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Homecoming wraps up with no happy ending

Aaron Montes/The Prospector
Bulldogs wide receiver Andrew Guillot stretches to reach the endzone on a 5-yard touchdown run to tie the game in the first quarter.

Editor’s note: Make sure to check for the Tulsa vs. UTEP game preview at later this week

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.

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. 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 eight yards per carry.

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

The Miners have had worse showings statistically on defense, but Saturday’s game was undoubtedly the worst game the defense has played all year. The two biggest mishaps came on third downs. Twice the Miners had the Bulldogs at third and 21 and in both occassions they 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 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.

Although the Miners offense carried the load, 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,” Holtz said. “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.”

After the 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, coaches or a new scheme and everything is fixed. That’s not how it works. You have to go back and work. We have a lot of work to do.”

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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Homecoming wraps up with no happy ending