First and Ten: UTEP Miners (1-1) vs Nevada Wolf Pack (2-1)
Welcome back to First and Ten! It's game number three for the Miners as they find themselves hosting the Nevada Wolf Pack this weekend after coming off their bye week. The last time UTEP was in action was nearly two weeks ago in a 38-3 loss against Texas Tech.
Taking it back UTEP's last game, the Miners were able to slow down Texas Tech's offense and only once did they allow two touchdowns in one quarter (trust me, it's a compliment). They didn't allow any Red Raider to run for more than 45 yards and forced TTU QB Alan Bowman into a throw that YK Ross stole in mid-air for the only turnover of the game for either team. Tech didn't put in the subs until midway through the final quarter and the Miners held up as well as they could have in the 35-point loss.
For this game, the Miners host a 2-1 Nevada team that is coming off of a 19-13 win in Reno over Weber State of the FCS. The other two games under Nevada's belt in 2019 thus far are a 34-31 win at home against Purdue and on the road against Oregon in a 77-6 loss. It will interesting to see if Sophomore running back Devonte Lee will make his season debut after finishing the 2018 campaign despite suffering an ACL injury mid-season. Sophomore Wide Receiver Romeo Doubs should be another player to look out in a return to the field after sitting out in last weeks game against Weber State.
Steve likes the Miners chances despite them entering the game as underdogs by more than two touchdowns. Nevada's offense has struggled to score over the past two games and on the defensive side the pass protection has been the weakest link. The Miners need to air it out efficiently and need to get there by setting up the pass-game on the ground. It's a tight one but the Miners win a squeaker. UTEP 23 - 20
Nevada has allowed 426 yards per game and UTEP needs to get off to a hot start on their first drive. Expect the offensive line to come out strong for the Miners as execution has been a vital focus in the preparations of this game. This is due to the QB selection of Brandon Jones or Kai Locksley and the unusual performance on the ground for the RB's against Texas Tech. The Wolf Pack pull out a close at the Sun Bowl. Nevada 27 - 20
The Iceman's notice of the Wolf Pack defense stepping up when they need to is something he believes is worth noting. They delivered in the three-point win against Purdue and held Weber State to 137 total yards. This may be the time to give Deion Hankins some college experience before redshirting after the fourth game of the season. The Miners hang for a half but eventually fall at home. Nevada 36-17
Will the Miners offense continue drives on third downs? Does the defense have a good chance of getting off the field on third down? These types of situations are the weaknesses in UTEP's game that have helped the opposing teams in so many drives. In order to be effective in controlling the ball, Duke believes the Miners have taken a step forward this year in big play ability and have a chance to hit the end zone. Turnovers, penalties, and only hitting the end zone only once will doom the Miners in this one. Nevada 24-20
This is a game where I'd be surprised to see either team surpass 30 points. Both teams have lost in blowout fashion with zero touchdowns to show for it while both teams have won when the game was decided by a score. I'm interested in seeing the battle between Kickers, Brandon Talton (8-8, 5-5) and Gavin Baechle (4-5, 3-3). Talton has nabbed the Mountain West Special teams Player of the Week twice and Baechle's field goal gave the Miners their first win of the season against HBU. Too much Talton and not enough offense for UTEP. Nevada 26-13.
Put a bowtie on this baby and tell your friends to check out the full edition on air, Saturday September 21, at 4:45 pm 600 AM and on the 600 ESPN El Paso App. We'll take it up to pre-game at 5 pm with Jon, Bernie, and Mando as the Miners prepare for their second home game of the season. Kickoff is at 6 pm and MinerTalk will take control of the airways and the app right after the post-game.
(All times Mountain Standard)