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Home | Tag Archives: utep football (page 9)

Tag Archives: utep football

Miners Drop Second Straight After Rice Runs Them Over 31 – 14

Coming off a 49-point beatdown to nationally ranked Oklahoma, the UTEP Miners had little to show in their home opener, falling to Conference USA foe Rice 31-14.

The Miners were in a 17-0 deficit before finding the end zone late in the third quarter after quarterback, Ryan Metz, hit a wide open Warren Redix on a 44-yard play action pass for the touchdown.

That would be the lone highlight of the night for the Miners as Rice went on to add a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter halting UTEP’s comeback attempt.

“We couldn’t generate first downs, we were missing tackles,” UTEP head coach, Sean Kugler said. “It was still a 10 point game in the third quarter and they go on a 90-yard drive that was probably the back breaker right there.”

UTEP was held to 26 rushing yards on 24 attempts while Rice had their way gaining 306 yards on 49 rushes.

Rice went on to add injury to insult, forcing a couple of UTEP offensive linemen – center Derron Gatgewood and tackle Greg Long – to leave the game. Metz was also hurt in what is an apparent shoulder injury on his non-throwing arm.

Kugler did not have a total count on injured players following the game saying they were “very significant and some season ending.”

Junior wide receiver Kavika Johnson attributed the loss to the team’s lack of energy, saying that it “boils down to the individual” players.

“I just know that it’s up to us, the leaders, the captains to take charge of that…we have to come together as a team,” Johnson said. “It’s not the coaches, it’s not anybody else, it’s us–it’s our team and we have to demand that from each other.”

The Miners have a quick turnaround as they await Arizona on Friday, September 15 – a game that will compete with both high school football and the El Paso Chihuahuas playoff series.

“You go back to work, you find out about character of young men, find out about character of coaches,” Kugler said. “It’s two games into the season so you go right back to work and we don’t have much time to think about it because we have a PAC-12 team coming in here Friday night.”

ADDITIONAL MINER CONTENT: Herald Post Sports In-Depth

Monster’s Musings: Miners’ Woes Continue – Mando ‘the Monster’ Medina

Story in Many Pics: Miners Drop Home Opener to Rice 31-14 – Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta

Rice Spoils UTEP’s CUSA Opener – Staff Report

Story in Many Pics: Miners Drop Home Opener to Rice 31-14

Saturday night was UTEP’s Conference USA Opener, a home opener and a chance to show off their new helmet and uniform combination, but the Rice Owls crashed the party with a 31-14 victory.

“I don’t have a lot to say,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said.  “We got beat soundly in all phases.  Hats off to Rice, they were the better team today, they were the more physical team today.  They ran the ball extremely well and we didn’t.  We dropped balls, we fumbled the ball, we didn’t tackle, we missed a lot of tackles in the backfield.  It was a poor effort on our part, and it starts with me.  Hats off to David Bailiff and his squad.”

Our very own Andres Acosta was there and brings your his view of the game in this ‘Story in Many Pics’

Rice Owls vs UTEP Miners, Sun Bowl Stadium, September 9th, 2017

Monster’s Musings: Miners’ Woes Continue

After a devastating loss to Oklahoma last week, The UTEP Miners were hoping to bounce back with a win over the Rice Owls.

Unfortunately for the 19,136 fans in attendance at the Sun Bowl on Saturday evening, they saw the Miners get dominated by the Owls with by a final score of 31-14.

UTEP wore an all-white uniform, that featured the debut of a very sweet looking white helmet with a navy and white pickaxe; sadly the new uniform didn’t make the Miners play better.

The stats don’t lie, after the 2nd quarter, the Miner offense – led by Ryan Metz only gained a total of 51 yards. That was not a misprint51 yards of total offense in the 1st half. Rice on the other hand gained 192 yards of total offense and had a 10-0 lead.

Things didn’t get better for the Miners in the 3rd quarter, as they couldn’t get anything going on offense and the defense gave up a 52 yard touchdown pass from QB Sam Glaesmann to WR Aaron Cephus, which was part of a 4 play 77 yard drive making the score 17-0.

To say that the Miner offense was struggling during this game is an understatement. Other than on the first drive of the game UTEP didn’t get past the 50 yard line until 5 minutes left to go in the 3rd quarter. And on the very next play on 4th and 1, Ryan Metz connected with Warren Redix for a 44 yard touchdown pass on a play action play which made the score 17-7.

But it was a little too late as Rice continued to dominate on the ground as they added another touchdown when WR Jordan Myers scored on a 3 yard run making the score 24-7

Bottom line is that UTEP needed to come in to this game and be competitive against Rice especially after they got trounced by Oklahoma and that’s not what we got.

The offense was nonexistent for most of the game the defense allowed Rice to average over 6 yards per carry and when the offense did decide to show up, it was a little too late.

Sure, the Miners added another touchdown towards the end of the game, but Rice added another one of their own.

The most shocking thing to me about the game was the crowd. Sure it was announced that there were 19,136 fans there but if you were at the game you know that’s not how many people were really there. I say realistically there was about 17,500 people at the Sun Bowl.

What concerns me is that the crowd looked liked what we’ve come to expect during the latter part of the year, but this was the Miners first home game!

UTEP needed a good showing tonight so fans could be jacked up about the Arizona Wildcats coming in to the Sun Bowl this Friday night. After what I saw I don’t know that many fans that think that the Miners will have a shot against the Wildcats and might decide to go see high school football or the El Paso Chihuahuas who are in the middle of a great playoff run.

The Miners can still fix the problems that they’re having, remember this was barley the 2nd game of the season, but they need to have a BETTER outing against Arizona or the season could be lost as far as the fans are concerned.

Author: Mando ‘the Monster’ Medina – El Paso Herald-Post Sports Columnist  | Previous stories HERE.

ADDITIONAL MINER CONTENT via Herald Post Sports In-Depth

Story in Many Pics: Miners Drop Home Opener to Rice 31-14 – Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta

Rice Spoils UTEP’s CUSA Opener – Staff Report

Miners Drop Second Straight After Rice Runs Them Over 31–14 – Daniel Ornelas

H-P Sports In Depth: Coach Kugler Talks UTEP-OU, Rice Game Preps

UTEP Football Head Coach Sean Kugler spoke to the media Monday, talking about Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma and this coming week’s contest vs Rice.

(On Last Week’s Loss at Oklahoma)

“We faced an outstanding Oklahoma team and did not do the things necessary to give ourselves the chance to compete.  We talked about not turning it over.  We did have one turnover.  Kevin Dove had a fumble on a third and short situation.  We didn’t run the ball as efficiently as we wanted to.  We did at times.  I thought Walter Dawn had some outstanding runs in that game.  But there were other times I felt we really left yards on the field, where the back could’ve put his foot on the ground and gone north and south.  We’ve got to get better at that moving on.  Our goal is always 4.5 [yards] per rush.  We were only at 3.5 against a very stout front.

“We talked about catching the catchables.  We had three drops in that game that all ended series, two of them on third downs.  We can’t allow that to happen.  The thing I was most disappointed with from an offensive standpoint, we had some pre-snap penalties and assignment errors.  We had two formation penalties where the linemen weren’t set when we were putting things in motion.  We’ve got to be cleaner with that.  We did have a holding call on short yardage where the ball bounced.  I probably put that more on the back than the young man who was holding.  We did have one clock issue.  In the first game, you would expect to have a couple of those things.  But against a team like that, you can’t afford to be in a first and 15.

“Some positives offensively, again, the play of Walter Dawn.  I really thought Ryan Metz was efficient.  I didn’t think he had a lot of help around him as far as drops and those type things, but I thought the protection was clean.  We really only gave up one sack and that was more the left tackle getting chipped by the back, it wasn’t necessarily him getting beat.  So I thought there were some positives up front moving forward.  Defensively, they dominated us.  They were 7-for-7 in the red zone.  We really had difficulty containing and covering their tight end.  That guy is a future first round draft pick.  He is one of the best I’ve seen at the collegiate level.

“Their quarterback is outstanding and it showed in that game as a guy who buys time with his legs, he is very patient and very poised and he had some outstanding deep ball throws as well.  We didn’t do a great job stopping the run.  They were 4.7 [yards] per clip.  I mentioned the quarterback’s efficiency and really, the only time he has been inefficient was if we got a lot of pressure on him.  We only had one sack and two quarterback hits, not enough on that guy.

“A big negative that came out of this game that will carry into the next game, Alvin Jones was ejected in the second half for a targeting foul.  Anytime you go up near the head area, you’re putting your fate in the referee’s hands.  Unfortunately for us, we not only lost him for the remainder of the game, we also lose him for the first half of the Rice game, which will be an opportunity for somebody like Jamar Smith or Treyvon Hughes to step up and pick up that flag for the first half.  We did not force any turnovers and as I mentioned we lost one, so we’re -1 for the year.  Probably the most disappointing thing was we had a lot of missed tackles on defense.  Guys that are usually surefire tacklers, again, a lot of that had to do with Oklahoma and their talent but a lot of that had to do with not pulling the trigger on certain plays, which we’ve got to get better at moving forward.

“I thought special teams was a positive.  I think Luna was outstanding, he had a 44-yard average.  The coverage was outstanding, he had a 38.2 net.  He got three inside the 20 and it really should’ve been four, Michael Lewis stumbled on that and it would’ve been easily downed at the one.  So Luna had a great day, he was the special teams player of the week and received the Top Gun Award.  Punt return, we only had the one return that Terry Juniel fair caught, so nothing there.  Kickoff cover, I thought the coverage was good.  We had one touchback.  You saw Viles’ strength of his leg on that.  We did have one return that they took from inside the end zone and they only returned it 23 yards, so the coverage was good there.  Kickoff return, I thought there was great communication as far as when to return and hold it back.  We had two returns for 45 yards and a long of 23 with Keynan Foster.  I think that tandem with him and Warren Redix will be good for the future.  And we had no field goal opportunities in that game.

“Again, you look back on it, time of possession was not in our favor and the turnover battle was not in our favor.  They did an outstanding job on third downs, 57 percent, where we were at 33 percent.  If I had to look at one positive, most of the players in our program did get the opportunity to compete, and it gave us a chance to really evaluate a lot of the younger guys who have not been in that arena moving forward.”

(On Rice)

“They’re sitting in the same boat as us.  They had a game the week before and actually had this week as a bye week.  They lost to a very powerful Stanford team in Australia.  This is a team that got after us towards the end of last year.  The same type of situations, they didn’t do a good job against Stanford with time of possession or third downs, but this team has a lot of returning talent.  Their quarterback is new, he’s a redshirt freshman.  I feel they’ve upgraded there from an athletic standpoint.  You’re seeing these guys run a little bit more option with him.  He’s got a pretty nice deep ball and they’ve got some targets he can throw it to.  This kid was an All-State quarterback in high school, he was a 3,000-yard passer.  Against Stanford he was 7-of-18 for 69 yards.  He was sacked two times versus Stanford.

“Both running backs are back and they are both compact guys, built about the same.  #45 Sam Stewart, he had 500 yards and six touchdowns last year.  Against Stanford he had 82 yards and a 4.7 average.  He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, he had three catches for 41 yards.  This Walter kid, he’s about the same size 5-8, 210, he had 345 yards last year and five touchdowns.  He had three carries for 45 yards [against Stanford].  So they are kind of working those two in the rotation.  They are very similar backs, hard charging backs, difficult to tackle.

“Much like the last team we played, Rice has all of the starters coming back in their offensive line.  We felt they were a solid offensive line last year.   They got after us in the trenches and probably the best one is an All-Conference player, Trey Martin, their center.  He sets the front and makes all the calls, he’s very athletic and capable.  Rice always seems to have a taller receiver, each year they have a guy who’s 6-4 or 6-5 who they throw some fade balls to.  Collectively as a group they’ve got four receivers over 6-3, big outside receivers in particular #18, he’s a guy that had five receptions against us last year.

“Defensively, it’s kind of unique, they don’t list a lot of starters coming back but they have a lot of guys who were injured and out last year.  They gained quite a few guys who played in 2015 back from injuries.  They have 15 players who have starting experience on the defensive side of the ball.  Their best player on defense, and probably the best player on the team who was their team MVP last year is Ellerbee, a linebacker.

It seems like this guy has been there for five years now.  He is an All-Conference player, he led Conference USA in tackles last year.  This kid has got a motor and it showed against Stanford.  He had 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit against Stanford to start off his season well.

“Another guy we have a lot of respect for is #44.  Again, this is a team that transitions from a four-down look to a three-down look.  They are showing more odd pressures this year.  #44 is a guy that they can line up as a defensive end, he’s also the guy that they can line up as an outside linebacker, much like Oklahoma did last week with #31.  He’s got good size, 6-2, 250, he’s got a high motor, he had three tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack versus Stanford last week.  He had some good get offs on their tackles.  He’s a guy we’re going to have to handle.

Another guy we have a lot of respect for is their defensive lineman #90, 6-5, 250.  He had 41 tackles and five sacks last year.  He is a very high motor guy, he plays hard on every snap, and they gained back a hard-hitting safety, #17 Ibe.  He is a physical hitter, he had five tackles in the opener against Stanford.  So new scheme, new coordinator, probably from a schematic standpoint very similar to what we saw at Oklahoma, a lot of odd pressures, some four down looks as well and we’re going to have to be dialed in on that.

“Special teams, their punter is also their kicker.  His name is Fox.  He averaged 40.7 and against Stanford he had a long of 62 so he’s got a capable leg.  He had one touchback and a bounced kick on kickoffs.  He had 25 touchbacks in 2016, so he’s another strong-legged kicker that we’ll see.  The punt returner, Ellerbe #25, he had one return for 12 yards on punt return.  And then he had a 29 return against Stanford.  So they have a capable returner.

These guys always play hard on special teams.  Rice is always a well-coached team.  I think David Bailiff gets the most out of his players year in and year out.  It’s going to be a battle.  We’re going to need the fans here for our home opener.  Our players are going to be excited about playing in the Sun Bowl in front of the home fans, and I hope everybody turns out to support our team.”

(On paring down the defensive rotation)

“You’ll see some guys out there more, getting more reps and you’ll some guys’ reps diminish because of performance.  Usually, the jump from your first game to your second game is the most drastic when you change personnel.  Again, we’ll hopefully gain back [Jayson] VanHook as well.  That gives us a little more depth at the linebacker spot.  I did feel good about what Treyvon Hughes and Jamar Smith did when they went in there, so it gives me a little more confidence that when we go through a first half without Alvin Jones, we can have somebody step up in there.  Defensive line, some of the young guys that really took a step forward, Trace Mascorro played against an All-Conference center and really did an outstanding job.  And Dedrick Simpson was really active and in on a lot of plays.  Those guys really stood out.  I thought our corners held up well against them.  The deep ball issues that we had were more from the safety position.  But our cornerbacks looked like they belonged out there.”

(On evaluating the pass rush at Oklahoma)

“We didn’t generate a lot of pressure, we only got two quarterback hits and the one sack.  We probably missed another sack too.  We’ve got to generate more pressure than that.  Then again, you’ve got potentially five guys off that offensive line that will be playing on Sundays.  So that’s the best offensive line that we will see in 2017.”

(On preparing for Rice’s defense)

“When you look at last year’s film, you just kind of evaluate personnel.  Really you only have one game to go by this year, and it was a mixture of four down and three down.  So we’ll prepare for that.  Again, we saw a lot of that against Oklahoma.  We see a lot of that from our own defense in training camp.  We have had a lot of preparation versus the odd front, and we have had preparation versus the over and under fronts as well.  And their personnel is good.  So that’s going to be the main challenge, us matching up versus their personnel.  But I really feel this game is going to be won up front on both sides of the ball, offensive and defensive lines.  We’re going to challenge both of our groups in this game and they’re going to have to get the job done for us to have a chance to win.”

(On opening conference play early)

“Urgency is a good word and intensity is a good word, because anytime you get into conference play it’s for real.  To have a conference game your second game, yeah it is the earliest I’ve had a conference game as a player or a coach.  It gets your focus early, knowing that you could be 1-0 in conference or 0-1 in conference right after week two.  It does get your attention.  Rice is a team that got after us last year.  We have to get after them this year to have a chance to win this game.  The fact we’re playing in front of our home folks, we’re going to need their support as well.  Our players love playing in front of the Miner fans.  It’s going to be an exciting game.”

(On evaluating Ryan Metz’s performance at Oklahoma)

“He did a good job getting us in the right audibles when the box was outnumbered and threw some hitches and those type things.  Two of those completions were taken back from penalties.  Three of his completions were taken back from drops, and he still had an efficient game.  I was pleased with Ryan’s play, in fact I was pleased with all three quarterbacks.  What I said at the beginning of camp, I’m very comfortable with all three quarterbacks.  I think we can win with all three quarterbacks.  And Ryan didn’t show anything that made me think differently in that game.”

(On the offensive line’s play at Oklahoma)

“They did do an outstanding job early and even at the end of the game, there were some holes there and that’s probably where I was a little bit frustrated.  There were some balls that bounced that could’ve probably stuck in there, just like they did early in the game.  And that’s what happens when you’ve got young backs.  They need to see this on film and see ‘I just need to stick my foot in the ground and get the yardage that I can.’  You saw Walter Dawn bounce a short yardage play, which is a no-no, and he ended up losing yards and we ended up getting a holding call on that.  You just have to stick it in there in those circumstances.  The one positive in short yardage, I think Kevin Dove is an outstanding short yardage back.  He can get hit at the line of scrimmage and still create a pile because of his strength and moving forward, that’s probably the guy that you’ll see.”

(On the first scoring drive at Oklahoma)

“We didn’t capitalize on that.  But it was an outstanding drive, it was efficient.  Ryan was efficient, he completed two third downs on that.  Warren Redix made a good play to keep that drive going.  Walter made two outstanding runs.  And Walter has the ability to do that.  He’s a fiery player, he’s a tough player.  When he hits the seams, and just keep in mind he has been at running back for one game and had some outstanding runs.  He’ll get better and better as he sees these things on film and can correct his errors.”

(On the injury situation)

“Just a couple of banged up guys with shoulder injuries, I don’t think anything that will keep them out of this game.  So I think we came out of it relatively healthy.  If you’d told me before the game that we’d have these injuries, I would’ve taken it.  We didn’t have any devastating injuries.  The main thing is losing Alvin for the first half.  The good thing is we don’t lose him for the whole game.  He’ll be frothing at the mouth at halftime to come out and try to make up for lost time.  Somebody is going to have to step up and pick up the slack.  Jamar Smith and Treyvon Hughes are going to have to do the job inside.

(On Jayson Van Hook’s status for Saturday)

“We’re going to ease him into the process this week and do some contact drills with him and see where he holds up.  That would be an added bonus for us, because this kid can really fly.  And they run a lot of option, so it would be a big benefit having an edge guy who can run like he does.”

(On the team’s mental state following the Oklahoma loss)

“I think they’re excited and ready to go.  I think they were embarrassed by their play.  If you go into the locker room and they’re happy after a game like that, then you’ve got major issues.  They were down and they were upset with how they played, the players and coaches and everybody.  I think this is a team that’s very unified.  I think this is a team that you’ll see bounce back.  There are going to be ups and downs throughout the year.  We started out with a tough game, we didn’t match up against that team and we didn’t help ourselves with some of the production and play that we had in that game.  Where we’re at right now, we’re 0-1 and playing a conference team coming to our place and our stadium.  Our kids will be energized and ready to go.”

(On what Rice has gone through the last couple of weeks)

“I don’t know if it’s going to be a problem for them, they can also rally around that and use that as fuel.  I would imagine that’s what they’re doing is try to rally around that.  We’ve got players on our own team that have issues in Houston.  We’ve got one kid, Kevin Dove, who had horses back there and lost every single horse in their horse farm.  Our thoughts go out to David Bailiff and his team.  I can’t imagine some of the things that they’re going through.  But they are coming here to play a football game and we are here to play a football game.  After the game, certainly he and I will get together and talk, because we’re good friends.”

(On his relationship with David Bailiff)

“You just talk.  You go off each other’s experience.  David went through the same year that we did, he had a ton of injuries.  He went through the same thing.  You just talk about, is there a different way that we can practice?  Is there a different way that we can handle this situation?  You rely on each other.  Ultimately it is competitive, but there are friendships and there are guys you have respect for, and certainly David Bailiff is one of those.”

***

MINERS TO OPEN HOME SLATE AGAINST C-USA FOE RICE

UTEP will begin its home schedule with its Conference USA lid lifter as West Division foe Rice makes its way to the Sun City on Sept. 9 for a 6 p.m. kickoff in the Sun Bowl. The Miners and Owls are both coming off losses to top-25 opponents.

Rice fell to no. 14 Stanford, 62-7, in Australia on Aug. 27, while UTEP was defeated at no. 7 Oklahoma 56-7 on Sept. 2. Walter Dawn Jr. rushed for a career-high 56 yards on seven attempts with a touchdown against the Sooners. Dawn Jr. picked up 49 of those yards on four carries during UTEP’s lone scoring drive.

The Miners will play in the friendly confines of the Southwest for the next three weeks as they host Pac-12 opponent Arizona on Friday, Sept. 15 and will face I-10 rival NM State in Las Cruces on Sept. 23.

HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF EFFORTS

UTEP Athletics is making an effort to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. UTEP Marketing will manage bins that will be set up at the Sun Bowl to collect emergency kit items (water, blankets, towels, Band Aids, antibiotic ointments, baby diapers, baby food/formula, shampoo/conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste/toothbrush and sanitizer) at Saturday’s game. Bins will also be set up at Memorial Gym and University Field respectively on Friday (Sept. 8) when UTEP volleyball hosts Samford and UTEP soccer hosts Incarnate Word.

SERIES HISTORY

Rice has won nine of the last 11 games between the Texas rivals and leads the series 13-7. The Miners took a 5-4 edge in the El Paso ledger with a 24-21 victory over the Owls on Nov. 6, 2015.

UTEP IN C-USA OPENERS

The Miners are 5-7 in Conference USA openers (4-3 home, 1-4 away). UTEP won its first five C-USA openers from 2005-09, and has dropped its last seven. The Miners are 7-5 in C-USA home openers (won six straight from 2005-10, lost five of last six).

UTEP IN C-USA HOME GAMES

UTEP is 25-23 in C-USA home games since joining the league for the 2005 season (3-1 in 2005, 2-2 in 2006, 1-3 in 2007, 3-1 in 2008, 3-1 in 2009, 3-1 in 2010, 1-3 in 2011, 1-3 in 2012, 1-3 in 2013, 4-0 in 2014, 2-2 in 2015, 1-3 in 2016). The Miners are 8-8 in C-USA home games under coach Sean Kugler.

OPENING WITH RICE

Rice has never served as UTEP’s first Conference USA opponent. The Miners have faced Rice in the month of November nine times in 12 years in C-USA, and in 15 of the last 20 seasons dating back to their Western Athletic Conference days. This is the first meeting between the teams in the month of September.

TAKING ON TEXAS

Since joining Conference USA, UTEP is 14-22 versus its Lone Star State counterparts (Houston 2-6, North Texas 3-1, Rice 3-9, SMU 4-4, UTSA 2-2). The Miners are 9-8 against C-USA Texas schools in the Sun Bowl.

RESULTS AFTER PLAYING A TOP 25 OPPONENT

UTEP has dropped seven of nine games following a loss to top-25 opponents since 2009. The Miners defeated NM State 38-12 on Sept. 19, 2009 after falling to no. 24 Kansas the week prior. That same season, UTEP came up with a big victory against no. 12 Houston in the Sun Bowl on Oct. 3 following its loss at no. 2 Texas.

THE LAST MEETING

UTEP scored the game’s first three points on a Jay Mattox 37-yard field goal. But Rice followed with 34 unanswered in the first half on its way to a 44-24 victory at Rice Stadium on Nov. 19, 2016. The Owls outgained the Miners, 482 yards to 232, as UTEP amassed only 42 yards in the first half. Mattox’s field goal followed a Gene Hopkins sack-and-strip of quarterback Jackson Tyner on Rice’s first offensive series.

The fumble was recovered by Sky Logan and returned 26 yards to the Rice 25-yard line. But the Owls answered with five scoring drives in the first half. Alvin Jones racked up 16 tackles with a sack for the Miners. Aaron Jones ran for 75 yards and hauled in a touchdown on a 42-yard reception. Rice starting quarterback Tyler Stehling left the contest with an injury during the first series, but Tyner completed 18-of-25 passes for 196 yards with a pair of scores.

Jowan Davis led the Owls with 84 rushing yards and a score, while Cameron Decell added 53 yards receiving on four catches. UTEP’s Ryan Metz completed 19-of-34 passes for 169 yards and a pair of scores, with an interception that was taken back by Destri White for a 23-yard pick-six. Kalon Beverly scored his second career touchdown on an 80-yard return after a blocked field goal attempt. Beverly also intercepted a pass and tallied seven tackles.

SCOUTING RICE

The Owls opened the 2017 campaign with a 62-7 loss to no. 14 Stanford in Sydney, Australia, at Allianz Stadium on Aug. 27. The Cardinal scored the game’s first 55 points before Rice running back Austin Walter found the end zone on a 23-yard run late in the contest. The Owls tallied 14 first downs (eight rush, five pass, one penalty) and 241 yards of offense.

The Rice defense surrendered 656 yards of offense, with 369 coming via the passing game. Running back Samuel Stewart led the Owls with 112 all-purpose yards (71 yards on 15 carries and career-high 41 yards on three catches), while tight end Robby Wells III paced the squad with four receptions for 19 yards. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Glaesmann completed 7-of-18 passes for 69 yards in his collegiate debut.

Defensively, 2016 All-Conference USA first team linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee led the team with 10 tackles, while posting a breakup and a quarterback hurry. In his first year as a starter, Ellerbee led the league in tackles with 118, while adding 8.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and an interception.

CONNECTIONS

UTEP sophomore RB Kevin Dove and Rice redshirt senior OL Trey Martin both played at El Campo High School (El Campo, Texas). UTEP freshman DB Joseph Pickney and Rice redshirt juniors WR Aston and RB Austin Walter played at Crosby High School (Crosby, Texas). UTEP senior WR Tyler Batson (Westfield HS), and Rice freshman WR Austin Conrad (Klein HS), redshirt sophomore WR Cameron Johnson (Klein Collins HS) and freshman WR Austin Trammell (Klein HS) all hail from Spring, Texas.

UTEP freshman DL Dedrick Simpson and 13 players from Rice are from Houston, Texas. UTEP sophomore RB Walter Dawn Jr. (Poteet HS), and Rice redshirt junior CB Jorian Clark (Horn HS), graduate student LB DJ Green (Horn HS) and senior SAF Destri Whitaker (Horn HS) are from Mesquite, Texas. UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler and Rice tight ends coach David Sloan have crossed paths on multiple occasions.

Kugler coached with the Miners during the 1993 and 1994 seasons, while Sloan played at New Mexico during those two years. Kugler was the tight ends coach with the Detroit Lions during the 2001 season where Sloan played tight end and led the Lions with seven touchdown receptions, while being named as a Pro Bowl alternate. UTEP’s Assistant AD for Football Operations, Nate Poss, is a graduate of Rice University and played for the Owls from 1973-76.

A pair of WRs in UTEP junior Alan Busey (Robert Service HS [Anchorage]) and Rice redshirt junior Lance Wright (Fairbanks [North Pole HS]) played high school football in Alaska.

LAST WEEK

Three Oklahoma quarterbacks combined to complete 32-of-36 passes for 496 yards, as the no. 7 Sooners opened the season with a 56-7 victory over UTEP on Sept. 2. Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield completed his first 16 passes, and finished 19-for-20 for 329 yards in the first half as Oklahoma surged to a 35-7 lead. He was relieved by Kyler Murray to start the second half, and Tanner Schafer came on late in the fourth quarter.

The Sooners scored touchdowns on five of their six first-half possessions. Mark Andrews was the other offensive star for OU in the first 30 minutes, reeling in seven catches for 134 yards. After Oklahoma (1-0) opened the scoring by moving 76 yards on six plays, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Rodney Anderson, the Miners (0-1) mounted an impressive season-opening drive. Walter Dawn Jr. rushed four times for 49 yards on the eight-play, 78-yard sequence, and finished it off with a 17-yard dash into the end zone as UTEP knotted the contest at 7.

After that, the Sooners continued to roll offensively while the Miners were forced to punt eight times. Dimitri Flowers scored on a three-yard run for OU, then the Sooners went back to the passing game as Mayfield found Grant Calcaterra (16 yards), Andrews (five yards) and CeeDee Lamb (four yards) for TDs. Oklahoma had 419 yards of offense in the first half to UTEP’s 95. The Sooners tacked on a few more touchdowns in the second half behind Murray, who threw a 43-yard pass to Lee Morris and handed off to Jaxon Uhles and Marcelias Sutton for short scoring runs.

Murray was equally as razor-sharp as Mayfield, finishing 10-of-11 passing for 149 yards. Schafer was 3-of-5 for 18 yards while coming on for the Sooners’ final offensive series. The Miner defense had to play a large chunk of the second half without senior linebacker Alvin Jones, who was ejected for targeting and will miss the first half of the Rice game.

Jones picked up five tackles with several family members in attendance including his brother Aaron, the Miners’ all-time leading rusher who made the Green Bay Packers’ final roster the same day. Ryan Metz completed 10-of-18 passes for 56 yards in his first season-opening start before giving way to Zack Greenlee late in the third period. Dawn Jr. rushed for a career-high 56 yards on seven attempts and was the Miners’ top offensive performer.

Oklahoma finished with 676 yards of offense, including 180 on the ground as three backs ran for 50+ yards – Abdul Adams (53), Sutton (52) and Trey Sermon (51). Jeff Badet added 91 yards on four receptions for the Sooners. UTEP tallied 167 yards of offense – 94 passing and 73 rushing. Alan Luna punted eight times for 352 yards, a 44.0-yard average.

BIG CROWDS

UTEP played in front of 86,076 in attendance at Oklahoma Memorial Field on Sept. 2. It’s the fourth-largest crowd for a game involving the Miners since the 2000 season. UTEP played in front of a six-digit crowd (101,144) at Texas on Sept. 9, 2009; 92,863 at Texas Sept. 10, 2016; and 87,126 at Texas A&M on Nov. 9, 2013.

MAKING THEIR DEBUTS

Twenty-six Miners made their UTEP debuts at no. 7 Oklahoma. The players include: RB Ronald Awatt, LB Chris Barnwell, DL Christian Buckingham, WR Alan Busey, RB Joshua Fields, WR Keynan Foster, LB Kalaii Griffin, OL Bijan Hosseini, LB Julian Jackson, DL Christian Johnson, TE David Lucero, DL Trace Mascorro, FB Forest McKee, DB Jesse Montgomery, WR Nesly Ovincy, DB Khalil Rashaad-Brown, LS Jake Sammut, DL Dedrick Simpson, LB Jamar Smith, DB Kahani Smith, DL Keith Sullivan, QB Mark Torrez, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, K Brady Viles, TE Josh Weeks and LB Barron Wortham Jr..

MAKING THE START

UTEP featured nine new starters at no. 7 Oklahoma – four on offense and five on defense. They included LT Logan Tuley-Tillman, WR Terry Juniel, TB Walter Dawn Jr. and TE Augie Touris on offense; and DE Denzel Chukwukelu, NT Trace Mascorro, DE Luke Elsner, LB Julian Jackson and LB Dylan Parsee on defense.

SEASON NO. 100 FOR UTEP FOOTBALL

The 2017 campaign marks the 100th for UTEP football. In honor of their centennial campaign, the Miners are wearing a commemorative decal on their helmets. There will also be centennial tributes in the game program, on the video board and social media over the course of the season.

Though the centennial for The University of Texas at El Paso was in 2014, the football program suspended play for four seasons due to the World Wars. No games were played in 1918 (WWI) and 1943-45 (WWII). The 1914 season marked the first for the Miners. The Miners played their first ever game on Oct. 24, 1914 – a 7-6 victory against the YMCA.

RISING DAWN

Starting tailback Walter Dawn Jr. impressed in his first college start at no. 7 Oklahoma. The sophomore hit his career best with 56 yards on seven carries (8.0 avg.) with a touchdown. Dawn Jr. actually set his career high with 49 yards on four carries on UTEP’s eight-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Dawn Jr.’s 17-yard dash to paydirt.

On that drive, Dawn Jr. set his career long with a 29-yard run. Dawn Jr. also caught a pass for two yards. Dawn Jr.’s previous rushing high was 38 yards at UTSA on Oct. 22, 2016. Dawn Jr. now has three career rushing touchdowns after scoring two at UTSA last season, and four total touchdowns in his career as he caught a 74-yard score against the Roadrunners that day. The 5-foot-6, versatile speedster was listed as a wide receiver last year, but after a solid showing at Camp Ruidoso, he was moved to the starting running back position.

BIG BLOCK FROM A LITTLE GUY

Walter Dawn Jr. not only impressed with his 8.0-yard average per carry, but his 5-foot-6, 175-pound frame put a big block on an OU defender on a third-and-six play. The block let Ryan Metz roll to his left as he hooked up with Warren Redix on a 15-yard pass play. The Miners and Dawn Jr. would eventually find paydirt on the scoring drive.

DOVE RUNNING HARD

Kevin Dove only had 17 yards on five carries at no. 7 Oklahoma, but gained three first downs in short yardage situations, and the way he ran for those first downs was impressive. The sophomore’s first carry came during the first quarter on a third-and-two where he grinded his way for five yards.

The stout OU defense simply could not bring down the 6-foot, 245-pound tailback; even after the whistle blew, Dove kept pounding away. In the third quarter on a third-and-one, Dove came up with another five yards in which he fought his way for the first down. Dove’s third first down came on another third-and-one play in the fourth quarter in which he gained another five yards. Dove also registered a seven-yard reception during the third quarter.

JOSHUA TAKING THE FIELD

True freshman running back from Americas High School in El Paso Joshua Fields saw his first collegiate action at no. 7 Oklahoma. Fields carried four times and tallied a reception during his college debut. Fields checked in with 1:46 left in the second quarter.

AWATT’S DEBUT
Another true freshman running back saw his first college action at no. 7 Oklahoma. Ronald Awatt, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound tailback, recorded a pair of carries for eight yards. Awatt’s long rush was a six-yard dash at the end of the contest.

BLOCK, FOREST, BLOCK

FB Forest McKee from Onate High School in Las Cruces, N.M. made his college debut at no. 7 Oklahoma. McKee made key blocks and even caught a pass for two yards in the fourth quarter.

UTEP SIGNAL CALLERS

A trio of UTEP quarterbacks played under center at no. 7 Oklahoma; while their numbers weren’t big, the three didn’t turn the ball over and were only sacked once. The three quarterbacks (Ryan Metz, Zack Greenlee & Mark Torrez) combined for 94 yards on 16-of-27 passing.

Starting QB Metz went 10-of-18 for 56 yards with a long pass of 15 yards to Warren Redix. Greenlee entered the contest in the third quarter, going 5-for-8 with 31 yards and a long pass of 13 yards to David Lucero. Torrez, a redshirt freshman from Eastwood High School, checked in during the fourth quarter and completed his only pass attempt, a seven-yard toss to Keynan Foster.

METZ & TORREZ HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON

Besides both being from El Paso, Ryan Metz and Mark Torrez share a common bond as both played against top-25 opponents on the road in their collegiate debuts. Metz saw his first college action at no. 18 Arkansas on Sept. 5, 2015, while Torrez played on Sept. 2 at no. 7 Oklahoma. Both quarterbacks were perfect in their debuts as Metz went 3-for-3 (19 yards) and Torrez was 1-fo-1 (seven yards).

NO INT’S TOSSED

UTEP didn’t throw an interception at no 7 Oklahoma. UTEP was one of 48 programs to not throw an interception in week one. The Miners attempted a combined 27 passes.

PASS CATCHING DEBUT

Five Miners made their debuts at no. 7 Oklahoma as TE’s David Lucero and Josh Weeks, and WR’s Alan Busey, Keynan Foster and Nesly Ovincy saw playing time. Lucero led the newcomers with 13 yards on two catches, while Busey also registered a pair of receptions (nine yards). Weeks also hauled in a six-yard catch and Foster tallied a seven-yard grab.

RETURNING KO’S

Keynan Foster returned a pair of kickoffs for 45 yards (22.3 avg.) with a long of 23 yards in his UTEP debut at Oklahoma. Foster’s career long kickoff was a 25-yard return back in 2015 while at Florida A&M. He finished with seven kickoff returns for 97 yards that season.
RED ZONE OFFENSE
UTEP scored a touchdown, a 17-yard run by Walter Dawn Jr., at no. 7 Oklahoma. It was the only red zone attempt, as UTEP was one of 63 programs to be perfect in red zone offense during week one.

OFFENSIVE LINE HOLDING ITS OWN

The UTEP offensive line received its first test of 2017 as it faced a stout no. 7 Oklahoma defense. The Miners kept their protection intact as they allowed only one sack. UTEP was one of 35 programs that allowed one sack in its opening contest this past weekend. The Miners were also one of five Conference USA schools to only surrender one sack in week one.

PROTECTING THE FIELD GENERAL

The offensive line for the Miners brings experience to the depth chart this season. The unit lost two starters from a year ago but returns senior Will Hernandez, senior Tanner Stallings and junior Derron Gatewood to the lineup. Leading the way for the squad will be Hernandez, who became the first UTEP offensive lineman to garner All-American honors.

The senior has started every game (38) at the left guard position during his three years with the Miners. Senior Derek Elmendorff, after playing in all 12 games last year, has plenty of game experience with 20 career starts at the right guard position. Sophomore Greg Long will provide depth to the line after the El Paso native was named to the All-Conference USA freshman team. Long started a game at right guard before starting three at left tackle.

Junior Jerrod Brooks will add experience at the right tackle position after starting the first half of the 2016 season, along with transfer senior Logan Tuley-Tillman, who has seen multiple reps with the first team offense. Last season the offensive line surrendered 22.0 sacks, which tied for third in C-USA (1.83 p/g). During the last five seasons, including Saturday at OU (2013-17) the Miners have allowed 75 sacks in 50 contests (1.5 p/g). In the previous four seasons (2009-12), UTEP quarterbacks went down 109 times in 49 games (2.2 p/g).

BREAKING DOWN THE O-LINE

The starting five offensive linemen, according to the most recent depth chart, are LT Logan Tuley-Tillman (6’7”, 320 pounds), LG Will Hernandez (6’3”, 330 pounds), C Derron Gatewood (6’2”, 305 pounds), RG Derek Elmendorff (6’3”, 310 pounds) and RT Greg Long (6’4”, 270 pounds). The average weight of the starting five is 307 pounds, while the average height is just under 6-foot-4.

ALL-AMERICAN STATUS

OL Will Hernandez has started every game in his three years with the Miners. Last season, Hernandez was the first Miner offensive lineman to receive AP All-American second team and FOX Sports’ All-American honors. The senior was also the first UTEP offensive lineman since 2009 to earn All-Conference USA first team recognition.

Hernandez’s national recognition didn’t stop there, as he garnered Pro Football Focus Pass Protector of the Year. The Miners capped the season with two showings of over 500 yards of total offense, including a season-best 384 yards rushing in a victory over North Texas.

WILL’S PRESEASON ACCOLADES

Will Hernandez was selected to the 2017 AP All-America second team on Aug. 22 as the senior has racked up multiple preseason honors. Hernandez was announced to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List and earned a spot on the 2017 Preseason Conference USA team. Multiple football publications, including Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, Phil Steele’s College Football Preview and Athlon Sports have Hernandez on their preseason teams.

DEVIN’S SOLO ACT

Senior Devin Cockrell tied for the team lead with nine tackles at no. 7 Oklahoma. Of the nine, six were solo stops, putting Cockrell tied for no. 4 in Conference USA and tied for no. 57 nationally after week one. Cockrell is five tackles away from 200 in his career after Saturday’s effort.

LEWIS’ COMEBACK GAME

Sophomore DB Michael Lewis returned to the gridiron after missing all of 2016. Lewis registered a career-high nine tackles at no. 7 Oklahoma. His previous high was six stops at Southern Miss on Halloween 2015. Lewis made the start against the Sooners after starting in eight of 12 games played during his freshman season in 2015. Lewis produced solid numbers his first season, tallying 38 tackles and a pair of breakups.

KEEPING UP WITH ALVIN’S CAREER

Senior Alvin Jones has 246 career tackles (seventh-most at UTEP since the 2000 season) after recording five tackles at no. 7 Oklahoma. Jones also has 10.5 career sacks (needs 1.5 to crack the program’s all-time top 10 list) and 29.5 career tackles for loss (needs 1.0 to etch name on all-time top 10 list).

Jones’s 14.5 tackles for loss in 2015 ranks tied for ninth on the single-season list, while his 5.0 tackles for loss at NM State on Sept. 19, 2015 was the most by a UTEP player since the 2000 season. Jones has led the Miners in tackles the past two seasons, tallying 93 stops in each campaign, while in 2014 Jones ranked second with 55 takedowns.

DOUBLE-DIGIT STOPS

Alvin Jones has reached double digits in tackles nine times during his career. Jones’s first double-digit performance came against UTSA on Oct. 3, 2015 with a 10-tackle outing. Jones racked up 11 tackles in four different contests in 2015 (at NM State; vs. Rice; at Old Dominion; vs. LA Tech). In 2016, Jones registered double-digit tackles in four contests (12 vs. NM State; 16 vs. FIU; 16 at Rice; 12 vs. North Texas).

ACTION JACKSON

Transfer LB Julian Jackson produced solid numbers in his UTEP debut. The senior led all UTEP linebackers with seven tackles, while it was also his collegiate high. Jackson’s previous high came at Wake Forest when he recorded five stops against Tulane on Sept. 1, 2016. Jackson also registered half a tackle for loss.

LOVE FOR LOVILOTTE

Senior LB Dante Lovilotte registered his first full sack in a UTEP uniform. Lovilotte sacked Heisman Trophy Candidate Baker Mayfield for a loss of 10 yards during the first quarter on a fourth-and-three play. Lovilotte tallied half a sack against Old Dominion on Oct. 29, 2016. Lovilotte finished Saturday’s contest with three tackles.

TREYVON’S DEFENSIVE DEBUT

LB Treyvon Hughes, who was a running back during his freshman season in 2015 and missed all of 2016 due to injury, made the switch to linebacker with his 6-foot-1, 255-pound frame. Hughes saw his first action on the other side of the ball at no. 7 Oklahoma in which he registered three tackles and a quarterback hurry.

FIRST START FOR PARSEE

LB Dylan Parsee received his first collegiate start at no. 7 Oklahoma. Parsee came up with a career-high four tackles (three solo), surpassing his previous high of two against Army on Sept. 17, 2016.

JAMAR’S DEBUT

LB Jamar Smith, a transfer from Holmes CC, registered five tackles – all solo – at no. 7 Oklahoma. Smith was active last season as he led his squad with 90 tackles in 10 games.

OTHER DEFENSIVE NOTABLES

There were eight other UTEP defensive players who made their debuts and contributed defensively, as LB Kalaii Griffin (three tackles, 0.5 TFL), DL Dedrick Simpson (three tackles, 0.5 TFL), DB Jesse Montgomery (two tackles), DB Khalil Rashaad-Brown (tackle, QB hurry), LB Chris Barnwell (two tackles), NT Trace Mascorro (two tackles), DB Kahani Smith (tackle) and DE Christian Buckingham (tackle) took to the gridiron on Saturday.

4TH-DOWN DEFENSE

The UTEP defense made a stop on a fourth-down play at no. 7 Oklahoma. Dante Lovilotte sacked quarterback Baker Mayfield on a fourth-and-three for a loss of 10 yards. UTEP is one of 57 programs to rank no. 1 in that department after week one.

DAS BOOT

El Paso native Alan Luna opened 2017 with eight punts for 352 yards (third-most in his career) for an average of 44.0 yards at Oklahoma. The senior punter placed three inside the 20-yard line to tie his career high. Luna also placed three inside the 20 at LA Tech on Oct. 1, 2016.

LUNA CAREER NOTES

Senior Alan Luna moved to seventh from ninth on the program’s all-time list in career punt yards (5,779) and ranks ninth in career punts (135) after Saturday’s performance. Tom Galloway ranks no. 8 in career punts (137), while the overall leader is Jerry Walker (298). Rick Padia ranks no. 6 in career yards (6,380), while the overall leader is Walker (12,193).

Luna’s career high for yards are 376 at Texas (Sept. 10, 2016). His longest is a 69-yard boot, while his career-best average is 51.0 yards on six punts (306) against Southern Miss (Sept. 24, 2016).

LOCAL FLAVOR

The 2017 roster features 28 players from El Pas0 — DB Deaumonjae Banks (Chapin), LB Chris Barnwell (Eastlake), WR Brannon Bullitt (Chapin), OL Bobby DeHaro (Montwood), OL Derek Elmendorff (Franklin), RB Joshua Fields (Americas), K/P Jason Filley (Coronado), LB Sergio Gonzalez (El Dorado), FB David Jackson (Parkland), DL Christian Johnson (Parkland), LB Alvin Jones (Burges), OL Greg Long (Eastwood), LB Erick Lopez (Canutillo), OL Markos Lujan (Americas), P/K Alan Luna (Franklin), OL Rey Mendez (Socorro), QB Ryan Metz (Andress), RB Jonathon Millan (Coronado), WR Brandon Moss (Chapin), DL Josh Ortega (Montwood), DB Elijah Perales (Chapin), OL Jaime Perales (Cathedral), WR Warren Redix (Montwood), TE Jorge Rodriguez (Montwood), WR Richie Rodriguez (Eastwood), WR Eddie Sinegal (Andress), QB Keith Tarango-Lopez (Eastlake) and QB Mark Torrez (Eastwood).

SUN CITY SENSATIONS

Thirteen players from El Paso grace the two-deep heading into the Rice game. LB Chris Barnwell, RG Derek Elmendorff, TB Joshua Fields, K/P Jason Filley, FB David Jackson, MIKE Alvin Jones, RT Greg Long, LG Markos Lujan, K/P Alan Luna, QB Ryan Metz, WR (X) Warren Redix, WR (Z) Eddie Sinegal and QB Mark Torrez are listed on the two-deep chart. Of the 12, five of the players (Elmendorff, Filley, Long, Luna, Metz and Jones) are listed as no. 1 at their respective positions.

GRADUATE STUDENT-ATHLETES

The UTEP football program has eight student-athletes with degrees for the 2017 season. QB Zack Greenlee, LB Julian Jackson, DL Sky Logan, DB Jesse Montgomery, WR Brandon Moss, TE Sterling Napier, WR Nesley Ovincy and OL Logan Tuley-Tillman are pursuing their Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies. Northwestern has 18 student-athletes with degrees, while Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina and East Carolina each have 14.

Toledo has 13; TCU, Alabama, Oregon and Virginia each have 12; Georgia State, Kansas State, Maryland, UCF and USF each have 11; Kent State, Nevada, New Mexico, South Alabama, Texas Tech and West Virginia each have 10; Houston, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers and Temple each have nine; and joining UTEP with eight student-athletes are Auburn, Clemson, Iowa, Kentucky, NC State, Northern Illinois, Ole Miss, Penn State, SMU Syracuse, UAB and WKU.

HARD WORK PAYS OFF

After day one at Camp Ruidoso, head coach Sean Kugler announced on Aug. 8 that walk-ons RB TK Powell, WR Keynan Foster, LB Johnny Jones, FB David Jackson and FB Robert Pufhal each earned scholarships for their performances on the field and in the classroom.

COACHING YOUR ALMA MATER

UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler is one of 21 FBS coaches in 2017 who are at the helm of their alma mater’s program. John Bonamego (Central Michigan), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Paul Haynes (Kent State), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Tim Lester (Western Michigan), Mike Neu (Ball State), Barry Odom (Missouri), Mark Richt (Miami), Nick Rolovich (Hawai’i), Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State), David Shaw (Stanford), Kalani Sitake (BYU), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Jeff Tedford (Fresno State) and Matt Wells (Utah State) are the other 20.

CLOSING IN ON WIN NO. 400

The Miners are six wins away from 400 in their program history. Texas Western College chalked up win no. 100 during the 1941 season after it prevailed at Arizona State 28-0 on Nov. 8. The Miners recorded win no. 200 on Sept. 21, 1963, defeating North Texas State 34-7 during the inaugural game in the Sun Bowl.

Toraino Singleton rushed for 199 yards and a score, and Jason Blair hauled in six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in leading UTEP to a 17-12 triumph over New Mexico for win no. 300 in the Sun Bowl on Nov. 18, 1995.

BOWL MANIA

UTEP will face eight opponents in 2017 who advanced to a bowl game in 2016. The Miners opened with Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl) on Sept. 2 in Norman. After UTEP’s contest at NM State on Sept. 23, the next seven opponents are Army (Heart of Dallas Bowl), WKU (Boca Raton Bowl), Southern Miss (New Orleans Bowl), UTSA (New Mexico Bowl), Middle Tennessee (Hawai’i Bowl), North Texas (Heart of Dallas Bowl) and LA Tech (Armed Forces Bowl). Syracuse and Notre Dame lead the list with 11 bowl opponents each, while Duke, Ole Miss and South Carolina will see 10.

Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, UCF, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, UMass, Miami, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulsa, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest will face nine bowl opponents in 2017.

UP NEXT

UTEP will continue its homestand as Pac-12 opponent Arizona will make its way back to the Sun City after a 40-year absence on Sept. 15 for a Friday night contest. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. on ESPN. The Wildcats and Miners last met in 2003, while the last time the two programs met in El Paso was on Nov. 19, 1977 when both were members of the Western Athletic Conference.

Gallery+Story: Efficient Oklahoma Offense Overwhelms UTEP

NORMAN, OKLA. – Three Oklahoma quarterbacks combined to complete 32-of-36 passes for 496 yards, as the no. 7 Sooners opened the season with a 56-7 victory over UTEP.

Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield completed his first 16 passes, and finished 19-for-20 for 329 yards in the first half as Oklahoma surged to a 35-7 lead.  He was relieved by Kyler Murray to start the second half, and Tanner Schafer came on late in the fourth quarter.

“We were outmatched,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said.  “I really felt going into the game, that’s a potential national championship quality offense.  It’s one of the better offensive lines that I’ve seen.  Put together, they’ve got an outstanding quarterback who keeps plays alive with his feet, he’s got a great understanding of the game, he made some really accurate throws and made some accurate deep ball throws, which he hadn’t shown on film.”

The Sooners scored touchdowns on five of their six first-half possessions.  Mark Andrews was the other offensive star for OU in the first 30 minutes, reeling in seven catches for 134 yards.

After Oklahoma (1-0) opened the scoring by moving 76 yards on six plays, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Rodney Anderson, the Miners (0-1) mounted an impressive season-opening drive.  Walter Dawn Jr. rushed four times for 49 yards on the eight-play, 78-yard sequence, and finished it off with a 17-yard dash into the end zone as UTEP knotted the contest at 7.

After that, the Sooners continued to roll offensively while the Miners were forced to punt eight times.

Dimitri Flowers scored on a three-yard run for OU, then the Sooners went back to the passing game as Mayfield found Grant Calcaterra (16 yards), Andrews (five yards) and CeeDee Lamb (four yards) for TDs.

Oklahoma had 419 yards of offense in the first half to UTEP’s 95.

The Sooners tacked on a few more touchdowns in the second half behind Murray, who threw a 43-yard pass to Lee Morris and handed off to Jaxon Uhles and Marcelias Sutton for short scoring runs.

Murray was equally as razor-sharp as Mayfield, finishing 10-of-11 passing for 149 yards.  Schafer was 3-of-5 for 18 yards while coming on for the Sooners’ final offensive series.

“They’ve got an outstanding team,” Kugler said.  “we weren’t physically matching up with them and they wore us down, especially defensively.  We had one nice drive offensively, and couldn’t get it going after that.”

The Miner defense had to play a large chunk of the second half without senior linebacker Alvin Jones, who was ejected for targeting and will miss the first half of next week’s game against Rice.  Jones picked up five tackles with several family members in attendance including his brother Aaron, the Miners’ all-time leading rusher who made the Green Bay Packers’ final roster on Saturday.

Ryan Metz completed 10-of-18 passes for 56 yards in his first season-opening start before giving way to Zack Greenlee late in the third period.

“We had some penalties, had some drops,” Kugler said.  “I really didn’t think the quarterbacks played inefficiently.  I think we didn’t really help them a whole lot in different situations.”

Dawn Jr. rushed for a career-high 56 yards on seven attempts and was the Miners’ top offensive performer.

Oklahoma finished with 676 yards of offense, including 180 on the ground as three backs ran for 50+ yards – Abdul Adams (53), Sutton (52) and Trey Sermon (51).

Jeff Badet added 91 yards on four receptions for the Sooners.

UTEP tallied 167 yards of offense – 94 passing and 73 rushing.  Alan Luna punted eight times for 352 yards, a 44.0-yard average.

The Miners will host Rice in the Conference USA opener next Saturday (Sept. 9).  Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m. MT in the Sun Bowl.  UTEP season tickets are on sale now by calling (915) 747-6150.

“I didn’t think the kids quit competing, I think we were outmatched,” Kugler said.  “Sometimes you’ve got to acknowledge that and move on.  We have a conference game coming up this week, and that’s what our sole focus is going to be.  We can’t spend one second dwelling on this game.  The first one is in the books and not in our favor, but there’s a long season ahead of us.”

Photo gallery by Andres Acosta, El Paso Herald-Post Chief Photographer

UTEP to Honor “Hometown Heroes” at Rice Football Game

UTEP will pay tribute to public safety officers and agencies in El Paso County at the Miners’ 2017 football home opener versus Rice on Saturday, September 9. 

The Sun City’s “Hometown Heroes” will be recognized on the video board at the game and are eligible for ticket discounts and special pre-game activities.

Discounted tickets are available to all officers, agents and staff of local public safety agencies via an offer code that can be applied to purchases on Ticketmaster online.  To verify your eligibility and obtain the code, please call 747-6065.

The first annual Badges & Flags Public Safety Flag Football Tournament will take place the morning of Sept. 9 in the Sun Bowl.  To register your team of 10, please contact Michael Flores (747-7450, mflores139@miners.utep.edu).  Only public safety employees are eligible and registration is open to the first 16 teams.  Participation is free.  

Check-in begins at 7 a.m. on Sept. 9 with the first game starting at 7:30 a.m., and the championship game slated for 12:45 p.m. 

Public safety agencies can purchase tailgate tents through Drew Thomas at the Miner Athletic Club (747-6912, athomas@utep.edu).  Tents for 50 persons are $425 (includes five tables and 50 chairs), and tents for 100 persons are $750 (includes 10 tables and 100 chairs).

Group tickets are available to parties of 15 or more for just $15 plus a $10 service charge.  To purchase, please contact Michael Flores (747-7450, mflores139@miners.utep.edu).

UTEP to Celebrate 100th Football Season in 2017

UTEP will kick off its 100th football season on Saturday at Oklahoma, and the 2017 campaign will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the program.

The Miners’ inaugural season was in 1914, but there were no games played in 1943, 1944 and 1945 due to World War II.  UTEP has appeared in 14 bowl games, most recently in 2014 under head coach Sean Kugler.

UTEP announced its Centennial Football Team in 2014 as part of the university’s Centennial Celebration.  One of the members of the team, linebacker Seth Joyner, will be inducted into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 27.

UTEP players will wear a commemorative “100 Seasons” patch on their helmets this fall.  The 100-year celebration will also include:

  • A video board segment at all five home games
  • A historical feature in every game program
  • Social media content all season long celebrating the history of the program, including vintage photos and opportunities for fans to vote on their favorite UTEP Football players and moments
  • The return of members of the 1967 Sun Bowl championship team on the 50th Anniversary of the 14-7 victory over Mississippi at the WKU game on Oct. 7

 

UTEP’s Hernandez Named to Piesman Watch List

SB Nation announced All-American Will Hernandez as one of 44 linemen on The Piesman Watch List on Friday.

Hernandez has racked up the preseason honors leading up to UTEP’s season opener. The left guard was announced to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List, 2017 Preseason AP All-American and was recognized by Athlon Sports as a Preseason All-Conference USA first team and Preseason All-America third team.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football picked Hernandez to the Preseason All-Texas team, while Phil Steel’s College Football Preview appointed him to the Preseason All-C-USA first team and as a Preseason All-American. Hernandez also earned a spot on the 2017 Preseason C-USA Football team.

Last season, Hernandez played on a dominant offensive line that only allowed 1.3 sacks per game. UTEP running back Aaron Jones also set the single-season school record with 1,773 yards. Hernandez started all 12 contests on his way to the 2016 AP and FOX Sports’ All-America teams.

Hernandez is the only C-USA lineman on the Piesman Watch List.

This year, three finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony scheduled to take place on Friday, Dec. 8, in New York City. Piesman voters include media members from outlets like ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, CBS, the AP, Sports Illustrated and The Ringer. And of course, college football fans have a voice too, via an online ballot made available later in the season.

The Piesman Trophy was first awarded in 2015, to Ashton Henderson from Southeastern Louisiana, before Pitt’s O’Neill took home his own “Slice of Heaven” in December, 2016.

UTEP’s Hernandez Named to AP Preseason All-America Second Team

The Associated Press announced UTEP senior offensive lineman Will Hernandez to the 2017 AP Preseason All-America second team as chosen by the votes of 51 members of the AP Top 25 media panel on Tuesday.

Hernandez has racked up the preseason honors leading up to UTEP’s season opener. The left guard was announced to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List, and was recognized by Athlon Sports as a Preseason All-Conference USA first team and Preseason All-America third team.

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football picked Hernandez to the Preseason All-Texas team, while Phil Steel’s College Football Preview appointed him to the Preseason All-C-USA first team and as a Preseason All-American. Hernandez also earned a spot on the 2017 Preseason C-USA Football team.

Last season, Hernandez played on a dominant offensive line that only allowed 1.3 sacks per game. UTEP running back Aaron Jones also set the single-season school record with 1,773 yards. Hernandez started all 12 contests on his way to the 2016 AP and FOX Sports’ All-America teams.

The UTEP coaching staff rolled the dice on Las Vegas, Nev., native and itself one of the hardest working players in the nation. Hernandez has started all 37 games at the left guard position and during his three seasons donning the Orange and Blue. UTEP signal callers have been sacked 47 times during Hernandez’s 37 starts (1.3 per game).

Prior to Hernandez’s redshirt freshman season, the Miners allowed 27 sacks in 2013. That number was cut to 13 allowed in 13 games in 2014.

Hernandez and the o-line will get their first challenge – in a big way – as the Miners will play at no. 7 Oklahoma on Sept. 2. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MT and the contest will be televised on FOX.

UTEP Football Fan Day to be Held on Saturday

UTEP football will hold its annual “Fan Appreciation Day” on Saturday, August 26 at the Sun Bowl Stadium’s North Concourse.

Fan Day, scheduled from noon to 2 pm, will feature an autograph session, a mini-pep rally with the UTEP Band, Cheer and Golddiggers, activities for families, giveaways, raffle items, and free popcorn and water.

Admission for the event is free and fans will receive a commemorative 2017 football season football poster and will be limited to one additional item to be signed.

After the autograph session, fans will have the opportunity to show off their athletic abilities in a Kick, Punt and Pass event down on the field. UTEP Marketing will record scores from all fans who have entered and post them on the UTEP Athletics Facebook page at the end of the day. The top three participants will win an on-field experience for the home opener Sept. 9 versus Rice.

The UTEP Band, Cheer and the Golddiggers mini-pep rally is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. in the North Concourse.

The UTEP Marketing table will have season ticket, Kids Club, Miner Maniac and Miner Athletic Club (MAC) tailgate information. Individual tickets for the home opener/Conference USA opener for the Rice game on Sept. 9 will be sold at the ticket center at the North Concourse.

UTEP will open the 2017 campaign at no. 7 Oklahoma in Memorial Stadium with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m. MT. The game will also be televised on FOX (El Paso local channel KFOX).

Gallery+Story: UTEP Offense Scores Six Touchdowns in Sunday’s Scrimmage

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

First UTEP Football Scrimmage Features Balance on Both Sides of Ball

A day after the UTEP football team went full pads, the Miners played their first scrimmage on Sunday in which big plays were made on both sides of the ball.

Sophomore running back Kevin Dove opened the scrimmage with a 75-yard touchdown rush. Dove broke multiple tackles on his way to pay dirt to get the offense fired up. Twelve plays later senior signal caller Zack Greenlee found junior wide receiver Warren Redix for an 80-yard score.

But the UTEP defense, under second-year defensive coordinator Tom Mason, made adjustments and made plays of its own. Junior transfer defensive back Khalil Rashaad-Brown picked off a pass for the first forced turnover and junior corner Nik Needham also intercepted a pass in the red zone for the second forced turnover.

Clip courtesy UTEP Athletics

Back to the offensive side of the ball, UTEP’s new pass catchers made impacts as junior transfer wide receiver Alan Busey made a 33-yard grab from junior quarterback Ryan Metz and sophomore transfer tight end Josh Weeks tallied a pair of grabs for 29 yards, including a long of 25 yards from Metz.

UTEP’s other transfer tight end junior David Lucero tallied a seven-yard reception and junior transfer wide receiver Keynan Foster recorded a six-yard reception.

During the ‘gotta-have-it’ segment, where the offense takes the ball at midfield on a 4th-and-four scenario, Terry Juniel took a Metz pass to the end zone for a 50-yard score. The Miners didn’t convert the first fourth-down attempt.

The UTEP defense registered four sacks; one each by sophomore Denzel Chukwukelu, senior Alvin Jones, senior Lawrence Montegut and junior transfer Jamar Smith.

As far as leading tacklers, freshman Dedrick Simpson, senior Devin Cockrell and Jamar Smith each recorded a trio of stops.

Redix led the way with 88 yards on two receptions to lead the receivers, Dove led the running backs with 76 yards on five carries and Metz led the quarterbacks with 108 yards on 7-of-12 passing and an interception.

Greenlee threw for 86 yards on 2-of-3 passing and a score, and redshirt freshman Mark Torrez threw the other interception.

The Miners will continue with camp on Tuesday and will play the second and final scrimmage of camp on Sunday, Aug. 20 at approximately at 8:45 a.m. MT. The team will head back to the Sun City following the scrimmage

 

UTEP Football Adds Depth to Roster

Miners add eight to roster after first practice at camp Ruidoso on Tuesday.

UTEP football looks to add depth with the addition of three defensive, three offensive and two special teams student-athletes.

Head coach Sean Kugler also announced that walk-ons TK Powell, Keynan Foster, Johnny Jones, David Jackson and Robert Pufahl have earned scholarships for their performance on the field and classroom.

The Miners will continue practice tomorrow in Ruidoso, N.M. and will scrimmage for the first time on Sunday starting at 8: 45 a.m. MT

FULL BIOS

Alan Busey | WR | 6-1 | 180 | JR-TR | Hayward, Calif. (Chabot CC)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played two years at Chabot Junior College … hauled in 73 passes for 1,521 yards (20.8 avg.) and 18 touchdowns in 19 contests played during career at Chabot … recorded 441 yards on 23 receptions and six scores in eight games during the 2016 campaign … caught a pair of touchdowns during a win against Fresno … registered season bests in yards (86) and receptions (five) with a score during a triumph against Sequoias … named 2015 Region I All-California first team offense after recording 1,080 yards on 50 receptions (21.6 avg.) and 12 touchdowns in 11 games during freshman season … broke out with career highs in yards (236) and touchdown receptions (three) on seven catches during a win against Fresno … hauled in a career-best 11 passes for 204 yards and three scores … notched 130 yards on seven catches and a touchdown during a win against Modesto.

PERSONAL: Full name is Alan Trey Busey … son of Alan Busey, Sr. and Marilyn Lee … has three brothers and two sisters … born in Minneapolis, Minn. … undeclared major.

Josh Dunn | LB | 6-0 | 195 | FR-HS | Sarasota, Fla. (Lake Wales)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played two years on the varsity squad at Lake Wales High School … posted 66 tackles (59 solo) with 12.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, an interception (10-yard return), two fumble recoveries and six forced fumbles during senior season (2015) … opened senior campaign with 10 tackles (nine solo), 4.0 tackles for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles and an interception during a victory against Ridge Community … posted another 10 stops (nine solo) with a forced fumble against Auburndale … played nine games at defensive back during junior season (2014) … registered 41 tackles (eight solo) with 6.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions (73-return yards), two pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

PERSONAL: Full name is Joshua Thomas Dunn … son of Charles Dunn and Carla Johnson … has two sisters … born in Winter Haven, Fla. … business major.

Bijan Hosseini | OL | 6-3 | 300 | JR-TR | Upland, Calif. (Chaffey CC)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played sophomore year (2016) at Chaffey College on the offensive line, seeing action in four contests … posted a tackle against El Camino … played in two games during freshman year (2015) at Fullerton College.

PERSONAL: Bijan Hosseini is the son of Perry Hosseini … has one sister … born in Upland, Calif. … undeclared major.

Jesse Montgomery | DB | 6-1 | 180 | SR-TR | Dallas, Texas (SMU)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played two seasons at SMU, seeing action in 19 contests during the 2014 and 2015 seasons … posted 10 tackles, an interception and two pass breakups in eight games (three starts) during 2015 … opened season with four tackles against Baylor … posted four tackles at Houston … played in 11 games, making two starts during redshirt freshman season … tallied 20 stops (13 solo) with a trio of pass breakups in 2014 … recorded season-best five tackles versus Houston

PERSONAL: Full name is Jesse Romello Montgomery … son of Alton and Kimberly Montgomery … father was a cornerback and kick returner in the NFL for the Denver Broncos (1990-92) and Atlanta Falcons (1993-95) … has one brother and two sisters … born in Griffin, Ga. … undeclared major.

Khalil Rashaad-Brown | DB | 5-10 | 185 | JR-TR | Carson, Calif. (Long Beach City College)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played 2016 season at Long Beach City College … posted 33 tackles (29 solo) with 2.0 tackles for loss and six pass breakups in all 11 games … registered season-high eight tackles (six solo) in a win against Riverside … recorded four tackles and two pass breakups to help Vikings win the 2016 Western State Bowl … played freshman season (2015) at Mt. San Antonio College, posting 32 tackles, two interceptions, 10 passes defended and a forced fumble in 11 games played … tallied six tackles as efforts surged Mounties to a Patriotic Bowl victory.

PERSONAL: Full name is Khalil Ahmad Rashaad-Brown … son of Donald Brown and Michelle Rodriguez … father, Don, played cornerback at Oregon (1982-83, 1985-86) … has one brother and one sister … born in Corona, Calif. … kinesiology major.

Jake Sammut | LS | 5-8 | 170 | JR-TR | Mohave Valley, Ariz. (College of Canyons)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played at College of the Canyons in 2014 and 2016 … saw action in five contests as the team’s long snapper … tallied a solo tackle against Grossmont … named to 2016 Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Scholar-Athlete team … played in three games in 2014, registering a pair of tackles … played varsity baseball at River Valley High School for two years.

PERSONAL: Full name is Jacob Joseph Belpedio Sammut … son of Mike Belpedio Summut and Terri Wright … has two brothers … born in Bullhead City, Ariz. … business management studies major.  

Logan Tuley-Tillman | OL | 6-7 | 320 | SR-TR | Peoria, Ill. (Akron)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played first three years of collegiate football at Michigan … redshirted for the Wolverines during first year in 2013, played in one contest in 2014 and did not see action in 2015 … played junior season (2016) at Akron, starting in all 12 contests for the Zips … one of only seven Zips to start every game … Akron rushers combined for 1,586 yards and 13 scores, while Akron quarterbacks combined for 25 touchdowns, 3,063 yards on 217-of-396 passing and 14 interceptions … Zips’ quarterbacks were sacked 25 times in games.

PERSONAL: Full name is Latonya Logan Tuley-Tillman … son of Tony Tillman, Angela Tuley and Chris Collins (foster father) … has four younger brothers and six younger sisters … born in Peoria, Ill. … pursuing a master’s degree in leadership studies

Brady Viles | K | 6-0 | 210 | SO-TR | Tucson, Ariz. (Arizona Western College)

PRIOR TO UTEP: Played at Arizona Western in 2016 … was 3-for-3 on point after touchdown attempts … missed lone field goal attempt … played in all 13 games … made all three PAT attempts against Everett Red Raiders … was a kickoff specialist with over 80 percent touchbacks … played in the NJCAA Football Championship game and tallied four kickoffs with all of them being touchbacks (50.8 avg.) … helped the team rate first nationally and first in conference in PATs … posted two tackles (one solo) against Glendale … in 2015, played at Arizona Post Graduate Academy … played in 14 games under center at River Valley High School during senior season in 2014 … passed for 1,770 yards on 83-of-144 attempts with 18 scores and only two interceptions … ran for 662 yards on 85 carries (7.8 avg.) and two touchdowns.

PERSONAL: Full name is Brady Lee Viles … son of Jeff and Lori Viles … has two sisters … born in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. … undeclared major.

 

Quotes: Head Coach Sean Kugler at 2017 C-USA Football Media Kickoff

UTEP Miners football Head Coach Sean Kugler spoke to the press Wednesday about his team and the upcoming 2017 Conference USA season.

Coach Kugler enters his fifth season at the helm of the Miners.

Why are Will [Hernandez] and Alvin [Jones] so important to the program?

“Will Hernandez is probably the most physical players on our program. He’s been our starting [left] guard for three years and he’s on the Outland Trophy Watch list. Will is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever been around. He brings a work ethic that we are looking for in our program. Will is probably one of the strongest players I’ve been around. He’s very humble and just a hardworking kid.

“Alvin Jones is the twin brother of Aaron Jones, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers this past year. And Alvin again has been equally productive. He’s been our leading tackler the last three years, our leading sacker two out of the three years and our leader in tackles for losses.

“Both those guys are very productive. They’re both productive in the classroom and going to graduate on time. [Will and Alvin] are both quality kids with great work ethic. So, they deserve to be [at media day] and they deserve to be Conference USA Preseason candidates.”

How much improvement are you expecting from the defense after playing a year as a 3-4 defense?

“We’re expecting drastic improvement. We saw it in the Spring; just from a communication standpoint and guys getting lined up in the right places. Last year – to a fault of my own – that was a little more than what we expected, completely making a drastic change switching from the 4-2-5 to a 3-4. Number one, just the time to learn it, I felt the defense drastically improved as the year went on. But from a personnel standpoint, we had to go and get linebackers and we’ve got 20 linebackers on our roster now, which is drastically improved. Having that many linebackers will also help the special teams with all those big bodies running around.”

What do you have to do to generate more of a pass rush?

“We have to generate more sacks and we’ve addressed that by signing some linebackers. We could have a whole new linebacking crew out on the field for the exception of Alvin and Dante [Lovilotte]. Lovilotte’s a returning linebacker who had an outstanding season. We signed Julian Jackson, who’s a graduate transfer from Wake Forest. We also have some young, up-and-coming players who we were impressed with during the Spring – guys like Dylan Parsee and Lawrence Montegut and those type guys. But we have to generate more sacks and that is what the 3-4 defense is built on and that’s what we expect.”

How does having a returning starting quarterback [Ryan Metz] help to improve the offense? Does it take weight off you as a coaching staff?

“[Ryan Metz] is a quality kid. He’s a leader and a competitor. He was probably out [on the field] too early in his career. He just wasn’t quite ready yet, but no fault of his, he just had to be ready. Now he’s ready. It’s his time, he’s put in the work and he’s very productive when he’s played. Our offense, when he was inserted in last year, averaged over 30 points per game from the time he was the quarterback till the end of the season. The team rallies around him and he’s got a great demeanor. We’re excited about Ryan Metz and what he can do for the program this season.”

What did you learn playing under Andy Reid?

“I learned a lot, [Andy Reid] was really my mentor – a father figure to me. I always knew I wanted to be a coach. But after spending three years playing for Andy Reed, I knew I wanted to be the best coach. He’s probably the best coach in the NFL, even though I’m being biased about that. As far as a line coach, he’s the best line coach I’ve ever been around.”

UTEP’s Ryan Metz Announced as Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Candidate

BALTIMORE, Md. – UTEP’s Ryan Metz was one of 47 standout quarterbacks from different divisions and conferences across the nation to be named as a 2017 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award candidate on Tuesday.

The Golden Arm Award is presented at the end of each football season and the winner is selected based on his accomplishments both on and off the field.

The junior signal caller played in 11 contests, starting seven during the 2016 campaign. Metz completed 64.7 (130-201) percent of his passes, which ranked third in Conference USA and is the program’s second-best single-season performance. Metz tossed 14 touchdowns, only four interceptions and 1,375 yards. His 141.14 passing efficiency rating was the program’s fifth-best single-season outing.

The native of El Paso was highlighted as one of eight Manning Award Stars of the Week after tying his career high with a trio of touchdown passes during a 52-49 5OT victory at UTSA on Oct. 22. Metz also concluded his sophomore season with a pair of touchdown passes, including a career-long 72-yard score during a dominant victory over North Texas.

The graduate of Andress High School is known for his on-field achievements and has also made an impact off the field. Metz completed 25 hours of community service hours last season, while the signal caller is known for volunteering his time to children in the community.

Metz volunteered over 15 hours at children’s camps, where he assisted with football drills and activities for the future gridiron greats. Metz was also a member of Project MOVE, where he played with children in the community in various activities like kickball, football and soccer. Metz is active in assisting with the football team’s weekly dinner with the Child Crisis Center.

Metz, along with his teammates, spend time with the children in the Crisis Center, playing, working on homework and eating dinner together. His classroom achievements were recognized as Metz has been named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll the past three years.

Metz was also selected as one of 45 national collegiate quarterbacks, and the first UTEP quarterback, to be invited to the 2017 Manning Passing Academy supervised by the Manning Family (Archie, Cooper, Eli & Peyton). The camp was a four-day event that started June 22 at Nicholls State University in which over 125 prep, college and professional coaches, counselors and staff members were involved.

UTEP opens the 2017 season at Oklahoma on Sept. 2 (1:30 p.m. MT). The home opener will also be the C-USA lid lifter as the Miners will host Rice on Sept. 9 and will follow with another home game against Arizona on Friday, Sept. 15 (8:15 p.m.).

For season tickets call 915.747.6150 or email seasontickets@utep.edu.

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