Miners blown out by Arizona 63-16

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Miners blown out by Arizona 63-16

Daniel Mendez, Sports Reporter

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The Miners rushed for an abysmal 17 yards on the ground as the visiting Arizona Wildcats crushed UTEP 63-16 on Friday, Sept. 15 at the Sun Bowl.

Last week against Rice, UTEP (0-3) managed to rush for a total of just 26 yards. Friday was the same story against Arizona (2-1).

The Wildcats themselves compiled 326 yards on the ground as the Miners had no answer defensively all night. Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins totaled six touchdowns – three rushing and three passing – The Wildcats totaled 501 yards and the Miners tacked on 218.

Head coach Sean Kugler addressed the lack of his team’s running game post-game.

“You look at scheme first, if you’re doing too much or not doing what’s suited for your players, collectively something’s got to change or we are going to be in trouble,” he said.

In the first quarter, both teams were figuring each other out as the Miners came up with some big stops to force a scoreless first quarter. It wasn’t until the end of the first where the Wildcats started to run better and get a drive in the red zone to start the second.

Dawkins, on a fourth down attempt, found a wide open J.J. Taylor for the game’s first score at the 14-minute mark of the second quarter. Arizona was a perfect 4-for-4 on fourth down attempts in the contest.

Down 21-0, the Miners were forced to punt yet again but this time the Wildcats scored on the return. A 63-yard punt return touchdown by Shun Brown gave the Wildcats their fourth touchdown of the quarter.

The Miners quickly drove down the field the next drive and scored with a nine-yard Tyler Batson touchdown reception from quarterback Zack Greenlee, who started in place of an injured Ryan Metz. Kicker Brady Viles would miss the extra point but nailed a 53-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

The Wildcats led the Miners at halftime by a score of 35-9 with all 35 points coming in the second quarter.

Out of the half, Dawkins continued to stunt for the Wildcats. It took just three minutes for Dawkins to find paydirt with his second rushing touchdown of the game at the 12:10 mark of the third quarter to bring the score to 42-9.

Mark Torrez replaced Greenlee the next drive and was able to bring what little momentum he could to the Miners offense with a six-yard touchdown run to cut the Wildcats lead to 42-16.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IgktLtT6ak[/embedyt]

“It’s kinda easy to run behind the big guys, that was a play design had to sub a play fake and it was easy to go in,” said Torrez.

The Miners were then outscored 21-0 the rest of the contest.

Head coach for Arizona, Rich Rodriguez, would have Dawkins in for just one drive in the fourth quarter. Nathan Tilford was his replacement and the quarterback ran for two scores.

As for the Miners quarterback situation, Metz will still be sidelined with soreness in his shoulder, his timetable for his return is unknown.

Linebacker Alvin Jones recorded 16 tackles for the Miners but was unconcerned about his stats and more concerned with the overall play of his team.

“Got blown out, got embarrassed out there, it really doesn’t matter. I’m frustrated and tired of losing,” he said.

UTEP will try to right the ship and earn their first victory of 2017 against Battle of I-10 rival New Mexico State in Las Cruces on Saturday, Sept. 23. The Miners have beaten the Aggies eight consecutive years.

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