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Kasey Carrier and the Lobos spoil Kugler’s debut

Aaron Montes/The Prospector
Junior running back Nathan Jeffery escapes two Lobos defenders during the first quarter.

Head coach Sean Kugler experienced a bittersweet day as the Miners fell in his debut against their rivals, the New Mexico Lobos 42-35 in overtime.

With a renewed rivalry, the Miners wanted to keep New Mexico’s streak of 15 years in Texas without a win alive, but in the end the Lobos running game allowed them to get their first win of the season.

The Lobos managed to get 395 yards on the ground, and the Miner defense couldn’t figure a way to stop the triple-option offense. Running back Kasey Carrier ran 293 yards and scored four touchdowns to help New Mexico clinch the win.

“That kid is unbelievable,” said Kugler of Carrier, “He was a 1,500-yard rusher last year and we knew he was a weapon; he was on tonight.”

Despite the Miners inability to stop the Lobos’ run attack, the Miners offense had its positives, being efficient and consistent. The run game carried the Miners, accounting for 280 of the Miners’ 399 total yards. Freshman running back Aaron Jones was terrific in his first collegiate game, rushing for 127 yards (which is the most by a freshman since 1996) on 11 carries, with two touchdowns, including a 65-yard score to give the Miners a 28-21 lead.

“I never dreamed of a 100-yard game in my first game,” said Jones, “I did dream of scoring, so I was happy about that. Playing in my first collegiate game just felt like my dream becoming a reality.”

Neither team could sustain a lead or extend their lead past seven. New Mexico would score, then UTEP would come right back and it was apparent that the game was going to come down to the wire or go into overtime.

“We turned the ball over once, we missed a chip-shot field goal and I thought it was going to come down to that in the end,” said New Mexico head coach Bob Davie.

Going into the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 28, New Mexico scored first on a four-minute drive, then the Miners came right back with a six-minute scoring drive to send the game into overtime.

In overtime, the Lobos converted on a crucial third and six with a Kasey Carrier 21-yard touchdown. The Miners were poised to score and send the game into double overtime, facing fourth and one. The Miners gave the ball to Jeffery, but failed to convert, from the looks of the replay, and where Nathan Jeffery’s knee came down, the Miners thought that they got the first down. Yet. after a measurement and a replay, the officials decided to not overturn the call, which gave the Lobos the win.

“I felt we made it, that’s why I challenged it, but we didn’t win the challenge,” Kugler said. “It should’ve never gone to that, we should never put that type of call in the referees’ hands, we need to take business ourselves, we‘ve got to get the first down ourselves.”

In the locker room, Kugler told his men to hold their heads high and be proud of their effort on the field. The Miners will now go back to the drawing board as they prepare for their biggest rival, New Mexico State. The Miners will head to Las Cruces on Sept. 14 looking to get their first win of the season.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Javier Cortez
Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter
Javier Cortez is a staff reporter for The Prospector. He is a senior multimedia journalism major, with a minor in English Rhetoric. Javier was born and raised in El Paso, TX and before coming to UTEP in the summer of 2012, he graduated from Irvin High School, where he was a four-year varsity tennis player, a member of student council and a class officer for his graduating class. He has also worked for the El Paso Diablos as a sports information intern on their media relations team. In his spare time, Javier loves to write columns for the perspectives section in the school newspaper—whether it is sports, pop culture, religion, and society he loves to write about it. To go along with writing, Javier loves reading anything about sports, religion, and non-fiction.
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Kasey Carrier and the Lobos spoil Kugler’s debut