Greenville, NC (Sports Network) - Vintavious Cooper rushed for a career-high
154 yards as the East Carolina Pirates fought through a weather delay to
defeat the Texas-El Paso Miners, 28-18, in Conference USA action at Dowdy-
Cooper also rushed for a touchdown and added four catches for 52 yards for ECU
(3-2, 2-0 C-USA), which has won two of three. Shane Carden completed 28-of-40
passes for 258 yards and a touchdown and also had 63 yards rushing and two
more scores on the ground, although he did throw three interceptions. Justin
Hardy led all receivers with 11 catches, piling up 95 yards and a touchdown.
For UTEP (1-4, 0-1), Nick Lamaison struggled under center, completing just
nine of his 27 pass attempts for 143 yards, tossing a touchdown and three
interceptions. Nathan Jeffery carried the ball 27 times for 134 yards, and
Michael Edwards hauled in six catches for 130 yards.
UTEP mounted an impressive 12-play, 99-yard drive midway through the first
quarter, capped off by a two-yard touchdown catch by Jordan Leslie from
Lamaison, to get up to an early 7-0 lead. ECU managed to tie the score later
in the quarter on a six-yard rushing score from Carden.
Steven Valdez connected on a 29-yard field goal midway through the second
quarter to give UTEP a 10-7 advantage.
A weather delay midway through the second quarter halted action following a
lightning strike near the stadium. When the game resumed, ECU took a 14-10
lead just before the half on a Justin Hardy three-yard touchdown catch from
The Pirates added to their lead late in the third quarter when Carden rushed
in a score from eight-yards out.
Following a fumble recovery by the ECU defense midway through the fourth
quarter, Cooper tallied a 24-yard rushing touchdown.
UTEP would not go away quietly however, as Autrey Golden returned the ensuing
kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. A successful two-point conversion brought
the Miners to within 10 with under five minutes to play in regulation, but
they would get no closer.
ECU converted 7-of-14 of its third down attempts, while UTEP was just 2-of-13.
The Sports Network