New Mexico State 30, Texas-El Paso 24
EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ Cornerback David Barela made two game-saving plays, including an interception with 51 seconds left, as New Mexico State edged Texas-El Paso 30-24 Saturday night for the Aggies’ first 3-0 start since 1975.
Barela’s interception of Mike Perez’s pass killed the Miners’ final drive at the Aggies’ 22, ending a last-chance UTEP drive that started at its own 3 with 4:50 remaining.
Barela also recovered a botched option pass by Perez at the UTEP 44 with seven minutes left in the game and the Aggies clinging to their six-point lead.
The Aggies, who haven’t won three games in a season since 1983 and managed just three victories combined in 1990-91, beat the Miners (0-3) for the first time since 1985.
UTEP scored on its first possession of the second half to take a 24-20 lead. John Haqq’s 1-run with 8:51 left in the third quarter capped a 75-yard drive.
But the Aggies scored on their next drive when quarterback Charles Puleri went in from the 4 on an option play.
Bubba Culin’s 39-yard field goal with 8:48 remaining capped the scoring and followed a shanked punt by Ed Bunn that gave the Aggies the ball at the UTEP 22.
Haqq’s 1-yard TD gave the Miners their first lead, 10-6, in the second quarter.
NMSU’s Lawrence Truehill responded with a 7-yard touchdown run to put the Aggies ahead 13-10. After Perez’s 67-yard TD pass to J.J. Rowlett, Puleri hit David Osborne with a 27-yard touchdown pass for a 20-17 halftime lead.