Watch UTEP’s Ryan Metz Throw Game-Winning TD vs. NMSU
(LAS CRUCES, NM) -- Metz. El Paso knows that family name. The eminent city historian, Leon Metz, has written much about El Paso's colorful past. UTEP's coaching staff may have to pardon the many El Pasoans now thinking his grandson, Ryan, can help the Miners write a better football future.
Yes, yes, yes, he's just a redshirt freshman. We also remember his first throw in the Battle of I-10 went for a touchdown...to New Mexico State.
But as another once-unproven Miners QB, Jordan Palmer, came of age, he maintained that one of the best ways to progress at the position was to have a short memory.
If UTEP's 50-47 overtime win over New Mexico State is any indication, Metz may have already absorbed this knowledge in his first half of college football.
After starting QB Mack Leftwich had his night ended by a crunching hit from Derek Ibekwe, the Miners were forced to scramble for offensive answers. Head coach Sean Kugler preaches the gospel of "next man up", but UTEP's ground-and-pound game only goes so far, especially when Aggies QB Tyler Rogers was delivering big play after big play through the air.
Add in Metz's first pass -- a 41-yard pick-six for NMSU's Jacob Nwangwa -- and you wouldn't have blamed Miners fans for thinking about how cold an early tailgate beer would be in the chilly September drizzle.
But the Miners stuck with Metz, and the former Andress standout began to deliver.
A 26-yard touchdown pass to Autrey Golden in bottom corner of the endzone.
A 48-yard TD bomb to Cole Freytag to get the Miners within seven with 3:17 left.
An eight-yard keeper to tie the score, 44-44, with just :47 left, capping a 98-yard drive. We found out later it was a gutsy play call by Metz himself -- that from Kugler, who praised his quarterback's "cajones".
Then, in overtime, a scramble and -- with his 6-9 former basketball center of a tight end all by himself in the end zone -- a pass that was almost in the dirt.
A lob for an alley-oop might have worked a little better, but credit Lang (and maybe a few of Tim Floyd's loose ball drills), who dropped to catch the game-winning pass.
Twice the Miners were down by 14 in the second half and responded, the second rally led by the young redshirt freshman.
A heady performance, to be sure. Metz looked smooth and delivered precise balls to his receivers, finishing a solid 15-for-19 for 218 yards and three touchdowns.
He also delivered under pressure, which the Miners offense had yet to do this season.
Next Metz up.