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Home | Tag Archives: utep football (page 16)

Tag Archives: utep football

Coach Kugler announces Mason as UTEP’s Defensive Coordinator

UTEP football head coach Sean Kugler announced the hiring of Tom Mason as the Miners defensive coordinator on Saturday.

“Tom is an outstanding coach, who comes highly recommended and brings a lot of experience to UTEP, “ said head coach Sean Kugler. “He has 38 years of experience in coaching many of those as a defensive coordinator.”

Tom Mason brings nearly 40 years of defensive experience to the Miners.

“We feel his defensive scheme fits our personnel and I am looking forward to him working with our players,” said Kugler.

Mason served as the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach for Hawaii during the 2015 season. During his time with the Rainbow Warriors, Mason mentored defensive lineman Kennedy Tulimasealii, who garnered All-Mountain West first team honors. Tulimasealii was featured on the preseason watch list for Polynesian Player of the Year and led the conference in tackles for loss with a season total of 18.5, ranking 16th in the nation.

He racked up 63 tackles this season, including 42 solo stops. Tulimasealii finished the season ranked third in tackles among MW defensive linemen and notched eight quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Mason also helped inside linebacker Julian Gener finish the season with team highs of 95 tackles and 62 unassisted tackles, ranking sixth in the MW in tackles and third in solo tackles (27th in NCAA).

Prior to Hawaii, Mason was the defensive coordinator at SMU for seven years. During his tenure with the Mustangs, he transformed the SMU defense into one of the nation’s best, helping the program regain its former glory while working under former UH head coach June Jones. Mason’s defense aided SMU to four consecutive bowl seasons and a narrow loss in the 2010 Conference-USA Championship Game.

The Mustangs hit a new high in that journey in 2012 with the defense under Mason’s guidance, posting two shutouts and tying an NCAA interception record, ranking 15th in rush defense with just 118 yards per game, while also tying for third in takeaways (37), ranking second in fumble recoveries for touch­down (16) and led the nation in interceptions for touchdown (8).

Mason guided numerous SMU players to all-conference honors, including cornerback Kenneth Acker, who was named all-American Athletic Conference (AAC) and was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Five Mustang defenders earned All-Conference USA honors in 2012, with first-teamers Ja’Gared Davis and Margus Hunt, while the 2011 season saw eight SMU defenders earn all-C-USA accolades, highlighted by first-teamers Richard Crawford and Taylor Thompson.

The 2012 squad capped off its fourth consecutive year in a bowl, putting Mason’s defense on display in defeating Fresno State 43-10 in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, highlighted by Hunt’s two-forced fumble, three-sack Co-MVP performance, holding FSU to just 16 yards rushing.

SMU closed the 2011 season with a BBVA Compass Bowl win that saw the Mustangs limit Pittsburgh to just 10 rushing yards and a bowl-record-low six points.

The 2010 season saw Davis and Thompson tabbed all-CUSA first-teamers, with a narrow 16-14 loss to Army West Point in the Armed Forces Bowl. Mason’s defense played to the challenge, limiting the Black Knights to only 229 yards of offense despite the loss.

In 2009, Mason transformed SMU’s defense from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 and the results were immediate. In SMU’s 45-10 win over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl, the Mustang defense held the Wolf Pack’s No. 1-ranked rushing offense to a season-low 137 yards—more than 200 yards below its average. Under his tutelage, SMU linebacker Chase Kennemer was named first team all-C-USA and seven other Mustangs were tabbed for honorable mention all-conference honors.

Mason arrived at SMU after spending seven seasons at Fresno State, where he coached linebackers. There, he developed numerous standout linebackers including 2007 WAC Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Riley, 2006 first team all-WAC honoree Dwayne Andrews and 2003 first-teamer Bryce McGill.

Mason joined the Bulldog coaching staff in 2001 after spending one season as linebackers coach with the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL. He also spent time in the pro ranks as receivers coach for the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League and as defensive backs coach for NFL Europe’s Scottish Claymores.

Mason boasts an extensive collegiate resume, having served as defensive coordinator (1999) and secondary coach (1998-99) at Nevada and defensive coordinator at both Northern Iowa (1997-98) and Boise State (1993-96). At Boise, Mason helped coordinate a Bronco defense that reached the 1994 NCAA Division I-AA National Championship Game and then served as Boise’s interim head coach from August through November 1996.

Prior to his time in Boise, he was defensive coordinator at Portland State (1982-86), helping lead the Vikings to four playoff appearances and two national championship games. He also served as the linebackers coach at Eastern Washington (1981-85) and was the defensive line coach at Walla Walla (Wash.) Community College (1978-80).

As a player, Mason began his career as a linebacker at Idaho before transferring to Walla Walla (Wash.) Community College. He finished out his playing career at Nevada from 1976-77. Mason received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and a Master of Science degree in physical education and post-secondary education from Eastern Washington.

Mason and his wife, Jami, have a daughter, Brenna.

Author: UTEP Athletics

UTEP Coach Kugler announces staffing changes

UTEP football head coach Sean Kugler announced staffing changes on Thursday.

Heading the UTEP offense will be coordinator Brent Pease. Pease joins the Miners with 25 years of coaching experience, he worked with Chris Petersen eight seasons and most recently was the wide receivers coach at Washington.

Rice at UTEP-37Also on the offensive side of the ball, Theron Aych will serve as the wide receivers coach for the Miners. Aych spent the last five seasons at Angelo State as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

The Miners linebackers will also be under new leadership with the addition of Don Yanowsky, who comes to UTEP with over three decades of coaching experience on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Recently, Yanowsky assumed duties as the special teams coordinator for two seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks (2014-15) of the Canadian Football League.

National Signing Day is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3. Kugler’s signing day press conference is scheduled for 12 p.m. MT and will be live streamed online at



Brent Pease

Brent Pease, who spent two seasons as the University of Washington’s wide receivers coach makes his way to the Sun City as the offensive coordinator.

The 25-year coaching veteran spent six seasons on Chris Petersen’s Boise State staff and reunited with Petersen in 2014. In 2015, he guided the Huskies to its sixth straight bowl game, which is the third longest active bowl-berth streak in the Pac-12 conference. Pease mentored senior Jaydon Mickens who ranked No. 2 in UW career receptions (203) and No. 5 in career receiving yards (2,187). Mickens finished the season with a best of 692 receiving yards, including a showing of five catches for 100 yards versus Arizona State.

In 2014, Husky receivers gained a reputation for explosive plays. Sophomore John Ross alone scored seven total touchdowns, four of which were receptions of over 50 yards. Ross recorded a career best reception of 91 yards, which is the second longest in UW history. Meanwhile, Mickens finished the season with 60 receptions, tied for 10th-most in Washington history.

Prior to heading to Seattle, Pease spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida. He coached starting quarterback Jeff Driskel for two seasons. As a sophomore, Driskel completed 156-of-245 passes for 1,646 yards with 12 touchdowns. The athletic quarterback also ran 118 times for 408 yards (3.5 avg.) on the season with three touchdowns. His rushing yards ranked seventh in school history by a quarterback for a single season.  In 2013, Driskel threw for 477 yards completing 42-of-63 passes before suffering a season-ending injury.

In 2011, Pease was promoted to offensive coordinator at Boise State. He had previously served as the wide receivers coach for the Broncos for five seasons, including 2006, when head coach Sean Kugler was on the coaching staff.

As the coordinator, Pease led the sixth-ranked Broncos to a dominating victory over Arizona State at the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. That season, Pease coached quarterback Kellen Moore, a finalist for the 2011 Maxwell Award and the first quarterback in NCAA FBS history to record 50 career victories as a starter (Moore was 50-3). Moore was also the first FBS player to record 3,000 yards passing and total offense in four straight seasons and was one of only six quarterbacks to surpass 14,000 career-passing yards.

Since joining the Bronco coach staff in 2006, Pease has made his mark on the Boise State football program, helping coach some of the most productive wide receivers in school history. Under Pease’s guidance from 2007-10, former Bronco Austin Pettis and Titus Young played their way to the top of the Boise State record books. Young was a second-round NFL Draft selection by the Detroit Lions, and Pettis was selected in the third round by the St. Louis Rams. Pettis finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (229) and receiving touchdowns (39), while also ranking second in career receiving yards (2,838). Young, meanwhile, ranked No. 1 all-time in career receiving yards (3,063) and No. 2 in career receptions (204). He also ranked fourth in career receiving touchdowns (25).

Pettis and Young both played their way to first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors in 2009 and 2010. Pettis earned the honor in 2009 after a record-setting season in which he caught a school-record 14 touchdowns, including a record streak of 10-consecutive games with a scoring catch.

Pease also coached Jeremy Childs into the Bronco record books. The former first team All-WAC selection currently ranks sixth all-time in career receptions (168) and ranks second for single-season receptions (82; 2007).

In 2010, Pease was named the FootballScoop Wide Receivers Coach of the Year presented by SpeedTracs. Under the tutelage of Pease, a dynamic trio of receivers helped Boise State average 46 points per game, while completing 71 percent of passing attempts.

Before joining the Bronco coaching staff in 2006, Pease had spent the previous three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Baylor. In his last season at Baylor, Pease helped the Bears post a 5-6 record, their best finish since 1995.

From 2001-02 Pease served as offensive coordinator at Kentucky, where he helped turn the Wildcats into one of the top scoring offenses in the country. After posting a 2-9 season in Pease’s first year, Kentucky finished 7-5 in 2002 – matching the team’s best record since 1984 – and was ranked 23rd-nationally in scoring offense.

Pease coached future NFL players Artose Pinner (Detroit Lions) and Jared Lorenzen (New York Giants) during his two seasons at Kentucky. Pinner finished 13th in the nation in rushing in 2002 and Lorenzen was 23rd in pass efficiency that season.

Under Pease’s guidance, Derek Abney ranked 10th-nationally in all-purpose rushing in 2002 and was 12th in 2001.

Before moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision level as a coordinator, Pease spent 10 seasons at Football Championship Subdivision schools Montana and Northern Arizona, five of which as a coordinator. Pease served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at NAU from 1999-2000.

He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Montana, his alma mater, from 1996-98 and was an offensive assistant coach for the Grizzlies from 1991-95. Pease helped the Grizzlies establish themselves as one of the premier FCS programs in the mid-1990s when they won the FCS national championship in 1995, finished second in 1996 and advanced to the semifinals in 1994. During Pease’s tenure at Montana, the Grizzlies finished with 10-or-more wins four times in eight years. And while he was offensive coordinator, the team compiled records of 14-1 (1996), 8-4 (1997) and 8-4 (1998).

While at Montana, Pease played a key role in the success of star quarterbacks Dave Dickenson and Brian Ah Yat. Montana led the FCS in passing in 1996, averaging 339.6 yards per game while leading the Big Sky Conference in both 1996 and 1998. Under Pease, Ah Yat threw a Big Sky-record 42 touchdown passes in 1996. Dickenson ranks first in Big Sky history in total offense and Ah Yat is 12th. Ah Yat led the FCS in 1996 with an average of 340.36 yards of total offense per game. Dickenson was the 1995 Walter Payton Award winner and an Associated Press All-American in 1993, 1994 and 1995. Ah Yat was a Payton Award finalist and a FCS All-American in 1996 and 1998. Dickenson and Ah Yat combined to win five Big Sky MVP awards.

Pease graduated from Mountain Home (Idaho) High School in 1983. He played quarterback at Walla Walla Community College from 1983-84 and then at Montana from 1985-86. Pease ranked ninth at Montana in both single-season and career passing. Pease was drafted by the Vikings in 1987 and was later released and picked up by the Oilers. Pease started three games with Houston during the strike-shortened season in 1987. He was a back up for Warren Moon during the 1988 campaign. He graduated from Montana in 1990 with a degree in health and human performance with an emphasis in social science. He and his wife Paula have one daughter, Halle and one son, Karsten.

Theron Aych

Theron Aych will serve as the wide receivers coach after accepting an assistant coaching job with the Miners. Aych spent the last five seasons at Angelo State as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

Under Aych, the Rams’ offense put up staggering numbers in 2015, leading the nation (Division II) in total offense with over 560 yards per game and ranking seventh in points per game (42.5). Senior quarterback Kyle Washington, under Aych’s tutelage, threw for 3,691 yards (Angelo State single-season record), ranking sixth in the nation. Washington registered 27 passing scores and only nine interceptions on 265-of-443 passing. Washington also rushed for 831 yards and 15 scores, as he led the nation in total offense and broke ASU’s single-season record for total yards with 4,522. Washington was named the Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Aych is also a 2015 finalist for American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Assistant Coach of the Year.

In 2014, Angelo State averaged 39.4 points per contest, while racking up 469.7 yards of total offense per game. The Rams registered a 9-3 overall record in 2014. Washington set a single-season school record by throwing for 34 touchdowns and being the first Ram in history to throw for over 3,000 yards with 3,236.

The Zachary, La., native coached at NCAA Division II Central Missouri for four years (2005-08) after previously serving as an assistant at the University of Washington for two seasons (2003-04) and the University of Houston for three seasons (2000-02). Aych also coached at the junior college level – Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and Mesabi Range (Minn.) Community College – and at the high school level at Aberdeen (S.D.) Central.

At Central Missouri as wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator, Aych mentored Delanie Walker, a Harlon Hill Trophy candidate as one of the top NCAA Division II football players and eventual selection in the 2006 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.

Aych coached on the other side of the line of scrimmage, assisting with the outside linebackers and punters as a graduate assistant at Washington for two seasons. While at the Houston, Aych coached the running backs, as Cougars’ tailback Joffrey Reynolds was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year by Sporting News after rushing for over 1,500 yards in 2002. Prior to coaching the rushing attack, Aych assisted with the tight ends and kickers in 2001.

Prior to his two years at Mesabi Range, Aych spent three years as the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Aberdeen Central High School after beginning his coaching career as a student assistant coach at Northern State University in Aberdeen.

Before his coaching career, Aych started three years as a wide receiver at Northern State from 1989-93 and earned honorable mention Northern Sun Conference honors as a senior. He earned a degree in sociology and criminal justice for NSU in 1996. Aych and his wife, Gwyn, have two children, Tommy and Katelyn.

Don Yanowsky

Don Yanowsky comes to UTEP with over three decades of coaching experience on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Yanowsky will serve as the assistant special teams coordinator and linebackers coach for the 2016 season.

Recently, Yanowsky, known as “Yano” in football circles, assumed duties as the special teams coordinator for two seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks (2014-15) of the Canadian Football League. Ottawa won the East Division with a 12-6 overall record. The Redblacks defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 35-28, in the Eastern Final to reach the 103rd Grey Cup against the Edmonton Eskimos.

The native of Chicago made his CFL debut with the Calgary Stampeders as the linebackers coach in 2012. Yanowsky held the position for two years. Calgary played in the 100th Grey Cup (2012).

Prior to joining the professional ranks, Yanowsky was the tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator at Memphis for two seasons (2010-11). It was his second stint with the Tigers, as he assumed duties with the offensive line and as recruiting coordinator (1989-95).

Yanowsky coached the tight ends at LSU in 2009, while also serving as the recruiting coordinator. Before coaching in Baton Rouge, Yanowsky coached two seasons (2007-08) at Boston College, serving as the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. Yanowsky’s tight ends combined to catch 73 passes for 719 yards and five scores in 2007. The Eagles went 11-3, as they defeated Michigan State, 24-21, at the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl. Boston College also advanced to the 2008 Music City Bowl against Vanderbilt.

Prior to his arrival at Boston College, Yanowsky spent the 2006 season coaching tight ends and special teams under Skip Holtz at East Carolina. He coached at Duke for three years (2003-05), coaching the offensive line for two years, and the outside linebackers and special teams for one season.

Steve Logan hired Yanowsky at East Carolina for the first time in 2001, coaching the defensive line, and helping the Pirates earn a berth in the GMAC Bowl that year.

Other coaching stops for Yanowsky include a four-year stint (1997-2000) at Arkansas State; one one-year stay at Minnesota (1996) to coach the defensive line; and a three-year stay at Utah (1982-84) as the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

Yanowsky got his started to coach in 1981 when he was hired as a student assistant coach at his alma mater Toledo. He started two years at the offensive guard position for the Rockets for two years (1979-80). Prior to transferring to Toledo, Yanowsky played at Snow Junior College at the same position (1978-79). From 1985-1987, Yanowsky coached at the high school level, serving as offensive coordinator at Bountiful (Utah) High School and later as the head coach at Viewmont High School in Utah, before returning to the collegiate ranks in 1989 at Memphis.

A 1982 graduate of Toledo, Yanowsky earned a degree in education. Yanowsky is married to the former Janet Free and the couple has two sons, Donnie Jacob.


UTEP’s Fisher to play in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

Senior Kelvin Fisher Jr. was selected to play in the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

The game is scheduled for Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 4 p.m. MT in the StubHub Center located on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills.

Fisher Jr. played for the Miners two seasons and recorded 39 stops, five pass breakups, one interception, one fumble recovered, and one quarterback hurry. During his senior campaign, he notched three showings with five or more tackles, two of which led the Miners to back-to-back wins.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is the premier post-season all-star game for draft-eligible college players. The week-long schedule provides participants with a first-class professional experience while introducing them to the business of the National Football League.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Running Back Pickett Signs with Miners

Head coach Sean Kugler announced the signing of running back Peytton Pickett out of Arlington Sam Houston High School on Friday.

“Peytton (Pickett) is a very talented back, who has an opportunity to figure into the mix this spring as a mid-year graduate,” Kugler said. “He is a great kid from an excellent family and is an excellent student.”

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound tailback led the Texans in rushing (1,610), total touchdowns (17) and total points (104) during the 2015 season. Pickett gained a career-high 269 yards and scored three touchdowns against Fort Worth Paschal. Pickett rushed for a career-best four scores to open the 2015 season against Manor High School.

Pickett, most importantly, excelled in the classroom, working towards a 3.54 GPA and graduating this December. Pickett will be eligible to participate during the spring season, while he’s the second addition to the program this week after Kugler announced the signing of offensive lineman Tanner Stallings on Dec. 16.

Pickett also received offers from New Mexico, Kansas, SMU and Delaware State.

The remaining signing class will be announced on Wednesday, Feb. 3 on National Signing Day.

FULL BIO Peytton Picket | RB

Led Arlington Sam Houston with 1,610 rushing yards on 224 carries (7.2 avg.) and 16 touchdowns in 10 games played during the 2015 campaign … added six receptions for 125 yards and a score … led Texans in total points with 104 … registered four 200-yard plus games and six multi-touchdown games … gained 780 yards rushing on 101 attempts and nine touchdowns in the first four games of 2015 …

recognized as an honorable mention in Class 6A following senior campaign … opened up senior year with a 266-yard performance and a season-high four scores against Manor High School on Aug. 28, while following with 245 yards on the ground and a pair of scores versus North Mesquite on Sept. 4

hauled in an 83-yard receiving score during a win against Dallas Kimball and added 110 rushing yards and a touchdown … rushed for a season high 269 yards on 27 carries (9.9 avg.) and three touchdowns during a triumph over Fort Worth Paschal on Oct. 16 … rushed for 516 yards on seven touchdowns in eight games during junior season …

named Player of the Game after rushing for 90 yards and two touchdowns during a season-opening victory over Manor High School on Aug. 30, 2014 … earned another Player of the Game honor after gaining 107 yards and a pair of scores against Bowie High School on Sept. 26 … earned 2014 4-6A All-District first team honors.

Miners sign Junior Transfer Stallings

UTEP football signed junior college transfer Tanner Stallings from Hutchinson Community College on Wednesday.

“Tanner fits the mold of the type of player we are trying to bring into our program,” head coach Sean Kugler said. “He has a 3.85 GPA and will be an engineering student. On the field he is physical and relentless. He will be with us for the spring, which will benefit him greatly.”

Stallings played center for the Blue Dragons for two seasons and garnered 2015 KJCCC Football All-Conference second team honors. The offensive linemen was named NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week and Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for leading the Blue Dragons to a 49-14 victory over Garden City.

The Blue Dragons finished the season ranked fourth in NJCAA in rushing yards (2,693) and fifth in rushing touchdowns (32). The rushing offense totaled seven 200-plus yard games, including three 300-plus yard games during the season.

The remaining signing class will be announced on Wednesday, February 3rd on National Signing Day.


Tanner Stallings | OL

  • Played in nine games during the 2015 season … garnered NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week and Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for leading the Blue Dragons to a 49-14 victory over Garden City …
  • part of the offensive unit that paved the way for 493 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns against Garden State … the Blue Dragons ranked fourth in NJCAA in rushing yards (2,693) and fifth in rushing touchdowns (32) … rushing offense totaled seven 200-plus yard games, including three 300-plus yard games during the season …
  • named to the 2015 KJCCC Football All-Conference second team … the unit concluded the season ranking first in the conference in rushing yards per game (257.6), yards per rush (5.5) and rushing first downs (81) … played in six games as a freshman … helped the Blue Dragons secure the 2014 Jayhawk Conference title and guided the team to a 52-7 victory over Hudson Valley in the Salt City Bowl …
  • the team concluded the season ranked second in rushing attempts (583), third in rushing yards (3,289) and rushing first downs (145) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (38) … the rushing offense notched 10 games with 200-plus yards and six with 300-plus yards … played three seasons of varsity football as a defensive and offensive tackle for Sterling High School …
  • as a senior the offensive unit posted six showings of 200-plus yards on the ground, including a 428-yard performance against Ellinwood … named 2013 Capital-Journal All-Class honorable mention … garnered 2014 Hutchinson News Academic honors with a 3.85 GPA.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Three Miners garner C-USA All-Freshman Honors

Irving, Texas Michael Lewis, Warren Redix and Cole Ford were named to the 2015 Conference USA All-Freshman team the league announcedon Tuesday.

Lewis played in all 12 games and made eight starts as a safety. The freshman finished the season with 38 tackles (28 solo). The Trinity, Texas native registered career-highs versus Southern Miss and FIU with six tackles. Lewis finished the season with six showings of four or more tackles. The safety was an integral part of the secondary that held LA Tech to only 307 total yards, which was a season low for the Bulldogs.

Redix played in 11 games seeing action as a wide receiver, running back, kick returner and punt returner. The El Paso native took over punt returner duties during the Miners victory over Rice. The all-around player notched three punt returns versus Old Dominion and notched a career-high 75 yards on four receptions. The freshman concluded the season ranked third on the team in receptions with 29 for 202 yards and added 136 yards (5.9 avg.) on the ground.

Ford saw action in the last nine games of the season. The true freshman was utilized as a blocking tight end, helping the Miners establish a running game later in the season. The Bothell, Washington native caught two passes for 12 yards versus Old Dominion, including a career-long of 14 yards.

Eight Miners were also named 2015 C-USA All-Honorable Mention. Leading the offense was Will Hernandez, who is part of the offensive unit that only allowed 12 sacks in 12 games. UTEP ranks first in the league and is seventh nationally in fewest sacks allowed.

Hayden Plinke was named to the 2015 John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List. The transfer tallied 37 receptions for 405 yards, ranking second in both categories for the Miners. The tight end registered career-high nine receptions for 85 yards against Rice.

Aaron Jones played in the first two games of the season before sustaining a season ending injury. The junior rushed for 209 yards on 32 attempts (6.5 avg.) and a touchdown. The El Paso native gained 139 yards on 17 carries, including a school-record 91-yard sprint for a touchdown and had a 24-yard touchdown catch versus Texas Tech.

On defense, Alvin Jones garnered honors as the sophomore led the team in tackles (93), solo stops (48), sacks (6.5), tackles for loss (14.5) and two safeties. The linebacker is tied for first in the league in tackles for loss and rates sixth in sacks. The El Paso native recorded a three-sack performance against UTSA tying second most in a single game in C-USA.

Nick Usher earned recognition ranking second on the team in sacks (3.5), tackles for loss (10.0) and quarterback hurries (four) – all career highs in a single season and is fourth on the team with a season-best 46 tackles. The defensive end finished the season with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a blocked kick, 3.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.

Team captain, Jimmy Musgrave concluded his senior campaign ranking second on the team with 59 tackles. The linebacker led the team in tackles versus UTSA with a career-high 12. The senior notched 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one pass breakup, two quarterback hurry and one fumble forced.

On special teams, Jay Mattox was 15-for-19 on field goal conversions and rates third in the league in field goal percentage (78.9). The kicker led the Miners in points with 68 and was 23-24 in extra attempts. The sophomore also averaged 63.9 on kickoffs with 31 touchbacks this season.

Newcomer Alan Luna finished his first season ranking 14th in the nation and second in the league in punting averaging 44.4. The sophomore kicked 65 punts for 2,885 yards, including 15 inside the 20-yard line and 21 punts of 50 or more yards. He recorded a season-high in punts (eight), yards (375) and average (46.9) at FIU.

Junior College Signing Day is slated for Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Author: UTEP Athletics

UTEP edges North Texas 20-17 to end the 2015 season

Freshman Warren Redix’s first career touchdown – a 32-yard reception – and Dashone Smith’s 65-yard pick-six surged UTEP to a 20-17 victory over North Texas on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Apogee Stadium.

“We had five turnovers and it wasn’t pretty,” head coach Sean Kugler said. “These kids are resilient, they fought to the end and I’m very proud of them.”

The Miners ended the 2015 season with a 5-7 mark (3-5 in Conference USA), while the Mean Green finished with one victory (1-11, 1-7 C-USA). It was the second year in a row UTEP won its final regular season game.

Redix’s go-ahead score came at 7:51 remaining in the contest. With the score 17-13 after a Cortney Finney 13-yard fumble return for a score, the Miners used a jet sweep to the right as Kavika Johnson pitched the ball to Redix who cleared the edge and took it to the house.

North Texas opened the scoring with a Trevor Moore 28-yard field goal. Jaquan White fumbled on UTEP’s prior possession that helped set up the score.

UTEP took a 6-3 lead, as it opened the second half with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in Johnson’s first-career rushing score – a five-yard run. The Miners ran the ball on all eight plays, led by Warren Redix’s career-long run of 27 yards that put his squad at the North Texas 29-yard line. Johnson added a 19-yard rush, while Jeremiah Laufasa rushed for 19 yards. However, Jay Mattox missed the PAT.

“We put Kavika in to spark the offense and he did a very good job of that,” Kugler noted. “So we stuck with him in the second half and our offense did a good job.”

UTEP gained only 84 first-half yards, but finished with 256 total yards in the game.

Tre Johnson gave the Mean Green a 10-6 lead when he returned a punt 53 yards during the middle of the third quarter. UTEP answered with Smith’s pick six, giving the away team a 13-10 advantage in the third period at the 5:32 mark.

With the score 20-17 in favor of UTEP and 4:18 remaining in the game, North Texas’ DaMarcus Smith ran for a 32-yard gain to the UTEP 30-yard line. But a targeting penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty knocked back the Mean Green to its own 40-yard line. UTEP forced a turnover on downs on the drive to help seal the victory.

Johnson led the rushing attack with 75 yards and a score, while Laufasa grinded out 62 yards. UTEP rushed for 187 yards on 48 attempts. Redix led the team with 42 yards on three catches and a score.

Despite the offense turning the ball over five times, the UTEP defense yielded season-lows in total yards (205) and first downs (10).

“It was a credit to our defense playing hard the entire time,” Kugler said.

Trey Brown led the defense with seven tackles, while Jimmy Musgrave, who knocked out starting quarterback Andrew McNulty with a rib injury, tallied five stops. Roy Robertson-Harris chipped in with a team-leading 2.0 tackles for loss and Alvin Jones, who left the game with an injury, registered a sack early in the contest. Jones finished with 6.5 sacks in 2015.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Miners drop Heartbreaker to LA Tech 17 to 15

The UTEP football team dropped a heartbreaker at the Sun Bowl Saturday afternoon to LA Tech by a tally of 17-15. The loss drops the Miners to 4-7 (2-5 C-USA) on the year while the Bulldogs improve to 8-3 (6-1 C-USA).

“I’m pleased with how our guys have fought all year long,” UTEP head coach Sean Kugler said. “I told them how proud of them I was. I love this team and the whole team fought.”

UTEP was able to hold a potent LA Tech offense to its lowest point total of the year and had a chance to secure the victory with 1:49 left in the game. Wind, which played a huge factor all day long, may have influenced Jay Mattox’s 32-yard field goal that sailed wide left. If the kick was converted, it would have given the Miners a 18-17 lead with less than two minutes to play.

Freshman running back TK Powell was an instrumental cog in the UTEP time of possession domination; the Miners possessed the ball for 37:49. Powell rushed for a career-high 124 yards and had gains of 37, 36 and 14 yards. The 124 yards by Powell and 226 yards by the team were the most yards the vaunted LA Tech defense has conceded all year. Powell’s 37-yard rush in the second quarter was the longest rushing play allowed by the Bulldogs this season.

The 226 yards rushing by UTEP was the most since they rambled for 269 yards against NM State on week three (Sept. 19). Powell becomes the second player for UTEP to run for 100-plus yards this year (Aaron Jones-Texas Tech, Sept. 12).

la tech at utep-2The defense came out with a vengeance on “Senior Day.” The Miners limited the prolific LA Tech attack to only 307 total yards, which was a season low for the UTEP defense and season low for the LA Tech offense.

The defense also forced its second safety of the year when Alvin Jones dropped LA Tech running back Kenneth Dixon in the endzone in the third quarter. It was the first safety that LA Tech has allowed since 2011.

LA Tech started the game with a 13 play, 73-yard drive that resulted in a 19-yard field goal by Jonathan Barnes. The Miners began their scoring regimen in the second quarter with a 12 play, 87-yard touchdown drive that ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Kavika Johnson to Cole Freytag.

Mattox added a 37-yard field goal just before the half that pushed the UTEP lead to 10-3, but the Bulldogs didn’t go quietly into halftime. LA Tech went 82 yards on six plays to even up the score when Jeff Driskel connected with Carlos Henderson for a 16-yard touchdown.

LA Tech struck quick in the third quarter on its first drive of the second half when Driskel hooked up with Henderson (54-yard TD) for his second score of the game.

la tech at utep-6The UTEP defense was the beneficiary of excellent special teams play by Alan Luna. The freshman punter was able to drop three punts inside the 20 and two were downed inside the 10-yard line.

After UTEP downed a punt at the seven-yard line midway through the third quarter, Gino Bresolin and Jones combined for back-to-back tackle for losses, the second of which Jones dropped the Dixon in the endzone for a safety.

Mattox knocked in his second field goal of the game early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead 17-15 in favor of LA Tech. Mattox has now made 15 field goals this year, which is a career high.

Gino Bresolin then caused some havoc on the defensive line when Dixon fumbled a ball with 9:20 left in the game. Bresolin pounced on the ball and gave UTEP an unbelievable opportunity, but the offense was unable to cash it in.

The defense held Dixon to his lowest rushing total of the year with 39 yards on 19 carries.

The Miners had one last offensive attempt left with 44 seconds to play in the game, but the LA Tech defense proved stingy, and didn’t allow UTEP to get in field-goal range.

UTEP will head to North Texas next weekend to play the Mean Green on Nov. 28.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Old Dominion pulls away late, downs UTEP 31-21

NORFOLK, Va. – Mack Leftwich threw a trio of touchdowns, but UTEP fell to Old Dominion, 31-21, in front of a sold out crowd (20,118) at S.B. Ballard Stadium on a brisk Saturday afternoon.

The Miners (4-6, 2-4 Conference USA), with the loss, will need to win their next two contests to have a shot at bowl eligibility, while the Monarchs (5-5, 3-3 C-USA) are one win closer to eligibility.

“We were too inconsistent,” head coach Sean Kugler said. “Old Dominion did a good job in the second half of shutting down our offense and forced a lot of three-and-outs. That put us in a tough spot and we were playing catch up from there on.”

The Miners were outscored 14-6 in the second half, as the Monarchs rattled off 196 yards of total offense, including 78 yards on the ground.

With the score 15-10 in favor of UTEP, Old Dominion quarterback David Washington found Zach Pascal on a 26-yard score with six seconds remaining in the first half, while connecting with Jonathon Durhart on an 11-yard touchdown toss with 1:02 left in the third quarter to make the score 24-15.

Washington threw for 291 yards on 26-of-42 passing and Pascal tied a school record with 12 receptions for 145 yards.

“(Washington) is very athletic and difficult to deal with,” Kugler said. “He makes great plays with his feet.”

The Miners took an early 6-0 lead, as they opened the contest with 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive that resulted in a Tyler Batson seven-yard touchdown reception. True freshman running back Treyvon Hughes highlighted the drive by grinding out a career-long 19-yard run to help set up the score. The extra point attempt was failed after a bad snap to the holder.

The Monarchs answered, as Chris Kirtley connected on a 23-yard field goal attempt, making the score 6-3.

Autrey Golden, who needs one kickoff return for a touchdown to tie the NCAA record, ran back a 61-yard return on the following kickoff that helped set up a Jay Mattox 22-yard field goal and a 9-3 UTEP lead.

Ray Lawry, the C-USA rushing leader entering the contest, gave his squad the lead 10-9 at the beginning of the second quarter. On a third and four, Lawry rambled 42 yards to the end zone, as Washington made a key block at the beginning of the play.

UTEP would take the lead again, but for the last time. Leftwich led the Miners on a seven-play, 51-yard drive that ended with a Jaquan White 12-yard touchdown reception.

Leftwich tied his career high with the three scoring passes on 21-of-38 passing for 193 yards and two interceptions. Warren Redix tallied a career-best 75 yards on four receptions, while Jaquan White tied his career high with a pair of touchdown receptions.

But the Miners had multiple drops on key possessions, while Leftwich was sacked twice – both on play-action drop backs.

“We were a bit inconsistent, had some drops and other times we had guys open but got sacked,” Kugler said.

Jeremy Cox put the game away with a 42-yard scamper, giving the Monarchs the lead 31-15. Cox led the rushing attack with 84 yards on 15 attempts.

Old Dominion tallied 441 yards of total offense to UTEP’s 305 yards.

UTEP will close out its home portion of the 2015 schedule against C-USA West rival LA Tech (7-3, 5-1 C-USA) on Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. in the Sun Bowl.  The 2015 senior class will be honored following the contest.

Author:  UTEP Athletics

UTEP to tackle Rice Friday night in the Sun Bowl

The UTEP football team will take on Rice in a Lone Star State Showdown on Friday night (Nov. 6) in the Sun Bowl.  Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. MT.

UTEP (3-5, 1-3 Conference USA) and Rice (4-4, 2-2 C-USA) will face each other on a Friday night for the second consecutive season. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Both squads are coming off losses to league foes, as UTEP fell at Southern Miss (34-13) and Rice was beaten by LA Tech (42-17).

Friday is also “Military Night” with a special halftime salute to members of the armed forces past and present.

Friday’s contest will mark the 300th game played in the Sun Bowl. The Owls defeated the Miners, 31-13, on Nov. 21, 2014 in Houston. The contest is the first non-Saturday game for the Miners in the Sun Bowl since hosting Houston on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2011. UTEP is looking for its first win against Rice since the 2010 season.

UTEP’s contest against Rice will mark game no. 300 in the Sun Bowl. The Miners’ first-ever game in the stadium came on Sept. 21, 1963, a 34-7 victory over North Texas State. UTEP is 132-164-3 all-time in the Sun Bowl. During that time, UTEP is 4-4 versus Rice in the stadium.

Please note that due to Friday being a regular class day, there will be no inner campus tailgating for this game.  Outer campus lots will open for parking and tailgating at 4 p.m. on FridayRV lots will open at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

UTEP’s final home game of 2015 is on Nov. 21 against LA Tech.

Buy one ticket, get one free for Friday’s game.  Single-game prices start at just $10.  Call 747-5234 for tickets.

Author: UTEP Athletics


Southern Miss beats UTEP 34 to 13

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Nick Mullens threw four touchdowns (23-of-33 for 277 yards) and DJ Thompson hauled in 10 receptions for 112 yards and a pair of scores, as Southern Miss defeated UTEP 34-13 on a rainy Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

Southern Miss (6-3, 4-1 Conference USA) reached bowl eligibility, while UTEP dropped to 1-3 in C-USA play (3-5 overall).

A lightning delay initially stopped the game, but a tornado warning ensued, delaying the contest for more than an hour. The game resumed with 14:54 left in the game. The Miners, following the delay, took the ball and drove 57 yards on nine plays that ended with a LaQuintus Dowell one-yard touchdown run, that made the score 27-13.

With less than 10 minutes to play, UTEP forced an incomplete pass on a Traun Roberson breakup on second and six, but the Golden Eagles converted the third down on a Michael Thomas 39-yard reception.

On the same drive, Southern Miss put the game away when punter Tyler Sarrazin ran for an eight-yard touchdown on a fake field goal.

The Golden Eagles struck first with an eight-play, 63-yard drive that resulted in a Mullens 11-yard touchdown pass to Thomas. Traun Roberson wrapped up the receiver at the one-yard line and came close to batting the ball down.

The Miners answered with a 17-yard drive  (77 yards) that resulted in a 37-yard Jay Mattox field goal, making the score 7-3. The offense chewed up 8:49 off the clock on the drive.

With the score 7-3, UTEP forced a turnover when Nick Usher recorded a sack and forced fumble on Mullens at the UTEP 28-yard line. Gino Bresolin recovered the ball, but the Miners couldn’t convert the turnover into points as Mattox missed on a 50-yard field goal attempt with 48 seconds remaining in the half.

Southern Miss took advantage of the missed opportunity and drove the ball 68 yards on three plays. The drive took all of 33 seconds, as Mullens found Jalen Richard on a screen pass for a nine-yard score. The drive was highlighted by a Richard 38-yard run into UTEP territory and a Michael Thomas reception in triple coverage at the four-yard line. The extra point was missed, making the score 13-3.

Mattox also connected on a 26-yard field goal at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 14 points (20-6).

Jeremiah Laufasa registered career highs in receiving yards (54) on a trio of catches, including a career-long 39-yard reception. Cole Freytag also registered a career-best three receptions for 41 yards.

Alvin Jones led the defense with eight tackles – his fourth time leading the team in 2015. Roy Robertson-Harris registered seven stops, while Usher and Kelvin Fisher Jr. each tallied six tackles.

The Miners will return to the Sun Bowl, as they play host to Rice on Friday, Nov. 6. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. MT and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Author: UTEP Athletics

UTEP Football Completes Final Scrimmage of 2015

UTEP head football coach Sean Kugler and his staff will make a few final decisions regarding the depth chart, as the Miners wrapped up the final scrimmage on Saturday morning before the Sept. 5 kickoff at Arkansas on ESPNU (1:30 p.m. MT).

The offense tallied 411 total yards and scored seven touchdowns, but the defense was no slouch as it made key plays to halt the offense during different scenarios.

The game scenarios included: move the ball drill, which started at the offense’s own 25-yard line, the red zone offense at the 20-yard line, gotta have it (a fourth-and-six from the 50-yard line), the two-minute drill from the offense’s own 35-yard line, backed up at own one-yard line and the four-minute drill (running the clock out with 2:20 to play).

Garrett Simpson led the Miners to their only score during the move-the-ball drill. Simpson was 4-for-5 for 42 yards and a 10-yard touchdown strike to Cole Freytag.

UTEP quarterbacks combined for 231 yards on 24-of-48 passing and three touchdowns with zero interceptions. Mack Leftwich threw for 71 yards (8-of-18), Ryan Metz was 4-of-11 for 46 yards, and Kavika Johnson went 8-of-14 for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

Johnson mostly ran the red zone offense as he found Jaquan White for a pair of 20-yard scores. White caught three passes for 58 yards. Warren Redix paced the squad with four receptions for 51 yards.

Former UTEP basketball player Cedrick Lang, now playing tight end in his fifth year, hauled in a 10-yard pass from Simpson. Freytag tallied 28 yards on two catches while Autrey Golden registered 38 yards on three receptions.

The Miners’ rushing attack combined for 180 yards on 37 carries and four touchdowns. T.K. Powell led the charge with 57 yards on eight carries, including a three-yard plunge into the end zone. Johnson added two scores on the ground, one for two yards and the second for five yards. Metz found the end zone on a 20-yard sprint during a red zone drill.

Jeremiah Laufasa scored the first rushing touchdown of the day on a two-yard rush and Treyvon Hughes tallied 40 yards on five carries.

On the defense, Kalon Beverly led the squad with nine tackles, while recovering a fumble he forced. Adrian Hynson tallied five stops; Jimmy Musgrave registered four tackles, while Kelvin Fisher Jr. added three tackles and a pass breakup. Brain Madunezim recorded the only sack of the morning. Roy Robertson-Harris got into the action with two tackles for loss and Cooper Foster tallied a tackle, quarterback hurry and a pass breakup.

UTEP will open the home portion of the schedule on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. against Incarnate Word. For season tickets, call 915.747.6150.

Author: UTEP

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