Danny Taylor picked off a pass by Robbie Bosco and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown to put the previously winless Miners ahead to stay Saturday night in a shocking 23-16 upset of defending national champion and seventh-ranked Brigham Young in a Western Athletic Conference game at El Paso, Tex.
UTEP (1-6, 1-3) has one of the worst records among major colleges in recent history, having won only 14 of 121 games in the last 11 years.
"This is the first time we have ever played four quarters with BYU," Miner Coach Bill Yung said after excited UTEP fans tore down the goalposts. "We played hard and perhaps it was a miracle. But you know that I believe in miracles."
The Cougars (6-2, 3-1) had a string of 14 consecutive victories over the Miners.
BYU also had a streak of 25 consecutive WAC victories snapped.
"This was costly to us from a national standpoint," BYU Coach LaVell Edwards said. "We have lost conference games before and won the WAC, but we can't afford to lose any more WAC games this season."
With just more than five minutes remaining in the second period, Taylor grabbed Bosco's pass and scampered down the length of the field to give the Miners a 17-10 lead.
Texas El Paso added a 31-yard field goal from Hugo Castellanos to take a 20-10 halftime lead.
Bosco threw three other interceptions and fumbled a snap that led to the Miners' recovery and Castellanos' second-period field goal. Bosco, who last week passed for 585 yards in BYU's 45-23 defeat of New Mexico, was far off his game, completing 15 of 35 for 151 yards.
The Cougars, frustrated when the Miners' shut down their passing game, tried to run the ball during the second half. Bosco attempted only 13 second-half passes, and connected on four.
For Texas El Paso, junior quarterback Sam Garza threw for 146 yards in 8 completions.
BYU started the game strongly, scoring on its first possession when Bosco hit Scott Norberg from the 11-yard line for a touchdown.
The Cougars went up by three, 10-7, with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter when Gary Webster kicked a 52-yard field goal.
But Webster missed on two other field-goal attempts that could have kept the Cougars in the game.
Lakei Heimuliu rushed for 154 yards and sophomore Tom Tuipulatu added 122 yards for the Cougars.
For the Miners, freshman John Harvey had 102 yards in 24 carries, despite playing with an injured knee.
Air Force 37, Utah 15--The Falcons' explosive wishbone offense generated a season-high 524 yards, highlighted by three rushers over 100 yards in a Western Athletic Conference victory over the Utes at Air Force Academy, Colo.
Eighth-ranked Air Force (8-0, 5-0) stayed even with Bowling Green for the longest winning streak in the nation as representatives of the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls looked on.
Fullback Johnny Smith rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown, halfback Kelly Pittman added 115 yards and scored three times, and quarterback Bart Weiss ran for 105 yards. It marked the first time three Air Force backs reached the century mark in one game.
Scott Thomas returned a kickoff 102 yards to become the fourth player in NCAA history to return a punt, kickoff and interception for scores in one season. Utah's Erroll Tucker became the third player to accomplish that feat a week ago.
The loss dropped Utah (6-2, 4-1) out of a share of the WAC lead with Air Force.
Colorado State 30, Wyoming 19--Kelly Stouffer threw two touchdown passes and Steve DeLine kicked three field goals to lift the Rams past the Cowboys in a WAC game at Laramie, Wyo.
Colorado State (3-5, 3-3) built a 20-6 halftime lead, but the Cowboys (1-6, 0-4) moved within 20-19 early in the fourth quarter. The Rams put the game away when Stouffer connected with Steve Schultz on an 18-yard scoring pass and DeLine kicked a 24-yard field goal.
Steve Bartalo, the nation's eighth-leading rusher, gained 113 yards in 31 carries, his third consecutive 100-yard-plus game for Colorado State. He scored on a one-yard run in the second quarter.
Hawaii 27, New Mexico 17--Fullback Nuu Faaola scored two touchdowns and safety Kent Kafentzis returned an interception 55 yards for a score at Albuquerque, N.M., as the Rainbow Warriors handed the winless Lobos their 14th defeat in their last 15 games.
Though outplayed statistically, Hawaii (2-4-1, 2-1) took advantage of New Mexico mistakes. New Mexico (1-6, 0-4) gained 514 total yards and 30 first downs, but turned the ball over five times.