UTEP Gives Up 34 Unanswered Points and Dominated By Rice 44-24
On Monday, UTEP head football coach Sean Kugler told the media what his goals were for the final two games of the regular season.
"Again, I’m looking for improvements and I’ll be the first to acknowledge; it probably took a lot longer than fans would’ve hoped and that I would’ve hoped. Grasping two new systems, but I really do feel that the kids are catching on and they’re understanding the system. They’re playing for each other. And I know this, I’m not going to stand across the field and wave a white towel because we didn’t make a bowl game. We’ve got two games left and we’re going to go out and compete our best to win those two games and I know our kids will to."
Unfortunately, in the first half of their 44-24 loss to Rice earlier today, the only thing apparent on the football field was that the Miners were playing like they were waving the white flag, a sign that their season was already over. The Owls scored 34 unanswered points, crushed the Miners, and looked like a team that should be headed to the C-USA championship, instead of capturing just their third win of the regular season.
"They whipped us in every phase, they beat us up front on both sides of the ball," coach Sean Kugler told the El Paso Times after today's game. "They ran the ball better than we did, they protected better than we did. They whipped us. My hat's off to (Rice coach) David Bailiff and his team."
So, now what? UTEP hosts North Texas next Saturday in the final game of the regular season and they can play the role of spoiler. If the Miners win, North Texas will fall one game short of being bowl eligible. When your team is 3-8, there is little more to play for besides pride and trying to let your seniors go out with a win.