Houston runs away from UTEP, 52-24 | NevadaAppeal.com
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Houston runs away from UTEP, 52-24

HOUSTON (AP) – Bryce Beall rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns to lead Houston to a 54-24 victory over UTEP on Friday night.

Michael Hayes added three touchdowns for the Cougars, who lost quarterback Case Keenum to an undisclosed injury in the third quarter.

The Cougars (2-0) extended a school record with their 17th straight home win.

Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe was 30 of 54 for 340 yards and three touchdowns for the Miners (1-1).

Beall’s touchdowns were 5, 1 and 2 yards, while Hayes’ were from 4, 9 and 2 yards as the Cougars finished with 643 yards of total offense, 309 rushing.

Keenum was injured late in the third quarter with the Cougars leading 37-17. Keenum was intercepted by Travaun Nixon and he tried to make a tackle on the play, missed, and was slow to get up. He was 15 of 24 for 265 yards and an interception.

The Cougars led 31-10 at halftime, as Bell and Hayes combined for 150 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

After the Miners used a nine-play drive to take a 7-0 lead on their first possession, Houston answered with Hayes’ first score of the game. That five-play drive was set up by a 61-yard pass from Keenum to Patrick Edwards on the preceding play.

The Cougars made it 14-7 later in the first quarter when Beall ran the ball in from 5 yards out to cap an eight-play stampede. After a costly pass interference call against UTEP in the end zone, Hayes and Beall needed just five plays to double the lead.

Matt Hogan made a 19-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and the Miners’ Dakota Warren answered from 22 yards out to make it 17-7 with 6:04 left in the half. But the Cougars closed the second quarter with 14 straight points to take a commanding lead.

With 4:18 left, Beall scored his second touchdown from 1 yard out after Keenum hit Edwards for a 44-yard gain on the second play of the drive.

After the teams traded turnovers, the Cougars got the ball back with less than 2 minutes to go and scored as Hayes capped a five-play drive from 9 yards out with 25 seconds left in the half.

Houston outscored the Miners 23-14 in the second half as Hayes and Beall each added one more touchdown to close out the blowout.