UTSA 32, UTEP 13: Miners Talk About Not Being Able to Make Plays
The Sun Bowl fireworks just kept coming. Rockets and popcorn flashes and whistles and explosions. Too bad for UTEP that it was only halftime.
The Miners pyrotechnic directors actually set off the display for former UTEP cheerleader Jalyssa Walker, who set a world record at halftime for doing 53 backflips just before the teams came back onto the field.
One press box wag noted Walker had 50 more yards more than the Miners in the first half. He wasn't far off.
UTSA claimed the first-ever game between the Roadrunners and the UTEP Miners, 32-13, holding the Miners without an offensive touchdown for just the third time since UTEP joined Conference USA.
Ultimately, though, the Miners defense had a tough time slowing down a potent UTSA attack, letting the Roadrunners off the hook in some critical situations.
The game didn't have many explosive plays. Drives for both teams ate up huge chunks of the clock, a method that cuts down on eye-popping offensive stats. The biggest highlight was how well UTSA QB Eric Soza managed the game.
Soza went 18-of-24 for 204 yards passing, which would be a below average half for Johnny Manziel. But the clutch can be just as spectacular as the copious. Time after time Soza found ways to bail out his team when it counted.
However, UTEP will take no comfort in more missed tackles. Though the Miners were able to shore things up in the second half, allowing the Roadrunners only one more touchdown, it was 25-10 when the teams gave way for Walker's backflips. With a punchless offense, the damage was already done.
Autrey Golden talked about how much the Miners missed starting tailback Nathan Jeffery, out with an injury. It showed up in the stat line for the rest of UTEP's corps of running backs.
As much as freshman Aaron Jones has impressed in his first two games, much of this may have to do with following the path Jeffery has blazed. In Jeffery's absence, Jones only managed 28 yards on 10 carries. Golden was only 11 yards better and he was the Miners' top rusher.
It's back out of conference next weekend, as UTEP travels to play old WAC rival Colorado State. The game will be televised by CBS Sports. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. MST.