The UTEP Miners (1-5, 0-3 Conference USA) face a tough test this weekend as they take on one the of the hardest-running teams in Conference USA, if not just the USA, in the Rice Owls (5-2, 3-0 C-USA). Head coach Sean Kugler talked about the game with his eyes wide open.

The Owls' 229.9 yards per game tops the conference and is 16th nationally. Contrast that with the Miners' rushing defense -- 247 yards allowed per game, 118th out of 123 Division 1-A teams.

Think Rice will run the football some this Saturday? So does Kugler.

Thankfully, the Miners' offense is scoring points and got an extra week to rest up running backs Nathan Jeffery and El Paso native, Aaron Jones. Kugler continues to believe great things are ahead for Jones as he went on about the true freshman's work habits in the classroom and the weight room.

The other bright spot for UTEP is special teams -- namely, Autrey Golden on kickoff returns. The talented sophomore ranks third nationally in per-game kickoff return yardage (32.1).

The Miners will need all the points they can muster as Rice coach David Bailiff is 5-1 against UTEP. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. MST this Saturday.


More From 600 ESPN El Paso