For three quarters, UTEP and NMSU played a back and forth football game that seemed like it would go down to whichever team had the ball last. However, a pair of costly fourth quarter turnovers in a four minute span was the difference in this year's Battle of I-10. The Aggies won the Silver Spade and Brass Spittoon for the third straight season by a final score of 44-35.

NM State Athletics.
NM State Athletics.

Kai Locksley played the best game of his UTEP life until two straight possessions the final quarter. An interception and fumble in consecutive series led to 10 Aggies points to put the game out of reach. Locksley completed 24 of 38 passes for 358 yards and a pair of touchdown throws, while adding another 103 rushing yards on the ground. That should have been more than enough to give the Miners their second win of the season. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

The Miners ran the ball 40 times for 199 yards. Between Locksley, Treyvon Hughes (60 yards on 17 carries) and Josh Fields (33 yards on just 4 carries), UTEP had good success on the ground against NMSU. It is still a little baffling why Fields does not get more carries each game, especially with his success in limited opportunities.

Seven receivers combined for 24 catches and 358 yards, led by Justin Garrett's 101 yards and a touchdown. If there is one thing we are learning about the UTEP offense each week, it is that Garrett, Tre Wolf, and Jacob Cowing should be big play makers in 2020 if head coach Dana Dimel can find someone to consistently deliver the football to them each week.

UTEP's offensive line was good against the Aggies, and did well in all phases of the game. They did allow three quarterback sacks but that did not affect Locksley's performance.

The Miners only punted the ball three times for 46 yards and senior Mitchell Crawford had this message for NMSU fans after the game.

As for the rest of UTEP's special team's play, Gavin Baechle made three of four field goals and the Miners' return defense was solid.

UTEP finished with 35 points and 557 yards of total offense. That should be enough for a win. Not this season, especially with the Miners defense. Locksley, Hughes, and the rest of the Miners seniors have one game left in their college career, Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. against the suddenly hot 2-9 Rice Owls. Given Coach Dimel's loyalty to his upperclassmen, do not expect Gavin Hardison or any of UTEP's 2019 redshirt class to see extensive minutes against the Owls.

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