Miners fall to Roadrunners on Sun Bowl’s 50th anniversary

Aaron J. Montes

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Miners fall to Roadrunners on Sun Bowl’s 50th anniversary

Aaron Montes / The Prospector

Aaron Montes / The Prospector

Aaron Montes / The Prospector

Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter

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There were fireworks at halftime, but there was no celebrating after the game for the Miners on the day that marked the 50th anniversary of the Sun Bowl. The University of Texas, San Antonio Roadrunners outplayed the Miners in almost every facet of the game, beating UTEP 32-13.

The Roadrunners scored 18 unanswered points in the seconds half, and held the Miners to only 218 yards and six points on offense to win their first game in Conference USA.

Both teams displayed great offensive production prior to Saturday night’s game, but the defense was the theme of the game. The Roadrunners defense was simply more consistent than the Miners’ who struggled in the first half.

“We didn’t sustain drives, we weren’t efficient, we didn’t run the ball the way we wanted to,” Kugler said. “That put us in third and longs, and even when we do get in those situations we still have to convert.”

On offense, UTSA caught the Miners off guard. The Roadrunner offense was efficient all night despite slowing down in the second half–only scoring once at the end of the game.

UTEP’s offense was the exact opposite. They struggled to get first downs and points on the board–the only touchdown came on an Autrey Golden 100 yard kickoff return. The Miners were averaging a mere 3.4 yards a carry, and 7.0 yards per pass completion. Kugler was adamant about the team’s lack of execution.

After the first quarter, the Miners had a narrow 10-7 lead. In the the second quarter, however, the Roadrunners offense started to click, scoring 18 points on three drives as they took a commanding 25-10 lead.

“Defensively we just didn’t execute,” said linebacker Horace Miller. “We didn’t show great effort, we didn’t tackle sufficiently, as far as players go we just didn’t execute at all.”

Coming out of halftime, the Miners started to execute on defense, forcing the Roadrunners to punt on their first three drives.

“Defensively in the second half I really like how our players responded,” Kugler said. “They shut UTSA down until that last drive, they gave our offense really good field position that we didn’t cash in on, and to become a good team we have to cash in on those situations.”

The game was the worst showing of the UTEP offense. If it wasn’t a lack of execution,  it was missed opportunities. Prior to the game, the Miners averaged 286 rushing yards per game on offense. UTSA held the Miners to 99 yards on 29 carries, all thanks to the Roadrunners defensive line.

“We have a very solid defensive line,” said Roadruuners head coach Larry Coker. “We played two defensive lines to keep our line fresh. Our defensive line coach Eric Roark has done a great job with them, and all of them played hard.”

Starting quarterback Jameill Showers had no excuses for the lack of offensive production by the Miners. With the run game out of the equation on offense, the Miners became predictable–having to pass on almost every third down.

“We weren’t making plays,” Showers said. “We had big time opportunities to make plays and we didn’t execute well enough. UTSA played very well, they’re very disciplined, but that’s on us. There were throws that I should have made, we just didn’t execute.”

Tonight’s loss once again is disappointing considering the circumstances–with the celebration of the Sun Bowl and fourth consecutive loss at home. The Miners, however, are looking ahead, adamant and confident that they will bounce back next week on a road game against Colorado State.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]

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