Vernon Frazier came in as the No. 9 kickoff returner in the country and he's likely to be higher now.
He returned South Florida's second kickoff 67 yards to the USF 33 to set up the Miners' first touchdown, giving him a return of at least 40 yards in each of the Miners' first four games.
This one was his longest, topping a 50-yarder last week.
USF kicked away from him on its next kickoff and Nathan Jeffery returned it 43 yards to the Miner 48.
Frazier's second return "only" went for 37 yards.
"He's done an awesome job," coach Mike Price said. "He's not afraid and he's getting really good blocking. I'm sure their special teams coach was pulling his hair."
Price indicated Nick Lamaison, Travaun Nixon, James Nelson and Germard Reed "could" be available Thursday against Houston.
The Bulls extended their year-long streak of scoring in the first four minutes of each game this season. B.J. Daniels scored at the 12:00 mark in a 71-yard run. USF scored at 11:00 against Notre Dame, 14:52 against Ball State (a fumble return of the opening kickoff) and 13:14 against Florida A&M.
Leilyon Myers' 4-yard touchdown run on the Mines' second drive marked the first first-quarter points the Bulls have given up this year. They did outscore UTEP 21-7 in the first quarter, extending their advantage in that period to 65-7 on the season.
UTEP saw the worst kind of replay, as for the second time in three weeks play was suspended for a head/neck injury. D.J. Mitchell could have been flagged for leading with his head as he drove Ian Campbell out of bounds on a successful fake punt, but suffered an injury severe enough to bring out a cart. He was strapped to a backboard and was motionless as he was taken from the field.
Two weeks ago against SMU Reed was removed on a stretcher.
More deja vu
The above play also saw the best kind of replay, as for the second time in two weeks the Miners pulled off a daring fake punt deep in their own territory. Early in the fourth quarter Campbell converted a fourth-and-6 from his own 24 with a 19-yard run.
UTEP remained winless against BCS-conference opponents (0-21) and winless in the Eastern time zone (0-16-1) while dropping its 26th consecutive road game against a top 25 team.
Bret Bloomquist may be reached at [email protected]; 546-6359