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  Saturday, Oct. 9 9:05pm ET
Texas El Paso 42, Smu 28

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ Senior running back Paul Smith rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night as Texas-El Paso beat SMU 42-28 to keep the Mustangs winless.

Trailing 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, UTEP (3-3, 1-1 Western Athletic Conference) erupted with three touchdowns within 3:31 of the second quarter to take a 28-14 halftime lead and control of the game.

The second of those scores _ Lee Mays recovery of teammate James Thompson's fumble at the SMU 3 _ was set up by Trey Merkins' 26-yard return of an intercepted Josh McCown pass.

The Miners increased their lead to 35-14 on a Smith one-yard run late in the third period before SMU (0-5, 0-2) rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to cut the margin to 35-28.

SMU's comeback hopes were dashed when Miners defensive back Nick Salinas intercepted a McCown pass at the UTEP 48 and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown with 35 seconds left.

On defense, the Miners intercepted four McCown passes, led by linebacker Robert Weathers who picked off two, UTEP's defense also recovered an SMU fumble.

Playing a big part in UTEP's offensive success was the quarterbacking tandem of Jay Stuckey and Rocky Perez. Stuckey was 12-of-13 passing for 182 yards and two touchdowns; Perez was 14-of-21 for 151 yards. Neither was intercepted.

UTEP drew first blood on Smith's 80-yard touchdown run with 6:01 left in the first quarter. Smith later had TD runs of 16 yards and one yard. He now ranks sixth place on he all-time UTEP rushing list with 1,977 yards.

Kris Briggs led the Mustangs with 94 rushing yards and two touchdowns. McCown completed just 13 of his 32 pass attempts for 184 yards and had the four interceptions. scrn*


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