UTEP Football Offensive Report Card – UAB
The Gavin Hardison era officially began Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama. Unfortunately for the sophomore quarterback, by the time he entered the game for the first time this season, the Miners were losing 17-0. UAB cruised to a 37-10 win but UTEP's offense moved the football better than the final score indicated.
Kai Locksley had a rough first quarter, not completing a pass and firing a pick. Head coach Dana Dimel decided to try out Gavin Hardison and the future redshirt sophomore had some good moments under center. He only completed 16 of 37 passes, but he did throw for 222 yards and a score. He also did not throw any interceptions and was sacked twice in the game. Hardison led the Miners to four deep drives, but they only scored 10 points. Still, the strong-armed quarterback gave UTEP fans a taste of what they could expect over the next three seasons.
RUNNING BACKS: D
The Miners struggled to run the ball against UAB. Treyvon Hughes rushed for only 26 yards on 10 carries and Deion Hankins left with a concussion after three carries.
WIDE RECEIVERS: B+
The best part of the Miners' offense against UAB was their receivers. Nine different players caught passes, led by Jacob Cowing's 85 yards on five receptions. UTEP has a solid core of receivers and that should be on display on a regular basis when Hardison takes over at quarterback.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C
Despite not opening up much for the running game, the OL did do a nice job of protecting Hardison. The offense as a whole ran for only 19 times, and punter Mitchell Crawford had the longest run for the Miners.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Crawford averaged over 43 yards per punt and he also pulled off a fake by running 26 yards for a first down. Gavin Baechle connected on a 41-yard field goal in his only attempt, but the UTEP return game did not do much in limited opportunities.
OVERALL OFFENSE: C-
Hardison finally made his long awaited debut, but the Miners offense should have scored at least double their 10-point output given the team's success moving the football over the final three quarters. NMSU and Rice will both be winnable games, but ironically these two teams each won their first games of the season this past weekend.