RUSTON, La. (AP) — J'Mar Smith broke off a 43-yard touchdown sprint to give Louisiana Tech a late lead and the Bulldogs held off UTEP 31-24 on Saturday afternoon.
UTEP, which has lost 19 straight games, was close to victory for a second week in a row after the Miners lost to North Texas 27-24 last week.
Louisiana Tech (5-2, 3-1 Conference USA) took a 17-7 lead into halftime. But the Bulldogs could not shake the Miners as UTEP tied the score when Brandon Jones ran in from the 1 and Jason Filley booted a 36-yard field goal to make it 24-24 with 11:23 left in the game.
Smith then scored with 6:32 remaining. After the teams traded punts UTEP (0-7, 0-3) drove to Tech's 8-yard line before Jaylon Ferguson sacked Jones to make it fourth-and-goal from the 20. Jones threw incomplete to end the threat.
Smith passed for 156 yards and a TD and Jaqwis Dancy rushed for 93 yards for Louisiana Tech.
Ryan Metz led UTEP, throwing for 164 yards and a touchdown.