Blazers Shut Out Winless Miners, 19-0
The nation’s longest losing streak tied the all-time Texas college football losing streak, as the Miners were shut out 19-0 to the UAB Blazers on Saturday evening in front of 10,787 scattered fans.
With the loss, UTEP (0-8, 0-4 C-USA) ties TCU (1974-75) for the Lone Star State’s longest losing streak of all time, with 20 losses in a row.
And while the defense shined, holding UAB to scoring 17 points, the offense failed to generate any sort of yardage, being out-gained 357-120 on the night.
“Extremely pleased with what the defense did,” said head coach Dana Dimel. “I thought we made some good adjustments. I told our guys that we had to execute a game plan for this one. After the first scoring drive, I think we locked into that. We didn’t execute offensively and get anything established against their defense.”
“Overall, you can’t win a ball game with the offensive performance we had tonight.”
The Miners were bullied for the majority of the first half, and the numbers showed.
UAB out-gained the Miners 205-72 in the first half, where they Miners had just 22 yards on the ground.
It started in the first quarter when the Blazers put together a six-play, 85-yard drive, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run by Spencer Brown.
The Miners punted the ball on the following possession, which led the Blazers to march 56 yards for a 36-yard field goal by Nick Vogel to put UAB up 10-0.
In the second quarter after blocking a field goal, the Miners trotted into UAB territory off some nice passes from Kai Locksley. But on a screen pass, Locksley was hit late and forced to leave the game and re-injured his ankle that sidelined him for the past two weeks. Junior JUCO transfer Brandon Jones came into relieve Locksley for the rest of the game, but the Miners closed out the half without a score on the board.
Locksley finished his outing by completing 7-of-11 passes for 52 passing yards.
In the second half, the Blazers opened up their offense with a huge drive that ended on the Miners’ one-yard line. UTEP came up with a nice 4th-and-goal stop on defense, credited to Chris Richardson and A.J. Hotchkins.
When UTEP took over on the ensuing play, Jones and Quadraiz Wadley had a miscue on the handoff, causing a safety in favor of the Blazers. UAB was up 12-0 with plenty of time left in the game.
Jones and the offense marched 40 yards down field on eight plays, which resulted in a 41-yard missed field goal by Jason Filley. His first field goal attempt from 36 yards out was good, but an illegal formation penalty moved them back five yards, thus causing the missed attempt on the second try.
UTEP corner Nik Needham took an interception for the Miners in the second half, but the offense was unable to capitalize on the turnover.
During the final stretch of the game, UAB ran off nearly eight minutes of the fourth quarter with a 12-play, 63-yard touchdown drive capped off by a four-yard rushing touchdown by Tyler Johnston III.
Jones finished the night completing 5-of-9 for 49 passing yards. Jones was the team’s leading rusher with 16 yards on the ground. Warren Redix and Terry Juniel both had two receptions for 23 yards.
There is no timetable on Locksley's injury, but Dimel said that he did aggravate the same ankle that sidelined him for the past two weeks.
“I felt the same as last week,” Jones said. “You want to win so badly. But I never doubted it. I knew we had a chance to win this. We were down two scores most of the game. I have to be better, it’s all on me.”
UAB’s A.J. Erdely finished 10-of-18 through the air for 79 yards and 50 yards on the ground. Blazers running back Spencer Brown led the way on the ground with 21 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown.
“We have good leadership,” Jones said. “We’re not gonna let that slide because we know what team we have and how we prepare each week. Those wins are close—I’m tired of saying that, but it’s true—we’re close to get this done.”
Next up, the Miners will travel to take on Rice (1-8) on Saturday, Nov. 3. Linebacker A.J. Hotchkins, who had 15 tackles on the night, says he likes his team’s chances next week.
“I think next week is going to be crazy man,” he said. “We’re going to have a ton of fun. This team deserves a win. I think we play guys close every week and I think that we definitely deserve a win. I go into every game thinking we’re going to win.”