Oct. 27, 2012
HOUSTON - Junior running back Charles Sims ran for 119 yards and three touchdowns, and the defense forced six turnovers as the University of Houston claimed a 45-35 victory over UTEP onSaturday afternoon at Robertson Stadium.
Sims averaged nearly 10 yards per carry (9.9) while tying a career high in rushing touchdowns. With his rushing scores, the Houston native moved into third place in school career history with 29 rushing touchdowns.
The Cougars improved to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA action and won for the fourth time in their last five games. UTEP fell to 2-7 on the season and 1-4 in league play.
The Cougars opened the scoring on the first play of their second possession as Sims took the handoff and raced 43 yards down the sideline for the touchdown.
Houston quickly struck again as D.J. Hayden snagged an interception to set up a 9-yard fade pass to Greenberry in the corner of the end zone for the 14-0 lead.
The Miners opened the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run from Nathan Jeffery following a botched punt return inside Houston's 10-yard line, but the Cougars responded on their next possession as Piland found McDuffie open on the sideline for a 24-yard touchdown.
UTEP looked to answer when senior cornerback D.J. Hayden jumped a route on a third down and took his second interception of the game 97 yards for a touchdown to push the Houston lead to 28-7. It was the Cougars' second-longest interception return in school history.
On the Miners' next possession, Philip Steward forced a fumble on a sack of quarterback Nick Lamaison in UTEP territory to set up a 6-yard touchdown scamper from Sims as the Cougars went into the break leading 35-7.
The Cougars opened the second half in the same fashion as junior cornerback Zach McMillian picked off a pass to set up Sims' third touchdown of the afternoon from one yard out.
Houston forced its sixth turnover of the contest on the next possession as Adrian McDonald tallied his first career interception, resulting in a 24-yard field goal from Matt Hogan to give the Cougars a commanding 45-7 lead with 10:50 remaining in the third quarter.
With nine points Saturday - courtesy of six PATs and his field goal - Hogan became Conference USA's leading scorer with 373 points, topping former Memphis and current New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
The Miners scored 28 points over a 16-minute period beginning late in the third quarter but couldn't pull any closer as they turned the ball over on downs late in the contest.
Hayden led a defensive unit that forced the most turnovers since Nov. 26, 2005, with his two interceptions. The Cougars totaled four interceptions and five forced fumbles with two recoveries.
The Cougars return to action at 11 a.m. (CST), Nov. 3 at East Carolina.