The UTEP Miners jumped all over the FIU Golden Panthers early on Wednesday night college football on ESPN2. Miners kicker Buzz Flabiano drilled a kick to put his team up 24-7 with 1:03 remaining in the first half. And Flabiano did not hesitate to take advantage and get up in the face of FIU defensive back Brian Blades and let him know the Miners were dominating. Following the play, the UTEP kicker was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, something you rarely see out of kickers on any level.
Check out the video below.
In the third quarter, the FIU Panthers have mounted a comeback, cutting the UTEP lead to 24-14 with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter. UTEP receiver Kelly Akharaiyi has already hauled in over 200 receiving yards on the night, a career-high.
The Miners also kicked a field goal with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 27-14.
Early in the fourth quarter, a UTEP defensive back snatched an interception, which led to the Miners running over to the FIU lambo they had on the sidelines.
UTEP lost five of their first six games coming into Saturday night’s matchup. The Miners’ leading rusher this season is Deion Hankins. He’s racked up 380 rushing yards and one touchdown. Kelly Akharaiyi is the team’s leading receiver and he only helped to add even more to his season total with a career-night on Wednesday evening.
The Golden Panthers wouldn’t go away, late, as FIU’s Kris Mitchell hauled in a nice pass that moved them all the way down to the UTEP 39-yard line. There were only two minutes remaining in the contest.
FIU had two turnovers, however, and those were too much to overcome on Wednesday. The UTEP Miners finished the game off with a 27-14 win. Kelly Akharaiyi was absolutely unstoppable, hauling in eight catches for 223 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
There were a number of reasons the win was significant for UTEP. It was their first win in the state of Florida in school history. They also snapped their six-game losing streak to Division I-A opponents. The Miners also got their sixth win in their last 41 attempts on the road.
UTEP came out of the gates scorching hot, jumping out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. While FIU certainly battled back, they simply dug themselves too big of a hole early in Wednesday night’s game.
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