The Dig: Beat the Houston Cougars Edition

In The Dig:  The Dig is back and just in time for game day. All the UTEP and Houston links you need or want can be found right here.  Will Donald Buckram play?  Kevin Sumlin thinks this is all a smoke show......

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To Play or Not to Play

UTEP stunned then #12 Houston last season behind Donald Buckram's 262 yard performance.  It was his quite simply his masterpiece.  The question on everybody's mind, is, will he play?  

Bret Bloomquist doesn't think so...

I'd say Donald Buckram doesn't play Friday but is 100 percent for the NMSU game. Mike Price is a straight-shooter, though, and he said Wednesday he doesn't have a feel yet for whether Buckram will play.

Some specifics from CMP.

"I really don't know," he said when asked about Buckram's status with his bruised knee. "He's feeling better every day. I'm not putting up a cloud, trying to disguise anything. There's been drainage of fluid from his knee to his calf and ankles."

ESPN is televising the game.  ESPN.com thinks Buckram's playing status is a top storyline this week in college football.

7. Will UTEP RB Donald Buckram play against Houston? Buckram missed the season opener against Arkansas Pine-Bluff after bruising his knee in practice, and coach Mike Price doesn’t know whether his starting running back will be available this week. Without him last week, UTEP used Joe Banyard and Vernon Frazier, who combined for 183 yards rushing. Buckram gashed Houston for 262 yards rushing last year in the upset win.

Not Buying It

Kevin Sumlin thinks Donald Buckram will be up and running.  This sounds like a challenge to me.  

"If I were him, I don't care how hurt I was. Based on last year, I would show up," said Sumlin, a former Purdue linebacker who is 19-9 as UH's coach. "Tape me up. If I put 260 on somebody a year ago, I'd get out there. "I'll put it this way: We're planning on him playing."

The Underdog

Nobody thinks UTEP has a chance tonight.  Does that sound familiar?

The Miners are a 20-point underdog against a Cougars' team just off the edge of the Top 25 rankings, perhaps the longest odds the Miners have ever faced playing against a Conference USA opponent.

The Protege?

I never knew Mike Price helped Kevin Sumlin get his start as a collegiate coach.  The two go way back.  The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice has the story.

"He took a chance on me," Sumlin said. "I learned everything from him. He's an unbelievable communicator. He has a great touch with players, can handle all types of situations."

REVENGE

I'm not buying this, coach Sumlin.  He's saying revenge isn't a factor.  I'd bet he's telling his team differently behind closed doors.

"We don't ever talk in terms of revenge or anything like that," Sumlin said. "This is a different year, a different team. Certainly there are players who were there last year, and... we weren't very happy about our effort. I don't ever think revenge is a motivating factor in a game...

#9

The Fort Worth Star Telegram is ranking the college squads in Texas every week.  The Miners check in at #9.  Apparently, breaking in a new defense and playing without the nations 2nd leading returning rusher wasn't enough to give the Miners the benefit of the doubt.

9. UTEP, 1-0. A 21-point win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff is lame. A huge game this weekend against conference rival Houston

The Numbers

The Cypress Times has a great statistical breakdown of tonights game.  Want the numbers?  Look here.

This week's game is the eighth meeting between the two schools. • The first two games of the series came in 1946 and 1948 and since the teams have met each year beginning in 2005, when UTEP joined Conference USA. Since that time, Houston is 3-2 vs. the Miners. Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin is 1-1 vs. UTEP.

2 Quick Basketball Notes

First, Jalen Ragland is getting some local press.  Good read on the newest UTEP baller.

"What the coaches see in him is a long, athletic kid who can jump out of the gym," Kellough said. "And the thing about Jalen is, he's been blessed with the ability to shoot the long ball, and he works at that, but he's gotten stronger to the point where he can take it to the basket and finish the drive."

Wish him the Best

Darrious Curry committed to UTEP under Tony Barbee.  After Tim Floyd came in, Curry decided to walk on at West Virginia and play for Bob Huggins.  Now, a heart condition will keep him off the court.  We know a thing or two about basketball players with heart conditions here.  The Miner Nation hopes Curry will be okay.

"Darrious had extensive medical evaluations by numerous physicians and they concluded it was in his best interest to no longer play basketball," Huggins said. "He has been medically disqualified based on a medical condition that we cannot disclose due to student privacy laws."

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