BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP)Johnny Ford ran for a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter and James Charles scored on a short run in the fourth to give Florida Atlantic an 18-point lead, and the Owls held off a late UTEP comeback attempt to earn a 28-25 win on Saturday night.
The loss snapped UTEP’s four-game win streak heading into a first-place showdown with UTSA next week.
Ford’s run put Florida Atlantic (5-3, 3-1 Conference USA) up 7-3 in the first quarter. N’Kosi Perry hit LaJohntay Wester with a 39-yard touchdown pass with :02 left in the first half to send the Owls into the break with a 14-10 lead.
Zaire Mitchell-Paden punched in with 3:27 left in the third quarter to make it 21-10, and Charles’ 1-yard run pushed it to 28-10 early in the fourth.
UTEP mounted a comeback with an 82-yard, seven-play drive. Ronald Awatt scored on a 5-yard run with 2:50 left and punched in the two-point conversion to make it 28-18. Gavin Hardison fired a 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyrin Smith with 2:02 left.
UTEP got the ball with :30 left but could not get itself in position to attempt a game-tying field goal.
Perry finished with 149 yards on 13-for-26 passing and Ford finished with 93 yards on 123 carries.
The Miners (6-2, 3-1) outgained Florida Atlantic 454 to 279. Hardison threw for 337 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted twice.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.
Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25