Turnovers bite Miners in 42-21 loss to Bulldogs

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Priscilla Gomez

Head Coach Dana Dimel gives directions to the team.

Isaiah Ramirez, Reporter

Coming into its matchup with Louisiana Tech (7-1, 4-0) the UTEP football team (1-6, 0-4) knew this would be a tough task to overcome against the first place and offensive powerhouse Bulldogs. LA Tech proved just how tough they were showcasing an exceptional offense with 490 yards of total offense in a 42-21 win over the Miners with 16,084 fans in attendance.  

UTEP has now lost six straight games and LA Tech leads the all-time series between the two teams 13-2-1. 

LA Tech started its second series with an eightplay, 73-yard yard drive, scoring off a one-yard rushing touchdown by redshirt junior running back Israel Tucker.   

The Miners began the first quarter on good terms offensively, specifically with a 12 play, 84-yard drive capped off by a five-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Treyvon Hughes.  

This scoring drive, which occurred at the 6:04 mark in the first quarter, included a solid passing display by senior quarterback Kai Locksley where he went 6-for-6 for 62 passing yards.  

Locksley played the entire game under center for the first time this season, as he has rotated the quarterback position with senior Brandon Jones, who is currently injured with a concussion. 

“It felt good and I felt comfortable and I felt my chemistry with the guys were good and we were able to establish a connection,” Locksley said.  

“Kai threw the ball well today and we didn’t try to run him much and only when we needed to” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said.   

The score was tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. 

Penalties that have been kryptonite for the Miners were nowhere to found in the first quarter for UTEP. In the Miners last game against Florida International, the Miners committed ten penalties for 106 total yards.  

The Miners new kryptonite turned out to be turnovers as it committed two fumbles in the second quarter with an errant hike over Kai Locksley’s head and a fumble by Locksley deep in LA Tech territory.  

UTEP went on to have three fumbles for the game. LA Tech capitalized off those turnovers with three trips to the end zone. 

“Fumble inside the red zone and a bad snap those were the two things that led to scores and again you can’t give a 6-1 team a ton of momentum plays and that’s what we did,” Dimel said. 

Another major Achille’s heel for UTEP was LA Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith who at the 9:45 mark in the second quarter was 13-for 13 for 129 yards passing and one passing touchdown. 

Smith’s final stat line would be 29-for-35, 338 passing yards, and three touchdowns. The standout senior came into the game against the Miners as one of the best passers in the nation ranking 20th nationally in total passing yards with 1,882. 

LA Tech lead 28-7 at halftime with Smith throwing for 220 yards going 20-for-23 with two passing touchdowns. Bulldog redshirt junior wide receiver Cee Jay Powell had 65 receiving yards on five receptions, while redshirt junior wideout Malik Stanley had 39 receiving yards, four completions, and one receiving touchdown in the first half.  

UTEP’s one silver lining in the blowout loss was a strong receiving core of redshirt junior Justin Garret having a careerhigh five receptions for 60 yards, and freshman wide receiver Jacob Cowing with two receptions for 70 yards, and one touchdown reception.  

Senior running back Treyvon Hughes rushed for a teamhigh 60 yards and had one touchdown for the game. Hughes now has seven rushing touchdowns for the season.  

Junior running back Josh Fields displayed a steady rushing outing with 52 yards, averaging a teamhigh 7.4 yards per carry, and had a careerhigh run of 30 yards with 5:18 in the second quarter.  

The Miners last score of the game came off a 54-yard passing touchdown by Locksley to Cowing with 2:51 remaining in the game.  

Locksley finished the game with 19 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, and through the air had 221 yards passing.  

“We showed some improvements but until we could just execute and not have big mistakes and get rid of those glaring mistakes, we have a chance to win some competitive games,” Dimel said. 

UTEP hits the road to take on North Texas at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in Denton, Texas. The matchup can be viewed on the NFL Network.