First and Ten: UTEP Miners (1-2) at So. Miss Golden Eagles (2-2)
It's about that time! Our third edition of First and Ten features the fourth game of the 2019 season for the Miners as they find themselves in Hattiesburg, MS after falling to former WAC foe Nevada last week at home 37-21.
The Miners found success on offense only three times, all resulting in rushing touchdowns. These scores mark their first time striking pay dirt since August when UTEP got their lone win thus far in 2019 against Houston Baptist. What will it take for the Miners to get their first conference win in 2019? UTEP's last C-USA game came against Southern Miss on November 24 in the 2018 campaign.
UTEP's passing game really struggled last week after Brandon Jones' shoulder injury (starting) and Jones has the better chance to establish a passing game than Kai Locksley in the two-QB system. On the other side, UTEP must develop an effective pass rush to slow down the accurate QB, Jack Abraham. Southern Miss will pull away in this one. So. Miss 31 - 20
Southern Miss packs a punch on offense with WR Quez Watkins (C-USA Player of the Week Award) and will be a handful for the Miners. Watkins has six 100+ yards performances in his career. UTEP needs to show that they've rectified the QB spot, don't do anything to disrupt the offense and let them get the flow of the game. The Golden Eagles will be too quick for the Miners. So. Miss 27 - 20
The Iceman was rather impressed with how the Miners were able to hang in there with Nevada for three quarters. They need to compete for four quarters though and not crumble like a clay statue down the stretch. The Golden Eagles lead the series 7-4 all-time and have won four of their last five against UTEP. The Miners need to find an answer at QB fast and the question for Gavin Hardison's name to be called might be asked. UTEP will compete for a half before Southern Miss prevails. So. Miss 45-23
Southern Miss averages three sacks per game to UTEP's one and are usually very opportunistic on defense. The Golden Eagles are always athletic, always have big and tall receivers, and always have a QB who can move the ball. The Miners have another tough weekend ahead but this is part of the baby step process as this Golden Eagles team looks to be one of the better teams on the Miners schedule moving forward. So. Miss 45-17
The Miners need to continue their success on the ground while they are still searching for an answer at QB. Their strength falls into the plan of keeping the ball away from QB Abraham but in order to do that successfully they must be able to continue drives. Expect Southern Miss to blitz every time the Miners find themselves in a second/third and long situation. The Golden Eagles have a weak secondary that UTEP should take advantage of but, "Will they?" becomes the question. So. Miss 37-13.
This time around we'll be on the airwaves (600 AM) and the 600 ESPN El Paso App at 3:45 pm on Sep. 28. We'll take it up to the Longhorn Distributing Countdown to Kickoff at 4 pm with Jon, Bernie, and Mando as the Miners look for their first conference win of the season. Action starts at 5 pm with MinerTalk taking over right after the Hunt Companies Locker Room Report.
(All times Mountain Standard)