Freshman quarterback Ryan Metz led the Miners from 14 points down to defeat the New Mexico State Aggies, 50 to 47 in overtime Saturday night in Las Cruces.
Metz, who entered the game in the 3rd quarter for injured starter Mack Leftwich, led the Miners on two scoring drives in the final four minutes of regulation; the final from 98 yards capped off with an 8-yard keeper to tie the game.
“My favorite quarterback is Tom Brady and I always watch videos of him in situations like this and just the cool and calm demeanor that he presents,” Metz said. “I’m not saying I’m Tom Brady, I’m Ryan Metz and that’s who I want to be, but it was fun and I’m glad the coaches trusted me.”
Metz finished the night with 218 yards, connecting on 15 of 19 attempts and three touchdowns, but it was the call he made to keep the ball and run it from 8 yards out to tie the game that showcased his poise.
“Unbelievable for a freshman, he got in there early there were some things where he got rattled a bit, but he overcame it,” UTEP head coach, Sean Kugler said. “He fought and he called his own plays during both those drives and took the offense right down the field to conserve time and call plays he was comfortable with. The play at the end of the game was a beauty, I probably would have never called that, but he did.”
In overtime, the Miners needed to score a touchdown to win the game after an Aggies field goal, Metz found former UTEP basketball player now tight end, Cedric Lang in the zone for the sliding catch to win the game.
“I think we knew that it was all business and these guys just responded,” Metz said. “The receivers made me look good, trust me, not every pass was perfect. These guys bailed me out. The last pass, I threw it low, it was a bad pass and Cedric Lang made me look good.”
The Aggies led by 14 on three separate occasions, but the Miners kept coming back.
Both teams were looking for their first win of the season, the Aggies were looking for their first win against the Mines since Sept. 20, 2008.
It looked like it would finally be the night, but the Miners managed to win their seventh consecutive game against the Aggies, tying the longest winning streak against NM State in program history.
“It was a two-minute situation and we needed to score, we threw the ball and like we said in the middle of the week,” UTEP head coach, Sean Kugler said. “This game wasn’t about scheme or anything like that, that game was about a group of kids that just refused to quit and refused to lose.”
Metz entered the game due to starter Mack Leftwich’s injury in the third quarter, that forced him out of the game.
“He did amazing out there, he calmed the offense down when Mack went down,” linebacker Alvin Jones said. “He drove us down the field a couple of times and got us the W. It’s a good feeling because we finally got our first win of the season.”
The win caps a three-game road trip for UTEP, who now prepare for their home opener against Incarnate Word on Sept. 26 at the Sun Bowl at 6 p.m.
The Aggies have a bye week before traveling to Albuquerque to take on in-state rival New Mexico.
To read a SECOND TAKE on the UTEP/NMSU game, click HERE