It was an ugly start to the Conference USA season on Saturday. The Miners started fast but were unable to make anything of their early lead, and wound up walking out of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium with a 28-18 loss. But, that wasn't the only thing going in UTEP sports. Here's everything else that's going on around Miner Nation, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.
AROUND MINER NATION
Sunday afternoon, UTEP volleyball downed Memphis 3-1 at Memorial Gym to improve 10-7 on the season and 4-1 in Conference USA play, but perhaps more importantly they extend their current win streak to 6 games. The Miners were led by Jeane Horton (15kills), Xitali Herrera (12 kills, 9 blocks), and Malia Patterson (39 assists, 5 digs).
The six straight wins have vaulted the Miners to T-2 in the Conference USA standings, only a half game behind both Rice and Marshall who currently sit at a league leading 4-0. The Miners now face a four game road swing that features contests at Rice, Houston, Tulsa, and SMU. That swing may just determine where these ladies will eventually land in the Conference USA race.
Also, for the second consecutive week, Miner juniors Xitali Herrera and Malia Patterson picked up Conference USA Player of the Week honors. Herrera was named the offensive player of the week, while Patterson was named the setter of the week. Congratulations to both on their accomplishments.
The basketball recruiting train isn't stopping anytime soon. After getting news over the last weeks of multiple commits for the team in 2013, the Miners have now picked one of the top juco recruits in the nation.
Coming out of high school, Jacob Thomas was a 4 star recruit with a grade of 93 according to ESPN. He originally committed to play for Long Beach State, but after failing to qualify academically, he went the juco route.
There's not a ton of information out there on Thomas, but when he arrives for the 2013 season, he should still have two years of eligibility remaining. We'll bring you more on this commit as we find out about it.
After starting out the season with a 7-2 mark, the Miners have now dropped four straight road contests to start Conference USA action. Most recently they fell 2-1 at Tulsa. The Miners now return home for four straight against UAB, Memphis, Southern Miss, and UCF. Those contests are crucial to the Miners seeding in the Conference USA tournament which will be held here in El Paso. Make sure to get out and support the soccer team as the make their run through the final stretch of the season.
I have to be honest. I'm not really sure what to makes of this, but it seems that the Miners football was fed burgers, brats, and barbecue during the more than an hour long rain delay at ECU. Really? I'm not sure what else to say about this, so I'll just give you the quotes from Mike Price's segment yesterday on XM Radio.
"Now, we've been there before," Price said regarding weather delay. "This happened in Las Cruces one time and we were in there two-and-a-half hours, and I went out and bought turkey legs. So as soon as we get in there, I talked to the players about adversity, we've been here before and all this kind of stuff. They're saying, 'Where are our turkey legs?'
"So the concessions are closed, and everything's closed and no one's really doing anything. So I said, 'Put some music on, take your shoulder pads off. We're going to be here a while.' Because every time there's another strike, it's a half-hour. So these guys are getting hungry, and I'm thinking, 'What the Hell?' So (I go) out there. These concession stands are closed, but I'm going to see if I can get these damn things open.
"Sure enough, there's a group of ladies selling barbecue buffet, hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and all this barbecue for the Girl Scouts of America. It was a fundraiser. They're not closed. Hey, get me a hundred brisket sandwiches and brats. Sure enough, I hauled them all into the locker room and we had something to eat and another hour we went out."
AROUND CONFERENCE USA
ESPN's Andy Katz talked a bit about the scheduling issues that will arise in Conference USA come 2013 when the league expands to 14 schools. What do you think? Should it stay a 16 game schedule, or should it expand to 18?
After the first 5 weeks of the season, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane are now the only Conference USA team receiving any attention on the national scale. The Hurricane picked up a single vote in the USA Today Top 25 Poll which puts them in 41st position.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
If you caught the end of the Oklahoma State versus Texas game Saturday night, you know that a controversial call led to the Longhorns winning the game. On 2nd and goal, down 2, Texas running back made a plunge for the end zone, but fumbled the ball on his way in. The referees ruled it a touchdown on the field, and the play stood as replay couldn't determine clear possession. Texas went on to win the game 41-36, and improved to 4-0 on the year.