UTEP Football Offensive Report Card – Florida International
On Saturday night, the UTEP football team lost their fifth straight game to Florida International, 32-17. The Miners look good early and they took a 7-3 lead, but they never regained their swagger on offense until the game was long out of reach. The team only gained a total of 283 yards on offense. Penalties also doomed the Miners, with 10 for 106 yards. It was another game with few bright spots on offense, and things will not get any easier over the next two weeks with Louisiana Tech and North Texas on the schedule.
As expected both Kai Locksley and Brandon Jones saw action against the Panthers. Locksley played the better of the two, completing 7 of 12 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown while adding another 66 rushing yards. He also fumbled a high snap that led to a safety. Jones had his second pass of the game deflect off of Tre'Shon Wolf's hands for an FIU interception. Jones finished 5-9 for just 34 yards and was sacked twice.
RUNNING BACKS: D
Treyvon Hughes was only able to gain 48 yards on 20 carries, but he did score UTEP's first touchdown of the game. Former Ysleta star Reynaldo Flores added 20 yards on just three carries and Kavika Johnson even had a pair of runs for 24 yards. Josh Fields did not play because of a shoulder injury. The fact that UTEP rushed for only 66 total yards on 45 carries is a major concern after six games this season.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C+
Five Miners caught passes, led by Wolf's 44 yards on four receptions. Justin Garrett was next with three receptions for 32 yards, but he also picked up a personal foul penalty. Jacob Cowing led the team with 47 receiving yards, including a 34-yard touchdown reception with 2:06 left in the game. Given the team's lack of a running game, it would have been nice to see the team air it out more than the 21 pass attempts they had against FIU.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C-
The baffling season continues for this veteran O-Line. FIU registered three sacks in the game along with eight tackles for a loss. Meanwhile, they failed to open up holes for Hughes. A few holding calls and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty did not help the offense. On the bright side, they did help engineer a pair of seven-minute plus drives that ended with a touchdown and field goal.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
This unit is always the most consistent part of the Miners game-by-game performance. Gavin Baechle connected on his only field goal attempt of the game, a 23-yard chip shot. Mitchell Crawford averaged 46.2 yards on his four punts, including one inside the 20.
OVERALL OFFENSE: C-
Two touchdowns and a field goal might seem encouraging, but averaging 4.3 yards per play on offense is not good enough to win a game, especially on the road and in the Eastern Time Zone (UTEP is now 0-24-1 all time in the ET). Penalties killed the Miners and Coach Dimel admitted that his team is undisciplined. Expect much of the same quarterback merry go round for at least the next two games. Saturday they host Louisiana Tech, a team that has won six straight. Given the low attendance of UTEP's last two home games, it will be interesting to see if Saturday's crowd tops the Westside Bowl.