Inventing New Ways to Lose
Having been a UTEP football fan for the last 30-plus years, I have witnessed many bizarre losses. However, a series of events today occurred that helped Marshall pull out a 16-12 win over the Miners. These included the following:
1. After scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just 5:25 left in the game, UTEP went for a 2-point conversion. Instead of getting the 2 points or failing on the attempt, Donald Brown intercepted Trevor Vittatoe's pass and ran 100 yards to give Marshall the 2 points. UTEP led 12-9.
2. The Miners defense played great and nothing stood out more than a key goal line stand late in the game. However, UTEP committed a mind-boggling roughing the kicker penalty on the 19-yard field goal attempt, which gave the ball back to the Thundering Herd on the Miners 1-yard line. Marshall scored the game winning touchdown on the next play.
3. UTEP did get the ball back with less than 2 minutes left and no timeouts remaining. The Miners drove to the Marshall 31 yard line, but Vittatoe inexplicably downed the ball on 3rd down forcing UTEP to have only one play to get a first down. It was the second time in the game that TV downed the ball on either 2nd or 3rd down. The Miners failed and lost the game.
I'm sure there were more errors to mention, but those three stood out the most. They also illustrate that despite 5 wins against mediocre at best competition, the Miners have found ways to lose ballgames that they should have won in the late season. It has become a trademark of the Mike Price era.