In a crazy week that saw the UTEP Miners have their coach Sean Kugler resign after a 0-5 start, Athletic Director Bob Stull turned to a familiar face in Mike Price hoping that he could provide a spark in this Miners team.
And boy did he.
On Saturday night, the UTEP Miners got close to beating the defending two time Conference USA champion Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
The Hilltoppers escaped the Sun Bowl with a 15-14 win. But make no mistake the Miners should have won this game.
After being down 8-0 in the first quarter the Miners roared back and scored 14 unanswered points giving them a 14-8 lead at halftime. The first touchdown came when QB Zack Greenlee connected with WR Kavika Johnson for a 15 yard pass.
The second came when Greenlee scored on a 5 yard bootleg scramble.
The Miners were hoping to keep the momentum going in the third quarter but Western Kentucky had a 13 play 80 yard drive that ended with a 1 yard touchdown run by QB Mike White.
On the ensuing possession, UTEP had an 11 play 46 yard drive that ate up 5:41 from the clock but came up short when Kicker Brady Viles missed a 47 field goal.
In the fourth quarter, both teams couldn’t get anything going until UTEP got the ball on their own 38 yard line with 5 minutes left to go in the game. The Miners got to the Hilltoppers 23 yard line and Brady Viles had an opportunity to make up for his two previous missed field goals when he attempted a 41-yard-field goal that would have given UTEP the lead, but sadly he missed wide left and that was basically the game as the Hilltoppers were able to run out the clock and win the game.
This is a heartbreaking loss for the Miners, but there is good that came from it.
First of all, the team came out inspired, full of energy and played like a single unit. All aspects of the team played good except for the kicking game. This is first time this season that UTEP looked this good. Even though they came up short, the team saw that they are capable of playing good football. Clearly they bought into what Mike Price was preaching this week at practice.
If Viles makes at least one of his field goals, the Miners would’ve been celebrating a victory over the defending C-USA champs, but the reality is that they didn’t. They still lost. Three missed field goals is unacceptable, so the Miners need to have tryouts to see if they can find a field goal kicker because they can’t continue to lose games because of missed field goals.
But for the first time this season UTEP gave their fans an ounce of hope that maybe they can turn this season around. Hopefully next week the Miners can get that elusive win against Southern Miss.
MORE MINER CONTENT:
CLICK -> Video+Story: Price’s Homecoming Spoiled by Missed Field Goals in One-Point loss to Western Kentucky
CLICK -> Gallery+Story: Miners’ Spirited Effort Comes Up Short Against WKU 15-14
To read previous Monster’s Musings, click HERE.
Author: Mando ‘the Monster’ Medina – El Paso Herald-Post Sports Columnist