How To Beat UTEP? Easy. Stop The Run
Just two weeks ago, the UTEP football team was 2-1 and had one of the best rushing offenses in the nation. New Mexico, Texas Tech, and NMSU had no answer for stopping sophomore Aaron Jones, who led the nation in rushing after the first three weeks of the season. Since then, Kansas State and Louisiana Tech have both figured out how to stop the Miners; take away the running game and force Jameill Showers to beat you.
When it comes to beating UTEP, Kansas State provided the blueprint for every opposing team in C-USA. They completely took Jones out of the game and the Miners were helpless. K-State held the Miners to just 59 rushing yards in 31 attempts. You can look at UTEP's four second half touchdowns against the Wildcats as a bright spot, but Showers did all of his damage against K-State's backups. The Miners were even worse yesterday in Rustin, Louisiana. They committed five turnovers in the game, including three interceptions thrown by Showers. La Tech allowed just 81 rushing yards on 31 carries, and the Bulldogs put on a defensive clinic against UTEP. The strange thing about yesterday's loss is that the Miners had been one of the best teams in the country at protecting the football, and they had only one turnover through their first four games. Aaron Jones and Eric Tomlinson also fumbled the ball away to Louisiana Tech, who scored 28 points off of Miner turnovers.
If UTEP is going to have any success during their final seven conference games, Showers has to start playing better. The former Texas A&M transfer is healthy, but he lacks the confidence needed to lead his team to victory. 15 completions for 143 yards and three interceptions will not win UTEP any football games, so offensive coordinator Patrick Higgins is going to need a quick solution to try and fix Showers. Expect Old Dominion and every remaining UTEP opponent to put seven or eight guys in the box to stop the run and dare Showers to beat them. If UTEP's senior signal caller can't deliver, their once promising season will continue to its downward spiral to the bottom of C-USA's Western Division.