Treyvon Hughes Shines in First UTEP Win at Home in 1,008 Days
Some will argue that UTEP narrowly defeated one of the worst teams in FCS by a score of 36-34 as a 17-point favorite, but when you haven't won a game at home in 3 years, then any win is a damn nice way to start the season. With the victory also came a stunning performance by converted senior running back Treyvon Hughes, who torched HBU for 144 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns on the night.
The big question prior to the start of the season was who would step up for injured RB Quardraiz Wadley? A slew of backs including local products Josh Fields and Deion Hankins were possibilities as well as Hughes, who was given the start. Josh Fields held his own as well by gaining 61 yards on just 7 carries, but the star of the night was Hughes, who single handedly kept the Miners in the game against a Huskies squad that clearly came to the Sun bowl to win.
On this night it was meant to be for the Miners to finally win at home again. As the game came down to the wire, it was Hughes' tremendous run for 32-yards that set up what ultimately proved to be the game-winning 35-yard field goal by kicker Gavin Baechle with 8:15 remaining. Not only did UTEP get a win at home for the first time in the last 11-games, but they also tallied a whopping 508 total yards of offense.
On a night where the victims of the August 3 shooting were remembered and tight end Luke Laufenberg's family was presented with his framed number 2 jersey, it was truly a gift for the team to pull out a close game in front of 34,646 fans, the largest crowd for a game in the past 5 years, and biggest home opening-crowd in 3 years. For the first time in years there was great emotion in the Sun Bowl, hearing the roar of the crowd was wonderful as they finally had something to cheer about.
As for Treyvon Hughes and his performance, yes it was one game, and against an FCS opponent, but we may have just seen the emergence of a great running back who just needed an opportunity to shine. My late great father used to tell me that there is no such thing as luck, he would say to me, "the definition of luck is being at the right place at the right time, and being ready for the chance." Clearly Hughes was ready for his chance on Saturday evening.