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Miners stay on road against UNT

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The UTEP football team has beaten North Texas in two consecutive seasons.

Miners hope to set aside a ‘rough weekend’ as they go against UNT.

At 0-9, there’s not much left to resurrect from the Miners’ crucifixion of a season.

Here’s a stat for the books: UTEP is one of just two winless teams in all of FBS. The only other team is Georgia Southern, the Sun Belt-affiliated team that actually has been in arms’ reach with their league opponents, giving them some hope at a win down the line.

UTEP’s chances at a win, on the other hand, look slim as the team takes on North Texas (6-3) this Saturday, then LA Tech (4-5) at home and UAB (6-3) to close off the year.

“Not a happy camper right now. Not going like we thought it would be,” interim head coach Mike Price said.

First, the Miners have to shake off a 30-3 loss to Middle Tennessee that Price called a “rough trip.”

Against the Blue Raiders, the Miners gained just 137 total yards of offense and just put up a field goal in the game. To make matters worse, starting running back Quadraiz Wadley, who just returned to the gridiron from a knee injury, suffered a clavicle injury to his neck and is out for this week against North Texas.

Quarterback Ryan Metz also has a sore shoulder and the coaches will be “analyzing” who will be starting at quarterback this week, according to Price.

“Rough weekend, rough trip,” Price said. “I don’t think we moved a step ahead. I think we took a step back as a team. A loss we want to forget as soon as possible.”

The loss and lack of offense set the Miners back to the worst team in the country for total offense, averaging just 213.0 yards per game. They’re the second-worst team in scoring, averaging 11.4 points a game, and the third-worst team in FBS for rushing yards, with only 86.9 a game.

“This is a highlight for me,” Price said when asked if this was his most challenging offensive team to work with. “I don’t have the magical powder I used to have.”

One positive takeaway from the game was freshman Joshua Fields hitting his second consecutive career high after rushing for 87 yards on 17 carries. On their lone scoring drive, Fields ran the ball for 61 yards on eight attempts.

“Josh Fields is the guy now,” Price said. “Played very well in two games. Very pleased with him. He’s only a freshman.”

Now the Miners will have to set the loss aside and focus on a North Texas road trip that will look entirely different than when the Miners played them before.

North Texas is vying for a spot in the Conference USA championship game and will clinch their place with a win over UTEP. They are currently the C-USA West Divisional leaders, partially due to their offensive explosiveness.

“Touchdown Tommy (defensive coordinator Tom Mason) has a big load this week,” Price said.

Indeed, the North Texas offense requires much defensive attention because of their air raid attack. They are led by sophomore quarterback Mason Fine, who is second in C-USA for passing yards per game (288.8), passing yards (2,599) and is tied for first in passing touchdowns (18).

“He’s a sophomore, but he’s a really good player,” Price said. “You have to stop Mason Fine.”

This North Texas team also likes to score points. They currently average 35.9 points per contest, which ranks them second best in the league.

Their defensive pressure will also be an issue for the Miners as they like to bring up safeties close to the line and aggressively attack their opponents.

“Defense is different than anything we’ve seen,” Price said.

While North Texas is hunting for their program’s first-ever spot in the C-USA championship, the Miners will fight for their first win of the season.

Kickoff will be at 3 p.m. MT and will be televised on ESPN 3.

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Miners stay on road against UNT