After a lackluster performance against the Arizona Wildcats, the UTEP Miners were hoping to rebound against the New Mexico State Aggies Saturday night at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Sadly that wasn’t the case as the Aggies rolled over the Miners by a score of 41-14.
The big story going into this game is that head coach Sean Kugler had replaced offensive coordinator Brent Pease with Brain Natkin. So how did the offensive do with Natkin calling the plays? It did better than last week.
By halftime the Miners had already rushed for 74 yards, which compared to 17 rushing yards they got against Arizona. They ended the game with 135 rushing yards. The highlight for the the Miners was in the 1st quarter when they had a 12 play 81 yard drive that ended with a 5 yard Ryan Metz touchdown run.
The most impressive thing about the drive is that took 6:52 off the clock. The problem is that once NMSU adjusted to UTEP running the ball and forced Metz to pass, the Aggies defense was more than capable of stopping them and forcing some mistakes that the Miners couldn’t overcome.
By halftime Aggies DB Shamad Lomax had intercepted Ryan Metz 3 times including one that he returned 19 yards for a touchdown 1:37 before halftime.
Coach Kugler decided to switch quarterbacks at halftime by putting in Mark Torres hoping he’d bring some life to the offense, but he didn’t fare any better. In his 2nd pass attempt, he was intercepted by LB Terril Hanks. He ended up throwing another which meant that combined, UTEP quarterbacks threw 5 interceptions, and you’re not gonna win any games playing like that on offense.
As far as the defense goes, well lets just say Larry Rose III had his way with the Miners. He rushed for 144 yards had 2 touchdowns and added another receiving touchdown.
Aggies QB Tyler Rogers passed for 287 yards and threw 2 touchdowns. It’s safe to say that this game was basically over by halftime.
So how do the Miners fix this? How do they get out of the funk that they’re in? I don’t really know, that’s a hard question to answer. Clearly the running game looked better tonight but once UTEP was forced to pass, the offense looked horrible.
The Miners have a couple of days to see if they can try to bring some life to this season before they face Army next week and if they can’t, this nightmare of a season will continue and it’ll be hard for UTEP fans to watch.
Monster’s previous musings click HERE.