First and Ten: UTEP Miners (1-0) at TTU Red Raiders (1-0)
Welcome to the first edition of our newly added, UTEP-centric, football heavy shindig that we call First and Ten! It's all about Miners football here at First and Ten where we take you around the 600 ESPN El Paso table for opinions, stats and predictions from Steve Kaplowitz, Adrian Broaddus, Brandon Cohn, Duke Keith and myself, Sal Montes.
The tall task for the Miners defense will be trying to slow down a Red Raiders offense that contains the likes of QB Alan Bowman, RB Armand Shyne and WR Xavier White. The defense for Texas Tech had a great start to the season by only allowing two scores (three if you want to get technical and add the PAT) behind the strengths of Jordyn Brooks, Riko Jeffers, and Douglas Coleman III against Montana State.
The Miners offense looked solid in spurts last Saturday in the season opener against Houston Baptist with WR Tre'Shon Wolf going 80 yards long for the first touchdown of the 2019 season and RB Treyvon Hughes pushing two scores and 144 yards on the ground. Jason VanHook played a part in the first turnover of the season for the defense after recovering a clutch fumble but the big man for that side of the ball is defensive back Justin Rogers (10 total, 5 solo tackles).
It's all about the Miners trying to decelerate the extremely potent TTU offense by hammering the clock via running the ball when they have it. Same poison, different team? UTEP got their sneak peak of a fast-paced, no huddle offense against the Huskies but in this challenge, "Texas Tech is like Houston Baptist's offense on steroids." Steve has the home team claiming victory in this one. 49-23 Texas Tech.
Adrian sees the UTEP defense having trouble with Bowman who might be a bit sharper this time than the match against the Bobcats. He's looking forward to the Miners calling newcomers Devaughn Cooper and Jess Trussell's numbers more, as well as better balance out of the UTEP offense in regards to running and passing the ball. In the end the Red Raiders will eventually wear out a Miners defense that is still searching for answers. 52-14 Texas Tech.
Brandon "The Iceman" Cohn loved what he saw from RB Treyvon Hughes in the Miners 36-34 win against HBU and believes that he can, and eventually will, become the feature back for UTEP. "Ice" also liked what QB Brandon Jones did at times but wouldn't be surprised to see Kai Locksley receiving snaps on the field. The same sentiment is shared on defense from Brandon with the secondary being the unit that has the most work to do. After one and a half quarters the Red Raiders will pull away. 47-20 Texas Tech.
The 'Jack of All Trades' here at 600 ESPN El Paso is none other than Duke Keith! "Ground and pound. Pound the clock...", is Duke's key for the Miners. Who does he like to step up? El Pasoan Josh Fields is somebody that Duke believes can be a factor after looking "really good" in week one versus HBU. In the end, if UTEP didn't perform very well against an FCS Air-Raid offense then they will have some issues when they take on a catalyst of the Air-Raid offense in FBS. 45-25 Texas Tech.
As for me? I liked what I saw from the running game out of the Miners. Three of their four touchdowns came on the ground against the Huskies but this time it will be a lot tougher on the road. When the Miners need it to be quiet, it will get louder. When the Miners look to the crowd, they won't find much orange and blue. Wolf(f) is the name in this one as TTU's Kicker Trey Wolff is unblemished after six PAT's and one FG, while UTEP's Tre'Shon Wolf went 80 yards long for the Miners' first touchdown of 2019. Despite all of the promise showed from UTEP at home, it won't be a nice road trip. 51-17 Texas Tech.
That's a wrap for the very first edition of First and Ten! Tune in to 600 ESPN El Paso to catch the premier of First and Ten on-air at 4:45 pm this Saturday (Sept. 7) right before the pre-game to UTEP vs Texas Tech at 5 pm. Kickoff between the Miners and Red Raiders in Lubbock is slated for 6 pm with the very first episode of Miner Talk in 2019 coming at you right after post-game.
(All times Mountain Standard)