Aaron Jones Scores His Fourth TD Against North Texas [VIDEO]
UTEP's 2016 campaign ended with a 52-24 victory over North Texas, finishing off a disappointing season with a 4-8 record, 2-6 in Conference USA . Aaron Jones had one of the most extraordinary performances in the history of the program by rushing for 301 yards on 24 carries, and scored four touchdowns. Jones finished the season with 1,773 yards, which is a single season record, and fifth most in C-USA history. Jones' season total also bumped him up to the third leading rusher in the nation.
By rushing for 300 plus yards in a single game, Jones joined some of the most elite running backs in the country in West Virginia's Justin Crawford, Texas D'Onta Foreman and Utah's Joe Williams. Aaron Jones' 301 rushing yards were the most in a game accumulated by a UTEP football player since All-American Fred Wendt complied 326 yards against NMSU on November 25, 1948. Three of Jones' four touchdowns were spectacular runs of 83, 48 and 58 yards.
Without question, it was the Miners' most complete game of the season, fans should ponder where this offensive explosiveness has been all season though, as this team fell way short of preseason expectations. Heading into the offseason numerous questions will arise, such as will UTEP bring Coach Sean Kugler back for the final year of his contract, or will they buy out his final year for a mere $516,831? I feel that the Miners will keep Kugler for one final season to see how things pan out, with that being said, I would not at all be surprised if they let him go either.
The problem is, who else will UTEP be able to acquire for that type of a salary, especially with Kugler's tie to the program and NFL coaching experience. Another huge question that fans should ask is, will Aaron Jones forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft? After today's epic performance against UNT, there is no doubt that he will attempt to go pro, as Jones really has nothing to gain by coming back for his senior season and risking injury.
It will be a tumultuous offseason for the Miners as these questions will eventually be answered. One thing is for certain, the program has regressed and that is never a good thing, and attendance was the lowest for home games that it has been in years. One would think that changes are coming, after all collegiate athletics like anything else, is a business.