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Tulsa Takes Care Of Business Against UTEP

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Tulsa's victory sets up a big time game against undefeated Houston the day after Thanksgiving (AP Photo). Tulsa's victory sets up a big time game against undefeated Houston the day after Thanksgiving (AP Photo).

Grant Belcher, NewsOn6.com

EL PASO, Texas – One thing was apparent after Tulsa's win against UTEP on Saturday: The Golden Hurricane wasn't looking ahead to Houston.

TU took care of business in what could commonly be classified as a "trap game," handling the Miners 57-28 in El Paso.

Tulsa stayed undefeated in Conference USA play at 7-0 (8-3 overall), setting up a monumental showdown against Houston on Friday that will decide which team will represent the West in the C-USA title game.

G.J. Kinne and the passing game had a big day despite the absence of leading receiver Willie Carter, who missed the game due to injury.

Kinne wasted no time getting his team on the board less than three minutes into the game, hooking up with receiver Bryan Burnham for a 9-yard score.

Heading into the second quarter up 14-6, Kinne did it again, this time in a more spectacular fashion. A simple screen pass to running back Trey Watts turned into a 53-yard touchdown reception to lead 21-6.

UTEP turned a blocked punt into a safety and engineered a long scoring drive to pull to within six points, but Watts wasn't finished yet.

He took the ensuing kickoff back 94 yards for a score, and the Golden Hurricane converted for two points to lead by two touchdowns going into the break.

But the third quarter was all Golden Hurricane, as they scored three touchdowns and held the Miners to a scoreless third to lead by 35 heading into the final quarter.

Texas-El Paso was playing without its starting quarterback, Nick Lamaison, and the difference was evident.

Backup quarterback Carson Meger threw for 204 yards, but had two interceptions and no touchdowns.

Meanwhile, G.J. Kinne was on the opposite end of the spectrum with 283 yards on 19-of-25 passing and three touchdown passes.

Ja'Terian Douglas led the TU rushing attack with 109 yards and a score. Tight end Clay Sears once again stepped up in the receiving game, catching seven passes and 93 yards in Carter's absence.

Tulsa's skill players helped their offense move efficiently as it converted 6-of-7 third downs in the game, the small number of third downs also a testament to just how fast TU was moving the ball.

The win sets up yet another huge showdown with West Division rival Houston, the team Tulsa has had so many big rivalry games against over the years.

This year's stakes are no exception, with the winner taking all and moving into the C-USA Championship game.

The Cougars are ranked No. 11 nationally and finished off SMU on Saturday to keep pace with Tulsa.

The big game will kick off on Friday at 11 a.m. from Chapman Stadium.

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