Miners become bowl eligible

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Michaela Roman

Running back Nathan Jeffery scores the first of his three touchdowns.

Juan Carlos Navarrete, Staff Reporter

 

The Miners continue their quest for a bowl bid on Saturday at home against North Texas. The Miners who were 5-4 and 3-2 in conference were set for their game against a North Texas team who was 3-6 and 1-4 in conference.

The Miners fired on all cylinders as they scored on their first possession. The Miners stringed together a seven play 75-yard drive that tallied over four minutes. A series of long runs capped by a 31-yard run by Nathan Jeffery put the Miners ahead of the Mean Green 7-0.

The Miners continued to push down the field against North Texas. With the use of a trick play reverse run and long runs; the Miners put together an eight-play drive. The drive was capped off by a two-yard run by Jeffery.

After a North Texas three and out UTEP was able to score once again with a fast possession. The Miners drove the ball for seven plays with a short field under 50 yards to continue their shut out effort 28-0.

The Miners went into the half with a 28-0 lead and bowl eligibility just 30 minutes away. UTEP had control of the half with over 280 yards and 218 of them coming through the running game.

The second half started with a Mean Green drive that led to their first points of the night. After a bad defensive drive by UTEP that included two-pass interference calls North Texas booted a 37-yard field goal.

The Miners continued to run the ball in the second half. UTEP put together a quick drive that lasted less than two minutes to bring the score to 35-3. It was a 54 yard run however by Aaron Jones that led to the fast score.

With that run running back Aaron Jones passed the 1,000-yard marker for a season making him the first running back since 2009 to reach that milestone.

“I owe that to the guys ahead of me, my linemen clear the path for me and all the backs.” Aaron Jones said.

Sean Kugler showed appreciation for his teams efforts in this game after a strong running attack proved to be the way to the win.

“We ran over 350 yards against one of the best running defenses in conference USA.”

The fourth quarter went routinely much like the first three. The Miners continued to control the game during the fourth quarter as they ran the ball. North Texas was able to move the ball better than in the first three quarters resulting in two touchdowns, the game though was out of reach by then.

The Miners closed the game with more than 400 yards and five rushing touchdowns. The defense only allowed 200 yards and had a great third down conversion ratio only allowing 6 conversions the whole game.

“ I talked to the team and told them you’ve played well in facets, but have never put together a complete four quarters, today I feel like they did that today, there were yards in the end but overall I’m happy with the way these guys played.” Coach Kugler said.

With this win the Miners move to 6-4 and more importantly have secured an opportunity to play in a bowl game. The Miners could be playing a bowl game at the end of the season, and regardless of where it is or which game it is; it is something Miner fans should be proud of. The Miners won at home to 24,000 fans and this win could be more about making a bowl game, but one that brings fans back home to the Sun Bowl.

 

Juan Carlos Navarrete can be reached at [email protected]