UTEP looks for two in a row after breaking losing streak


Gaby Velasquez

Senior cornerback Nik Needham had one interception against the UAB Blazers Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Sun Bowl.

Isaiah Ramirez, Reporter

After snapping the nation’s longest losing streak against the Rice Owls. The UTEP Miners (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) look to keep the momentum rolling as they take on Middle Tennessee, ( 6-3, 5-1 C-USA) Saturday, at the Sun Bowl.

Coming off their best first-half performance of the season the Miners are looking for more of the same for sixty minutes. The Miners haven’t beaten the Blue Raiders since 2014 in a 24-21 win. The Blue Raiders are currently on a streak of their own winning their last three games.

Offense must have a repeat

Through the first half against Rice, the Miners offense was clicking on all cylinders. Junior quarterback Kai Locksley, who is usually more prominent in the run game, was an efficient 13-for-18 for 193 yards through the air.

Junior running back Quadriaz Wadley had his second-best rushing game of the season going for 91 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Up to this point in the season when Wadley has 15 or more carries for the game he has rushed for over 90 yards and averages over five yards a carry.

Three senior wideouts had over 30 yards receiving for the Miners against Rice—wide receiver Warren Reddix finished the game with four receptions for 63 yards, Eric Brown had three receptions with 60 yards and Terry Juniel finished with 3 receptions for 35 yards for the Miners.

The well-balanced offensive attack the Miners displayed last Saturday against Rice will need to be in attendance against the heavily-favored Blue Raiders. MTSU is a 20-point favorite against the Miners.

Blue Raiders streaking

Middle Tennessee’s defense has been exceptional of late allowing a mere 13 points per game in their last three games.

Senior safety Wesley Bush is ranked 14th in the nation with a team-leading three interceptions. The defense as a whole has six touchdowns this season ranking them sixth nationally.

On the offensive side of the ball, senior quarterback Brent Stockstill is having a successful season ranking 10th nationally in completion percentage at 69.3 percent.  Stockstill, the son of head coach Rick Stockstill, has 16 career 300-yard passing games tying him for seventh all-time in Conference-USA. His next 300-yard performance will tie him with former NFL and Houston Cougar quarterback Kevin Kolb for fifth all time.

UTEP defense will need to be a factor

The Miners are battling a Middle Tennessee team that is coming off a 484-yard outing against Western Kentucky. For the season the high powered Blue Raider offense has 33 total-touchdowns and is averaging 368 yards of total offense a game.

On defense, the Miners will look to linebackers A.J. Hotchkins and Jamar Smith this Middle Tennessee offense. Hotchkins leads the team with 84 tackles and three sacks on the season, while Smith has 52 total tackles on the season.

The matchup against Middle Tennessee is set to have an early kickoff time of 1:30 P.M. at the Sun Bowl.

Isaiah Ramirez may be reached at [email protected]