UTEP Offensive Report Card – Texas Tech
All of the excitement UTEP football fans had for their team's offense vanished last night in Lubbock. Texas Tech's defense looked like the '85 Chicago Bears and they made the Miners look bad all night long. They limited UTEP to just 131 yards of total offense on 57 plays and 11 first downs. As a result, this is the kind of report card that would make you afraid to show your parents.
Things started out bad for senior Brandon Jones. He completed just 4 of 12 passes for 21 yards. He was sacked once and led the Miners to four first downs. Head coach Dana Dimel replaced Jones with Kai Locksley in the second half and things did not get much better in the stat column although Kai had better success leading the offense. Locksley was 3-7 for 33 yards and he was sacked twice. He did lead the Miners to seven first downs and put them in position to score their only points of the game. Locksley does possess great athleticism although he did not have much of a chance to display any of it last night. Coach Dimel would not commit to either player as his starter for their next game against Nevada on September 21st. He did say this about Locksley after the game.
RUNNING BACKS: D
Josh Fields and Treyvon Hughes carried the ball 24 times between the two of them for 54 yards. The Miners tried to establish the run but the Tech defensive line was too much for them. Locksley also ran the ball nine times for 21 net yards.
WIDE RECEIVERS: D
Tre Wolf led the team with three receptions, but he only totaled eight yards. Devaughn Cooper tallied a team-high 26 yards on two receptions. Unlike the Houston Baptist game, the UTEP receivers struggled all night to get open and capitalize when Jones or Locksley had time to throw. Freshman Jacob Cowing made the nicest catch of the night, but his 43-yard gain was negated by a holding call.
OFFENSIVE LINE: F
This was my biggest surprise of the night. I never expected UTEP's veteran offensive line to struggle in both aspects of the team's offensive game plan. Miners quarterbacks were sacked three times, but they had very little time to throw against the Red Raiders. Cowing's long reception came back due to a holding call on Darta Lee. The O-Line had no success opening up holes for Hughes and Fields. It could just be a case that Tech's Big 12 talent on defense is much improved from a season ago.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Punter Mitchell Crawford was UTEP's star of the night. He punted 10 times for a 39.8 yard average. Only one of his punts were returned. Gavin Baechle was 1-2 on the night, but his 45-yard field goal split the uprights for the Miners only points of the night. Walter Dawn ran a total of two kickoffs back for a total of 40 yards.
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE: F
If I thought the Miners scored three points in a game against Clemson, I could understand. Texas Tech ranked 86th out of 130 teams last season in total defense, but this group did not look the same against UTEP. Tech did give the Miners three first downs on pass interference calls, but the game was out of hand by then. UTEP will have two weeks to prepare for Nevada, and the Wolfpack gave up 77 points last night to Oregon. The biggest question between now and then will be whether Jones or Locksley gets the start at quarterback.