UTEP traveled to Ruston looking to kick their losing streak and beat a CUSA Western Conference contender. That didn't happen as the Bulldogs beat the Miners 28-7. Here's what we saw...
Ryan Metz Looks Like the Best Answer at Quarterback
Assuming Ryan Metz is healthy going forward (he took a big shot in the fourth quarter and didn't return), he looks like the answer at quarterback. Or at least the best answer so far. Last night Metz completed 20 of his 28 attempts for 215 yards with a pick. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but a solid performance for a UTEP quarterback.
Mistakes Doomed the Miners
UTEP's offense is such that the Miners must stay ahead of the chains. Third and longs are death for Sean Kugler's team. Last night the Miners couldn't get out of their own way and that trait killed drive after drive.
Of UTEP nine drives, five ended after the Miners failed to convert a third down and 7 or more. The Miners converted 8 of 9 third downs of six or less. Add to that a sixth drive that ended on a Metz interception and a seventh ending with a UTEP fumble at the Louisiana Tech 2 and seven of nine drives ended due to third and long failures or turnovers.
With seven of nine Miners drives ending after third and long or turnovers the Miners were going to struggle to put points up. Surprisingly, the Miners actually moved the ball well throughout the night in Ruston. UTEP outgained La Tech 415 to 387.
UTEP also ran 19 more plays than the Bulldogs and possessed the ball for 11 more minutes. The Miners had their best day since New Mexico State on third down, converting eight of fourteen third downs.
UTEP returns home next week for a Conference game against a 1-4 Florida International team, a must win for the Miners.