After an intense battle that lasted from spring practice through fall training camp, UTEP head coach Sean Kugler announced today that Mack Leftwich has won the starting quarterback job and would start for the team this Saturday against Arkansas. Leftwich beat out Garrett Simpson, Ryan Metz, and Kavika Johnson to win the starting spot for the Miners.

600 ESPN El Paso posted a poll nine days ago that asked the same question. After 1,377 votes, 64% chose Metz, while 26% said Simpson should be the starter. Leftwich received just 15 total votes, but the UTEP coaches felt differently. The redshirt sophomore started the last four games for the Miners in 2013, and he completed 44-of-75 passes (58.7 percent) for 458 yards, two touchdown passes and two interceptions. The biggest knock against the former Pennsylvania Player of the Year is his lack of size; Leftwich is listed at 5-10, which is generous according to Coach Kugler. However, his leadership, decision making, and lack of mistakes are all important factors that helped him win the quarterback battle. The Miners will play in Fayetteville at 1:30 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.