RUIDOSO, N.M. – The UTEP quarterbacks looked solid during the second and final scrimmage at Camp Ruidoso as Zack Greenlee threw a trio of touchdowns and Ryan Metz connected on a pair of throwing scores on Sunday.
The Miners will head back to the Sun City on Sunday following the scrimmage and will start practice at Glory Field on Tuesday morning in preparations for Oklahoma on Sept. 2 in Norman.
“It was a good scrimmage and we wrapped up a really productive camp,” fifth-year head coach Sean Kugler said. “As a staff, we talked about our goals that we set going into camp. We talked about becoming unified as a team and comradery. We discussed developing on both sides of the ball, finding out about some youngsters and newcomers, and how they can help our program. We accomplished all our goals.”
And most importantly, the Miners stayed healthy for the most part.
“We’re fairly healthy,” Kugler added. “All the guys who were injured are expected to be back for the first game [at Oklahoma].”
Walter Dawn Jr. started the scoring spree on the first drive with Metz under center at the 35-yard line to being the morning scrimmage. Dawn Jr. opened the drive with a 17-yard run and ended it with a two-yard plunge into the end zone. A key play was a Metz pass to Terry Juniel for a 29-yard gain to the 20-yard line. Dawn Jr. used runs of 13 and five yards following the Juniel catch to set up the touchdown. Dawn Jr., a sophomore who was switched to running back, carried five times for 42 yards (8.4 avg.)
On the second drive (35-yard line), Greenlee opened with a 47-yard pass completion to transfer Alan Busey, who’s been a bright spot during the two-week camp. Greenlee completed two more passes, an eight-yard pass to Keynan Foster and a five-yard toss to Sterling Napier. But the defense responded with a sack by Dedrick Simpson.
Simpson’s sack was the first of five as second-year defensive coordinator Tom Mason kept encouraging his squad from the sideline. Dylan Parsee added the second that stopped a drive, while newly converted linebacker Treyvon Hughes, freshman Keith Sullivan and Mike Sota each took down the quarterbacks.
With the defense making plays, the offense stepped up again as Greenlee found Kevin Dove for a 12-yard scoring pass. The drive started at the 25-yard line during the red zone drills. Greenlee opened the red zone drive with an 11-yard pass to Tyler Batson.
Of the five red zone drives, the offense found the end zone twice as Metz hooked with Busey for a 12-yard score. Parsee notched a sack to end one of those red zone drives.
Greenlee finished with 209 yards on 9-of-12 passing. Greenlee found Warren Redix for a 34-yard touchdown and then ended the scrimmage with an exclamation point. On the final drive of the day, the offense was penalized for five yards to put the ball back at the 35-yard line. But Greenlee rolled out to his right and launched a 65-yard scoring pass to freshman and El Paso native Richie Rodriguez.
Metz finished 11-of-13 with 141 yards and a pair of scores. The UTEP signal callers didn’t commit any turnovers on the day.
“I thought the quarterbacks, really during the past week, have stepped up their game from an efficiency standpoint,” Kugler said. “They’re more accurate and doing a good job at handling the audibles versus the blitzes. We has the defense blitz the quarterbacks a lot this past week.”
Juniel led the receivers with 82 yards on five catches, while Dylan Kittrell impressed with 55 yards on four receptions. All of Kittrell’s receptions came from true freshman quarterback Alex Fernandes. Transfer tight end Josh Weeks caught three passes for 39 yards and Busey tallied 59 yards on a pair of receptions.
Defensively, Alvin Jones led with five tackles, while transfer defensive back Khalil Rashaad-Brown registered four stops. Justin Rogers tallied three tackles and a pass breakup, while Sullivan and Sota each added pass breakups. Sullivan, at 6-foot-7, 260 pounds, drew a few holding penalties.
Photos by Andres Acosta, El Paso Herald-Post Chief Photographer