DALLAS (AP) -- Jerad Romo threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns as Southern Methodist beat Texas-El Paso 40-27 on Saturday, costing the Miners a trip to the Conference USA championship game and giving the Mustangs their most wins in eight
UTEP, which had seven turnovers, lost its second straight after needing one victory to clinch a share of the conference's Western Division. Instead, Tulsa wins the division and will play Central Florida for the conference title Dec. 3.
The win gave SMU (5-6, 4-4) its best season since going 6-5 in 1997 and its first three-game winning streak since 1999.
DeMyron Martin rushed for 117 yards for SMU, which scored 24 answered points during one stretch and scored more than 30 points for the first time this season.
Jordan Palmer was 27-of-44 for 360 yards and threw three touchdowns for UTEP (8-3, 5-3), but he also threw four interceptions and fumbled twice. Both fumbles happened inside the UTEP 20, leading to a 37-yard field goal from Chris McMurtray and a 5-yard touchdown run by Johnnie Fitzgerald.
Adrian Haywood forced Palmer's fumbles, and Cory Muse recovered both. Muse also had a third fumble recovery.
SMU scored on five straight possessions in the second half to take a 33-13 lead after trailing 7-6 at halftime. In the third quarter, Romo threw a 34-yard touchdown to Reynaldo Pellerin and a 29-yard touchdown to Bobby Chase.
Ryan Kennedy caught a 26-yard touchdown in the fourth.
UTEP's Marcus Thomas rushed for 118 yards and caught seven passes for 120 yards. He had a 3-yard touchdown run and scored on a 75-yard pass from Palmer.
Chris Francis caught nine passes for 126 yards for UTEP.