five and a half minutes of the game. The defenses fared much better in the second quarter, with Aaron Jones’ eight-yard run with 17 seconds remaining accounting for the only touchdown of the period. The Miners took a 21-14 lead into halftime.
After the Aggies knotted the game at 21 midway through the third quarter, the Miners scored the game’s final 21 points, the last 14 coming on long touchdown runs (17 yards, 45 yards) by Laufasa in the fourth quarter.
Earlier, LaQuintus Dowell’s 54-yard touchdown run put UTEP in the lead for good, 28-21, with 6:21 remaining in the third period.
The Miners simply wore down the Aggie defense in the second half, running for 116 yards in the third quarter and 128 in the fourth.
Jameill Showers completed 18-of-28 passes for 253 yards for UTEP, and Jordan Leslie had seven catches for 103 yards. Ian Hamilton also had a big night in the passing game with six receptions for 81 yards.
A week after yielding 395 yards rushing to New Mexico, the Miners held NMSU under the century mark. The Aggies finished with 99 yards on 19 carries.
Andrew McDonald and King Davis III combined to complete 14-of-26 passes for 299 yards for NMSU. The Aggies turned over the ball four times on the night.
UTEP will open Conference USA play versus league newcomer UTSA next Saturday (Sept. 21) at 6 p.m. in the Sun Bowl.
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