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UTEP’s turnovers lead to loss against UNM

Photo courtesy of UTEP Strategic Communications
The UTEP Miners lose 27-10 to the University of New Mexico Sept. 17 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Miners fell to the University of New Mexico Saturday night thanks to a struggling offense.  While the defense played well and kept UTEP in the game, the Miner’s offense looked sluggish and out of sync. In the start of the first quarter, the Miners defense was able to start strong, forcing a three and out and making the Lobos punt on the first drive. The Miners offense on the first series moved the ball slightly with junior quarterback Gavin Hardison connecting to senior tight end Walter Dawn Jr. on back-to-back plays. However, the offense stalled out and the Miners were forced to punt. 

UNM was able to move the ball down the field near the goal line. The Lobos were not able to punch it in the endzone because of the Miners’ tight defense. The Lobos got a field goal to go up 3-0. 

When the Miners went out on the next offensive drive, Hardison was picked off by a Lobos defender and it was taken back for a touchdown, leaving the score at 10-0. 

After the debacle on offense, UTEP tried moving the ball, but found themselves in a big third down situation, in which Hardison could not hit senior wide receiver Rey Flores. The Miners had to punt after not converting. 

The Miners’ defense  did not let UNM move the ball, with junior linebacker Tyrice Knight and senior defensive tackle Kelton Moss making stops on the first two plays of UNM’s offensive series. The Lobos were forced to punt after not converting on fourth-down. 

At the end of the first quarter, the Miners’ special team’s unit gave the team some life with a 47-yard return, placing the ball at the Lobos’ 34-yard line. The offense once again could not move the ball, settling for a field goal to cut down the Lobos’ lead to 10-3. 

At the start of the second quarter, the Lobos were able to move the ball down the field and score on an eight-play drive totaling 75- yards to go up 17-3. 

Later, Hardison was intercepted as he tried to connect with sophomore receiver Tyrin Smith. The defense was able to force a quick three and out to give the ball back to the Miners offense. The offense again could not do anything forcing a punt. 

The Miners would come close to scoring the ball, but the offense once again turned the ball over while going for it on fourth down with 44 seconds remining in the second quarter. 

The Lobos got the ball back and were able to get a field goal to go up 20-3 at halftime. 

In the start of the third quarter, Hardison hit Smith for a 79-yard connection, which ended up at the one-yard line, but the Miners fumbled the ball, allowing the Lobos to recover. 

Junior safety Ty’reke James snagged an interception to give the ball back to the Miners. The offense could not muster a good drive and tried to go for it on fourth down and failed. 

UTEP ended up moving the ball slightly at the end of third quarter, but Dawn Jr. ended up fumbling on that same drive at the start of the fourth quarter. 

Later, the defense made the Lobos go three and out. Hardison threw another interception, making that five turnovers for the Miners. 

The Lobos mustered a decent drive down the field, but the Miners were able to stop them on defense. The Lobos ended up missing a field goal, keeping the score at 20-3.  

Near the end of the fourth quarter, Hardison drove the offense down the field, first by connecting with Smith for a 38-yard play. Then, sophomore running back, Deion Hankins, punched in the ball at the one-yard line to put the score at 20-10. 

The Miners tried an onside kick, but the Lobos ended up with the ball. The Lobos also scored a touchdown to go up 27-10. 

The Miners went on to lose this game 27-10.  

Hardison finished the night with a 44 percent completion rate, throwing for 299 yards, and no touchdowns. The offense also ended the night with seven turnovers, their most in a game since 2005.  

“We were put into bad situations with the turnovers and got (New Mexico) momentum. But when it was all said and done, our defense played really good football,” said UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel. 

The Miners are back home against Boisie State University at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at Sun Bowl Stadium. 


Daniel Alec Lopez is a contributor and can be reached at @[email protected] 





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About the Contributor
Daniel Alec Lopez is senior Digital Media Production. Daniel joined The Prospector in 2019 as a contributor for multimedia, sports, and entertainment.  After graduation, Daniel hopes to relocate somewhere else in Texas and work in broadcasting or any kind of journalism job. 
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UTEP’s turnovers lead to loss against UNM