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Saturday , September 22 2018
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Home | Tag Archives: nau

Tag Archives: nau

Gallery+Story: Lumberjacks Upend UTEP’s Home Opener 30-10

Case Cookus completed 19-of-26 passes for 211 yards, and connected with Emmanuel Butler for a couple of scores as Northern Arizona spoiled UTEP’s 2018 home opener with a 30-10 victory in the Sun Bowl on Saturday.

Butler reeled in six catches for 138 yards for the Lumberjacks (1-0), who are coming off a seven-win campaign in 2017.

Junior college transfer Kai Locksley saw the bulk of the action at quarterback for the Miners (0-1) and was the team’s leading passer (120 yards) and rusher (50 yards).  His 18 carries were the most by a UTEP signal-caller in six years.

With Derron Gatewood and Greg Long both out with injuries, the Miners started two freshmen in the offensive line in LG Bobby DeHaro and LT Zuri Henry.  UTEP tallied 229 yards of offense (127 passing, 102 rushing).

UTEP fell behind 17-0 late in the second quarter after the Lumberjacks turned a couple of Miner turnovers into a touchdown and a field goal.  UTEP got back in the game by scoring 10 points in the final 2:42 of the half.

Quardraiz Wadley had a big second quarter for UTEP with 32 yards rushing and 26 receiving.  His career-long 32-yard scoring run concluded a four-play, 75-yard drive and pulled the Miners within 10 at 17-7.

Jason Filley connected on a 24-yard field goal in the final seconds of the half to make it a seven-point game heading to the locker room.

But Northern Arizona put it away with a couple of touchdowns in the third period.

“I thought, most importantly, the turnovers were a big issue for us early in the game,” UTEP first-year head coach Dana Dimel said.  “They set the tone a little bit, the two turnovers, one on the first drive and the fumble.  Both of those kind of set the momentum for the game as it went forward.  I thought overall, some of the first-game mechanics have got to get better.  It was the first time all of us were together.  There are some things we’ve got to improve on.  We’ve got to minimize our penalties.  We had 10 penalties for the game.  To me, that definitely something we’ve got to work on and reduce those.  And we had three turnovers.  To me, as you start working for progress with the football team it’s all about the unforced errors.”

The Lumberjacks finished with 318 yards as the UTEP defense turned in a promising effort behind transfer linebacker A.J. Hotchkins, who registered 13 tackles.

“Statistically, I thought overall our defense played a good football game,” Dimel said.  “They gave up the momentum, the play of the game was the touchdown to go to 17 points.  We were in good coverage position, just an unfortunate play for us as a football team that got them to 17 and then the third down conversion at the start of the third quarter was a big play in the ballgame as well.  But besides those plays, overall the defense played well enough to win.  We knew coming in that these guys had a good offensive football team.  They did enough things to help us win a football game today.

“Offensively, we didn’t run the ball as well as I’d like to see us run the ball.  I think we can do a better job of being more consistent in our run game.  Again, we’re meshing our offensive line together.”

The special teams star for UTEP was senior Terry Juniel with 124 all-purpose yards, including 96 on kickoff returns.

“The main thing I drew from [Saturday’s game], we didn’t play near as well as I would like us to play.  That goes without saying,” Dimel said.  “But I liked the way the kids fought.  I’m pleased with that part of it.  I told them in the locker room, ‘This isn’t going to define us.  This is just the beginning.’  And now you’re going to be measured on how much you improve week to week.”

The Miners will play their first road game of the season and seek their first victory under Dimel at UNLV next Saturday (Sept. 8).  The game will be televised on AT&T Sportsnet beginning at 7 p.m. MT.

Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta, Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald-Post

NAU Downs UTEP 76-74; Miners Drop 6th Straight

Northern Arizona shot a season-high 53.7 percent from the field, including 57.7 percent in the second half, in handing UTEP a 76-74 loss on Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center.

The Lumberjacks (3-9), who entered the game shooting 35.4 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from three-point range, also made eight three-pointers to snap a four-game losing streak.  UTEP (2-7) dropped its sixth consecutive game.

“The 74 [points] should be enough for us to win and it wasn’t,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We gave up too high of a percentage again, 53.7 and 38.1 percent from the three-point line on our home floor, and they’re simply unacceptable numbers.  We’ve just got to continue to work on it.”

The Miners appeared headed to a runaway victory when they scored 16 of the game’s first 20 points.  UTEP led 22-14 midway through the first half but was outscored 20-7 over the last 9:43 to fall behind 34-29 at the intermission.

UTEP took a three-point lead (43-40), its largest of the second half, on a three-pointer by Omega Harris with 15:48 remaining. Mike Green gave Northern Arizona the lead for good, 56-55, on a layup with 9:37 to go.

The Miners were down by eight (72-64) with a little over three minutes to play.  They pulled within three twice, the last at 74-71 on another Harris triple at the 1:14 mark.  Harris missed a potential game-tying three with 17 seconds left.  The Lumberjacks made a couple of free throws, rendering Deon Barrett’s three-pointer right before the buzzer meaningless.

“We had too many turnovers in the first half with an eight-point lead,” Floyd said.  “We had consecutive travels and a step out of bounds and it kind of turned the momentum, and we haven’t won enough to really value being in a tight one right now.  I think a little doubt set in.”

Harris led the Miners, who had four players in double figures, with 22 points.  Jake Flaggert established career-highs for points (15) and three-pointers (five).  Dominic Artis collected his sixth career double-double (11 points, 12 assists), and Matt Willms contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

Jordyn Martin led Northern Arizona with 18 points.  The Lumberjacks crushed the Miners on the boards, 38-24, leading to 13 second-chance points.

“We did not rebound it against an inferior size team.  Credit them and their effort coming on the road,” Floyd said.  “They did a really nice job.  We had just a terrific amount of defensive breakdowns, which are frustrating when you get it to two or four where it’s invariably either a lack of a defensive board, a putback or a guy catching it deep right around the rim with a little shot fake and make a basket and plus one.  Interior defense is not very good.  And we’ve got to continue to work, is all I can tell you.”

The Miners will wrap up the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule by participating in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Wednesday and Thursday.  UTEP will face Maryland Eastern Shore on Wednesday at 7, following the Akron-UC Irvine matchup at 5.  The consolation and championship games are at 5 and 7 p.m., respectively, on Thursday.  Sun Bowl Invitational tickets are available by calling (915) 533-4416.

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