UTEP's loss to Rice Saturday night cost more than an L in the standings, UTEP lost several starters for extended periods of time. The injury issues start up front where tackle Greg Long is out for the year and center Derron Gatewood may be missing from the starting lineup Friday night vs. Arizona. Receiver Alan Bussey is out for the year with a shoulder injury as well. Most costly is the loss of quarterback Ryan Metz for "several weeks." Zack Greenlee will start against the Wildcats. UTEP suffered a significant drop off at the position with Greenlee in the lineup last season. The more mobile Mark Torrez will play under center as well.
On defense promising outside linebacker Jayson Van Hook and defensive back Khalil Rashaad-Brown are both done for the season. Defensive lineman Christian Buckingham and safety Michael Lewis will both be evaluated later this week to determine their availability. Head coach Sean Kugler admitted "it doesn't look good" concerning Lewis' chances of playing Friday night.
Injuries and other issues hit UTEP's defensive line particularly hard. Preseason starters Christian Buckingham is out with an injury, Denzel Chukwukelu is demoted and nose guard Chris Richardson failed to qualify academically. A defensive line that averaged almost 300 pounds per man is smaller and now starts two true freshmen and a 240-pound defensive end. A long season in El Paso just got longer.