UTEP Defeats Former WAC Rival Colorado State on Homecoming
UTEP and Colorado State squared off at the Sun Bowl on Saturday night for homecoming. The Miners prevailed 31-17 to win their 2nd consecutive game, and go above .500 with a record of 4-3 on the season
As usual the crowd was nothing to write home about, the announced attendance was 31,000. Those fans who decided to show up were treated to an all around solid performance by the Miners. UTEP wanted to prove to everyone that their dominant win against Tulane was no fluke.
They began the game by putting the pressure on Colorado State as they scored a toucdown just 1:19 into the contest. QB Nick Lamaison found Nathan Jeffery for the 36 yard score. Right before the first quarter expired the Miners went up 14-0 on a 48 yard Vernon Frazier touchdown run.
It appeared as though UTEP was about to blow out their former WAC foes, but the Rams got new life with 2 quick Miner turnovers within a 20 second span. After kicking a field goal to make the score 14-3, Colorado State's Cornerback Momo Thomas intercepted a Lamaison pass and scored on a 45 yard return cutting the deficit to 14-10.
A Joe Banyard fumble gave Colorado State the opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the game. They were on the 23 yard line when UTEP cornerback Adrian James intercepted a Pete Thomas pass in the end zone and returned it all the way to the Colorado State 26 yard line.
The Colorado State turnover resulted in a UTEP field goal giving the Miners a 17-10 halftime lead. The halftime show was awesome! I didn't know if I was at a concert or a football game because all the lights in the Sun Bowl went out and everyone had their lit cell phones out. I have been covering UTEP football for quite some time now and have never seen the lights go out like that.
After the halftime fiasco UTEP dominated Colorado State allowing them to score only once more while they pilled on the points and won the game 31-17. UTEP defeated their former rival for the first time in 23 years and did so in a rather impressive fashion.
The Miners deserve a lot of credit, their defense only allowed 10 points. Their potent offense was highlighed by QB Nick Lamaison who looked like a seasoned veteran scoring on a 33 TD scramble in the 4th quarter. Running Back Vernon Frazier added the icing on the cake with his 2 TD scores for 48 and 83 yards.
It seems like UTEP is getting hot at the right time. Normally we cringe as the calender hits November knowing how poorly the Miners traditionally play during the final month of the season. This year is different though as UTEP has won their last 2 games and has 3 of their final 4 games at the Sun Bowl.
We always knew how good this team could be if their defense would buckle down. It looks like we are in for an interesting finish to the 2011 campaign. Is it possible that 40,000 people can actually come see this team play next Saturday? I would like to hope so.