Miners return to face Old Dominion

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Miners return to face Old Dominion

The UTEP Miners need to win four of their last five games to qualify for bowl eligibility.

The UTEP Miners need to win four of their last five games to qualify for bowl eligibility.

File Photo The Prospector

The UTEP Miners need to win four of their last five games to qualify for bowl eligibility.

File Photo The Prospector

File Photo The Prospector

The UTEP Miners need to win four of their last five games to qualify for bowl eligibility.

Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor

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It was seven weeks ago that the Miners were praying for their next win.

It had been four weeks since the squad lost 34-7 to Southern Mississippi and were desperate for a win to turn their season around.

Seven weeks later, their prayers were answered in the Alamodome at UTSA.

After a grueling battle against the Roadrunners, the Miners scraped away with a magnificent win in the fifth overtime, 52-49. It was quarterback Ryan Metz who scrambled outside the pocket and threw a dart to Warren Redix for a six-yard game-winning touchdown.

The game was the longest overtime game in Conference USA history, and with the victory the Miners snapped their haunting five-game losing streak.

It was the exact result the win-hungry Miners needed.

The Miners (2-5, 1-3 Conference USA) plan to abandon their struggling first half of the season and find an inner resurgence during their final five games. Next, they will prepare to host Old Dominion (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) for their homecoming battle on Saturday, Oct. 29.

If they have any hopes for a bowl berth, the Miners must win four out of their last five games. Each game could be a crucial factor to their season.

The Monarchs are coming off an overwhelming 59-24 loss to Western Kentucky. This was their first loss since they fell to NC State 49-22 on Sept. 17. Like the Miners, the Monarchs are coming into the matchup Saturday seeking a win to further their chances at post-season play.

They play their best at home, being undefeated at home this season so far (3-0). On the road, Old Dominion has struggled with a poor 1-3 record. The Miners may have caught them at the best time for this matchup as they host Old Dominion in the Sun Bowl.

But the Monarchs will bring their strong points to the Sun City.

Fronted by C-USA’s second-leading scorer, running back Jeremy Cox, Old Dominion is a force on the ground. Cox is currently second in C-USA for points (10.3 per game) and touchdowns (10).

As a team, Old Dominion averages 181.6 rushing yards per game. They like to score, and more importantly, they like to score fast. With the help of gunslinger David Washington, the Monarchs can sail it through the air or keep it on the ground with their quick, balanced attack.

Washington is currently sixth in C-USA for passing yards (1,486) and has accumulated 14 touchdowns.

Defensively, the Monarchs like to create havoc and create turnovers. They have picked off seven passes this season.

On the Miners’ side, the offense has finally found their solution to the quarterback vacancy with Ryan Metz. It seemed like they would not find their answer, but after three noteworthy performances, Metz is definitely the man the Miners were looking for at the quarterback spot.

Against UTSA, Metz completed 15-of-23 passes for 211 yards and for a whopping three touchdowns. He is not afraid of throwing the ball deep and scrambling outside the pocket.

Aaron Jones had another field day against the Roadrunners. He totaled 169 total yards against UTSA and reached the end zone three times. Jones is currently ranked 14th in the nation for rushing yards (846) and second in C-USA.

Kickoff against the Monarchs is slated for 6 p.m. at the Sun Bowl on Oct. 29. 

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