BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Jordan Palmer threw for 447 yards and four touchdowns to lead UTEP to a 36-17 victory over UAB.
Johnnie Lee Higgins caught nine passes and scored three touchdowns for UTEP (5-5, 3-3 CUSA). Higgins caught a Palmer pass in the left flat, avoided a tackler and raced 79 yards for a touchdown to break open a close game with 7:51 left to play.
UTEP broke a three-game losing streak while UAB (3-7, 2-4) lost its fourth in a row.
Corey White caught an eight-yard touchdown pass and scored on a nine-yard run to lead UAB.
UTEP finished with 456 total yards, all but nine coming through the air. Palmer completed 24 of 38 passes and Higgins had 173 receiving yards.
UAB had 360 yards total offense. Willie Edwards caught six passes for 130 yards to lead the Blazers. But UAB was hurt by three turnovers.
A 19-yard field goal by Swayze Waters gave UAB a 10-9 lead in the second quarter. But UTEP drove 80 yards in eight plays to score on a nine-yard run by Higgins. That gave the Miners a 16-10 lead going into halftime, and they stayed ahead the rest of the way.
UTEP used big plays to pull away in the second half. Palmer threw a screen pass that Donald Buckram turned into an 80-yard scoring play to give the Miners a 22-10 lead.
UAB closed to within 22-17 when a 35-yard pass from Sam Hunt to Norris Drinkard set up White's scoring run with 13:51 left to play.
But Higgins' 79-yard catch and run gave UTEP some breathing room. And a four-yard pass from Palmer to Higgins closed out the scoring with 2:45 to play.