Miners still winless after loss to Army

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Miners still winless after loss to Army

Mike Flores, Reporter

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In a tale of two halves, UTEP played their best football of the season in the first half of today’s game at Army . The Miners got their first lead of the season, moved the ball well due to spectacular running by Quadraiz Wadley and were tied at 14 with Army at halftime.

Unfortunately for UTEP, football is a 60-minute sport. In the decisive second half, the floodgates opened; UTEP’s offense got shutout and was basically a no-show, UTEP’s defense gave up 21 points, and Army looked every bit the 22-point favorites they were coming into this one.

The final result: Army topped UTEP 35-21.

UTEP (0-5, 0-1 C-USA) is still among the very few winless programs in the nation this year and has yet to win in the Eastern Time Zone, as it’s now 0-22-1, while Army improved to 3-2.

The Miners’ glaring weakness, their rushing defense, was put to the test once again today. Army rushed for 353 yards and scored four times on the ground, as the UTEP defense couldn’t figure out Army’s unique triple-option offense.

The Knights came into the matchup only averaging nine passing yards per game, but against UTEP, Army picked up a season-high 80 passing yards. Army’s starting quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw also threw for a score in the fourth quarter—his first of the season.

In total, Army outgained UTEP 433-262 in total yards.

One huge takeaway for UTEP is the play of Wadley. The Miners came in dead last in rushing yards per game (62.8) in the nation, but Wadley was out for the first three games and only played one half before he faced Army.

In his first full game, Wadley picked up 156 rushing yards on 28 carries (5.6 average), and found the endzone, too.

Wadley guided UTEP to season-highs in rushing yards and first downs (16).

The play from UTEP’s offensive line was improved, as the rushing totals tell the story, but they also had crucial mistakes that costed them in the end. In total, UTEP’s offensive line gave up two sacks and got called for holding penalties at the worst possible times.

UTEP’s backup quarterback Zack Greenlee—who came in relief of Ryan Metz in the first quarter after a should injury—found Kavika Johnson for the score in the fourth quarter.

The Miners looked alive for the first time in the second half…until they didn’t. One of Derek Elmendorff’s three holding penalties took away what would have been Greenlee’s second passing score of the day. After that, UTEP couldn’t mimic the touchdown that was taken away, instead, they turned it over on downs.

Nonetheless, Greenlee showed flashes of what he can do out on the field. He went 7-for-13, picked up 88 yards through the air, and hooked up with David Lucero for the 2-yard score—which was Lucero’s first receiving touchdown with the Miners. Also, UTEP’s wide receiver Tyler Batson caught a team-high five passes for 80 yards.

The only score for UTEP in the second half came from Kahani Smith’s pick-six when Army put in their second string quarterback Luke Langdon as the game was all but done.

It doesn’t get much easier for UTEP as they set to face Western Kentucky in El Paso next Saturday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. for homecoming week. It will be the first time ever that UTEP hosts WKU.

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