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Second half woes continue for Miners in loss to UTSA

Gaby Velasquez

After an encouraging first half by UTEP, UTSA lived up to their conference-leading defense and shutout the Miners to secure a 31-14 win.

The game seemed to be on the brink of a blowout with UTSA (5-2, 2-2 Conference USA) putting up the first 17 points on the scoreboard. But UTEP (0-8, 0-4 C-USA) responded with a touchdown run by quarterback Zack Greenlee and an interception by Justin Rogers on UTSA’s following possession, which led to Josh Field’s first collegiate career touchdown with under two minutes left in the first half.

Those string of good plays brought the Miners deficit down 17-14 at halftime.

But that was the lone sign of life for the UTEP football team in this game. The second half was dominated by the Roadrunners.

After picking up 168 total yards of offense in the first half, UTEP only managed to pick up 75 yards in the second half to bring their total yardage earned to 243 yards.

“In the second half, we fell apart. We aren’t a very good second-half team,” interim head coach Mike Price said.

The longest and maybe the most important drive of the game was a 17-play, 85-yard drive by UTSA to extend their lead 24-14. That one drive alone ate up 8:28 of the third quarter.

On that same drive, UTSA picked up a crucial 4th and 1 to keep the drive alive in the red zone—which eventually turned out to be Jalen Rhodes’ second rushing touchdown of the game.

With a whole quarter left for the Miners to respond and regroup, they did the complete opposite and turned into their own worst enemies.

The dagger in the hearts of the Miners happened early in the fourth quarter, with Greenlee trying to force a pass to one of his receivers, but instead, it was picked off by UTSA and returned for the touchdown.

Davis’ interception return of 22-yards for the touchdown was the final touch to a nearly perfect defensive showing by UTSA in the closing half of the contest.

Greenlee finished 8-for-29 with 133 passing yards and threw two interceptions.

“He’s a streaky guy (Greenlee). He did a nice job in the second quarter but didn’t play well in the second half, there’s no doubt about that,” Price said.

Life seemed to be coming back to the Miners on the very next possession. Kevin Dove broke a 72-yard run for the touchdown—until it was called back by a holding penalty on UTEP.

“We didn’t play smart tonight. The team that makes the least mistakes usually wins and that was the case tonight. No question about it, we made plays that weren’t very smart. That came back to bite us in the end,” Price said. “We made some serious mistakes offensively in the second half. We have to quit making mistakes like that. It wasn’t pretty.”

In total, UTSA’s offense picked up nearly 400 yards of total offense and also picked up 22 first downs, compared to the Miners’ 10 first downs. They were the more efficient team in the second half.

“The defense at times is playing well enough to win in this league. They (UTSA) were well below their average on us tonight, but we made some dumb mistakes,” Price said.

Next, UTEP will be on the road to face Middle Tennessee on Nov. 4 at 4:30 p.m. EST.

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Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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Second half woes continue for Miners in loss to UTSA