31 years as a head coach, 9 at UTEP, but this one was not meant to be, back and forth all night long, and the UTEP Miners fell at home to Rice, 33-24, in their season finale, also marking the end of the tenure for UTEP Head Coach Mike Price, who announced his retirement earlier this week.
The Miners cut Rice's lead to two, 26-24, but Jeremy Eddington took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. Eddington’s 96-yard kick return for a touchdown was the first by an Owl since 1984, snapping that streak at 319 games.
UTEP came out firing thanks to a senior on Senior Night, as Quarterback Nick Lamaison hit Jordan Leslie with a 65-yard scoring strike to go up 7-0. The first half was a back and forth affair with Rice leading 17-14 at halftime. Lamaison threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns, Leslie finished with 3 receptions for 168 yards.
Other notes from the UTEP-Rice game:
Mike Price coached the final game of his career against Rice. Price ends his career with a 177-183 overall record and a
48-61 finish at UTEP. He retires as the second-winningest coach in progam history behind Mack Saxon (66 victories).
- Cole Freytag’s 11-yard reception for a first down in the first quarter was the freshman’s first career catch.
- Nick Lamaison’s 65-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leslie in the first quarter is the longest pass, the longest passing
touchdown and the third longest play of the season.
- The 65-yard reception is Leslie’s career-high reception. His previous career best was a 61-yard catch at Tulsa on Oct. 11,
- Jordan Leslie is the only Miner with at least one reception in every game this season.
- Leslie averaged 56 yards in three receptions, a new career high for the sophomore. His previous best average was 40
vs. Southern Miss on Oct. 29, 2011.
- Josh Fely’s 16 tackles are a career-best. His previous best defensive performance was 14 tackles against Tulane on Oct.
20, 2012. It is the most since Damon Cromartie-Smith registered 16 stops against UAB on Oct. 31, 2009.
- Josh Fely went into today’s game with 96 tackles this season, his five tackles in the first quarter put him over the 100-tackle
mark, making him the first 100+ Miner since Da’mon Cromartie-Smith recorded 109 in 2009. His 112 tackles are the most
by a player since the 2007 season when Braxton Amy had 112 stops.
- Fely’s 1.5 sacks is a career best. He recorded one sack three different times. The last was against East Carolina on Nov.
- Ian Campbell’s 72-yard punt in the second quarter tied his career long set against Rice on Oc. 9, 2010.
- Nick Lamaison’s 219 yards in the first half were the most passing yards in a half this season.
- A.J. Ropati’s third quarter sack was the first of his collegiate career.
- The 41-yard pass from Blaire Sullivan to Jordan Leslie in the third quarter was a career-long. Sullivan’s previous longest
pass was 47 yards to Michael Edwards agains Southern Miss on Nov. 17.
- Lamaison’s 10 rushes were the most of his career. His previous career high was nine at Ole Miss on Sept. 8, 2012.
- UTEP was 2-4 this season when the Miners score first.
- UTEP falls to 2-4 at home this season and 32-22 under Coach Mike Price.