Losses, Pressure Mount on Miners After Tulsa Defeat
UTEP head coach Sean Kugler and Miners players talked to the media after Saturday night's loss to Tulsa, UTEP's fourth straight. It is not getting any easier for Kugler & Co. See the video after the game story, courtesy of UTEP Athletics.
Cody Green threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Tulsa snapped a three-game losing streak with a 34-20 win at UTEP on Saturday night.
Green completed 14-of-17 passes for 226 yards as the Golden Hurricane (2-4, 1-1 C-USA) kept the Miners (1-5, 0-3 C-USA) winless at home this season. UTEP will play its final game in the Sun Bowl on Nov. 16 against FIU, closing the season with five of its last six contests on the road.
Trey Watts rushed for 142 yards for Tulsa, and Thomas Roberson had 105 yards receiving.
Jordan Leslie picked up his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game for the Miners, collecting 102 yards on four catches. Jameill Showers completed 21-of-30 passes for 166 yards, and Aaron Jones once again led the Miners in rushing (90 yards) before leaving the game in the third quarter with an apparent sternum injury.
Tulsa built a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter. The Miners scored the next 10 points, highlighted by Autrey Golden’s 100-yard kickoff return to open the second half. Golden is the UTEP all-time leader with four kickoff returns for touchdowns, and the only player in school history with two 100-yard kickoff returns.
Carl Salazar hit two field goals to push the Golden Hurricane’s lead to 27-13. Showers connected with Leslie for a 71-yard touchdown pass to once again make it at one possession game (27-20) with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter.
The Miners, however, couldn’t get the defensive stop that they needed. Tulsa drove 68 yards on 11 plays, and on fourth and one at the two-yard line Green plunged into the end zone on the quarterback keeper.
The Miners marched to the TU 28-yard line on their next possession, but the drive stalled with 3:22 to play as Showers’ pass to Jim Jones fell incomplete.
UTEP collected 388 yards of offense to Tulsa’s 430. The Miner defense settled down after giving up 203 yards in the first quarter, but UTEP was erratic offensively as three drives fizzled out inside the red zone.
Following next week’s bye, the Miners will play at Rice on Oct. 26 (1:30 p.m. MT) as they kick off a three-game road swing.
--Denise Mata, UTEP Athletics