SMU 28 UTEP 17: Instant Reaction
The Miners lost their first game of the 2011 college football season to the SMU Mustangs by a final score of 28-17 . Despite the loss, UTEP had plenty of chances to win the game. A shoulder injury to starting quarterback Nick Lamaison early in the third quarter forced Miners head coach Mike Price to turn to redshirt freshman Javia Hall. Despite playing in his first ever Division 1 college football game, the Dallas native delivered a scoring drive in his first series with the team. That was all Hall could deliver, and he turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter, sealing the win for SMU.
The Miners suffered two devastating injuries against SMU, losing both Lamaison and their best defensive lineman Germard Reed. Both could be out of action for an extended period of time, putting even more pressure on Hall and the rest of the UTEP defensive line. For the second straight game, the Miners offensive line was unimpressive. Repeated breakdowns on the offensive line led to pressure on Lamaison and also the lack of a productive running game. Hall lacks experience and can't be expected to deliver as much as Lamaison at quaterback. As for Reed, his departure was extremely unfortunate, and his injury happened on a fluke play.
The Miners will have their hands full next Saturday in Las Cruces, taking on an Aggies team that just upset Minnesota. For years, UTEP fans have been begging for a win like this, and the victory over a Big 10 power will give NMSU all the momentum in next week's Battle of I-10.