UTEP’s homecoming wraps up with no happy ending


Aaron Montes / The Prospector

Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter

As homecoming came to a close, the Miners fell to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 38-35. UTEP fell short of a near comeback after falling behind by 17 points in the second quarter._MG_9170_WEB

The story of the game was once again the Miners shortcomings on defense, with the offense carrying the load. Head coach Sean Kugler said the Louisiana Tech running backs are possibly the best UTEP has faced all season, and to say he was right is not that far off base. The Bulldogs rushed for 386 yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Running back Kenneth Dixon led the Bulldogs in the rushing attack with 206 yards, averaging an astounding eight yards per carry.

“We didn’t execute, we didn’t tackle, and that’s the story defensively,” Kugler said.

The Miners have had worst showing statistically on defense, but tonight’s game was undoubtedly the worst game the defense has played all year. The two biggest mishaps came on huge third downs. Twice the Miners had the Bulldogs at 3rd and 21, and both times the Miners gave up huge runs. The first was a 30-yard run by Kenneth Dixon, and the second was a 62-yard run also by Dixon–the Miners simply missed tackles all night long.

“We had them pinned back deep in their territory two times, but the end result with those two long runs killed us,” Kugler said.

After the game, the UTEP defense was withheld from talking to the media, through five games UTEP has one of the worst defenses in Conference USA, and one of the worst rush defenses in the nation.

Despite the bad play on defense, the Miners offense once again had a good showing. The Miners racked up 440 yards of total offense, with a balanced attack running and passing the ball. Freshman running back Aaron Jones had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, rushing for 127 yards on 18 carries, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

Even though the Miners offense once again carried the heavy load tonight, starting quarterback Jameill Showers was not satisfied with the offense’s showing.

“We came out and scored on the first drive, but then we stalled for two drives, we have to score,” Showers said. “If we don’t get scores we’re going to lose.”

The offensive success the Miners had was overshadowed by another great showing from the opposing team’s running back, Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz was all praise for his star running back Kenneth Dixon.

“Kenneth is a horse, I’m really proud of him. We challenged him. I’ll tell you this, you got to tackle him. You’re not going to hit him and knock him down. You got to tackle him,” Holtz said.

After tonight’s loss the Miners fall to 1-4 and 0-2 in conference play. Coach Kugler addressed the fact that UTEP’s home attendance has significantly dropped since the home opener.

“To be honest if the fans are upset, they have every right to be, but just know we’re going to go back to work and work hard at getting this thing corrected,” Kugler said. “I can’t go out tomorrow and bring in new players, or coaches, or a new scheme and everything is fixed, that’s not how it works, you have to go back and work, and we have a lot of work to do.”