The Dig: Bye Week Edition

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Dig is your source for all the latest news surrounding UTEP sports, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.

AROUND MINER NATION

UTEP Football Falls at Houston, Eliminated From Bowl Hunt

It was no secret that the Miners hopes of making a bowl game were slim to none. In fact, they needed to win out, just make the 6 wins necessary for a bowl berth. Saturday, after falling 45-35 at Houston, those hopes were officially dashed as at 2-7 overall, the Miners have been mathematically eliminated from reaching the postseason.

But, all is not lost. While both senior Nick Lamaison and junior Carson Meger continued to struggle at the quarterback position, redshirt freshman Blaire Sullivan came in and looked stellar in what should be considered his true debut under center.

When Sullivan came in the game, the Miners were down 45-7. He was able to generate four straight scoring drives to get the game to 45-35 with a little over 4:30 remaining. The Miners were unable to handle an onside kick, and the game ended with the Miners on the losing end.

Sullivan went on to finish the game 6-10 for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also rushed for 66 yards on 10 carries. Sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery was also able to get back on track, rushing for 137 yards on 33 carries, and both Mike Edwards and Jordan Leslie were their usual selves combining for 10 catches, 150 yards, and 3 touchdowns on the afternoon.

No matter what happens for the remainder of this season, this season will likely be deemed a failure by most. This UTEP team entered with a ton of experience, and even more hopes at reaching a fourth bowl under head coach Mike Price. Obviously that didn't happen.

But, with Sullivan now (hopefully) taking over the reigns, this season is not a complete failure. While we shouldn't expect him to be the savior, and turn this thing into a 5 win year, Sullivan will be getting some excellent preparation for the rest of his future as a Miner.

Of course, we're all disappointed. As are the coaching staff and players. Believe me, no one works harder than those people out there trying to put together a winning team. For whatever reasons, it just didn't work. Continue to support, and brighter days will come.

UTEP Basketball Holds Intrasquad Scrimmage

While Saturday was a tough day for many Miner fans, it was also the beginning of the season for a UTEP basketball team that brings a ton of hope to Miner Nation. The Miners started off the year with their annual Blue vs. Orange scrimmage, giving fans a taste of what is to come in 2012-13.

Throughout the offseason, much of the focus for this team has been put on star players like John Bohannon and Julian Washburn. But, on Saturday, a few other players shined, and showed they're ready to play a big part on this team as well.

Perhaps the biggest surprise; senior forward Malcolm Moore. Moore, who is just getting back to 100% after an ACL injury last season, was dominant on Saturday night going 6-9 from the field for 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Graduate transfer Konner Tucker was able to show some of his skills as well, going 7-15 from the field, including 3-7 from range. He finished the night with 18 points and 5 rebounds.

Of course, Julian Washburn was a stud, going 9-13 from the field for a game high 19 points to go along with 5 rebounds. And Chris Washburn also had a nice night, finishing 8-9 from the floor for 16 points. He also had 4 rebounds.

In the scrimmage, the Blue team outlasted the Orange 72-64, but in the end it was a great way for the guys to get a practice in at as close to game speed as possible. The Miners will now look ahead to their final prep for the season with an exhibition contest against Southeastern Oklahoma this Saturday, before opening up the regular season next Friday (11/9) against Oral Roberts.

Miners' Soccer Falls in Season Finale

The UTEP soccer team ended their season Friday night, as they fell at University Field to Conference USA leader Colorado College 2-0. The Miners gave up an early goal on a penalty kick, but played tough for the majority of the game. Colorado College tacked on the final goal in the 81st minute, sealing the deal on senior night.

The Miners said goodbye to seniors Tess Hall and Brittany Kindzierski, who were both honored in a pre-game ceremony on Friday. According the UTEP Athletics:

"The duo aided the Miners to 45 wins, and each of them etched their names into the school's top-10 career rankings for key offensive categories."

The loss ends the Miners' season at 10-10-0 overall, and 3-8 in Conference USA play. For any who are interested, the Conference USA Soccer Championships will be held right here at University Field beginning on Wednesday. The Miners, however, will not be in the field of 8.

UTEP Volleyball Gets Past Tulane

The UTEP women's volleyball team only had one contest this weekend, a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Tulane Green Wave. The Miners managed to get by the Wave in 5 sets (24-26, 19-25, 25-16, 25-22, 15-11), improving them to 13-11 overall, and 7-5 in Conference USA play.

The Miners will wrap up a five game homestand this week with contests against SMU and Tulsa on Friday, and Sunday, before wrapping up the regular season on the east coast against East Carolina and Marshall next week.

UTEP currently sits in 5th position in the Conference USA standings, but is only 2 games out of second place with four to play. The 2012 C-USA tournament will be held in Tulsa, OK beginning on November 16th, and wrapping up on the 18th.

Cross Country Athletes Claim Titles

After dominating the conference for much of the fall, both Anthony Rotich and Risper Kimaiyo claimed individual titles at the Conference USA Championships in Hattiesburg, MS this morning.

Coach Paul Ereng said, per UTEP Athletics:

"I am happy for Anthony (Rotich) and Risper (Kimaiyo) and what they have accomplished for our program today...This was Anthony's first Conference USA title and judging by today's performance, he will be one the top distance runners in the NCAA."

Rotich, a freshman, led the men to a 2nd place finish with a time of 23:32.2, and was also named the Freshman of the Meet. Kimaiyo posted a personal best in the 5k of 16:42.8 en route to her title. Congratulations to both athletes on their achievements.

ESPN Blog Post on Former Miner Javia Hall $$

From ESPN:

"The season is over for junior college quarterback Javia Hall (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley Community College). While Trinity Valley didn’t have the season he wanted, he was happy to be a part of the program and basically get a do-over on the college football level.

Now it’s time for Hall to begin reconsidering playing for an FBS program. A UTEP transfer, Hall chose to take the junior college route after a lack of playing time at UTEP, leaving as a redshirt freshman. As a 6-foot-1, 185-pound sophomore, Hall now is looking to re-establish himself as an FBS quarterback."

El Paso Inc - Stull: Basketball Exhibition Doubleheader

From El Paso Inc.:

"For as little as $8, you can catch both teams in action during an exhibition doubleheader at the Don Haskins Center. The women take on St. Mary's, Texas, at 4:30 pm, and the men face Southeastern Oklahoma at 7 p.m.

Tickets in the upper reserved section are $8, and all other seats are $10. This is a great opportunity to watch two games for the price of one.

Individual tickets go on sale Thursday, Nov. 1, at (915) 747-5234, or you can purchase season tickets now at 747-6150."

ESPN Blue Ribbon Preview: UTEP

Every year, ESPN does a preview of every division 1 school in both football and basketball. Here is their preview for the 2012-13 UTEP basketball team.

From ESPN:W

Tim Floyd still isn't fielding a team of grizzled college basketball veterans. But his team is a year more seasoned than this time last year, when his roster included 10 newcomers.

In Floyd's mind, though, it's still a fairly clean slate for a team that finished below .500 last season.

"Absolutely, I would say every spot but probably Julian Washburn's is up for grabs," Floyd said.

Julian Washburn (11.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.6 apg) is certainly a good place to start when building a lineup. The 6-7, 205-pound sophomore, who can play inside or outside, started in 30 of the 31 games he played as a true freshman.

AROUND CONFERENCE USA

ESPN: Conference USA Preview

While it should be expected, ESPN's Conference USA preview is more of an in depth preview of the Memphis Tigers. Still though, here it is. There are individual team previews, as well as questions about the league, non-conference schedule ratings, and even a 59 second Conference USA preview video by Eamonn Brennan that is really about 51 seconds of Memphis, and 8 seconds of Marshall.

Tulsa Inching Closer to Top 25

Even in their bye week, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane continue to make progress in both the AP and USA Today Polls in college football. This week, they received 17 votes in the AP Poll, good for 31st, and 19 in the USA Today Poll, also good for 31st. At this rate, the Hurricane should be in the top 25 by mid-November 2013.

AROUND THE NATION

Oregon Can't Buy Spot in BCS

For three weeks now, the Oregon Ducks have continued to get jumped in the only rankings that matter. The BCS. While the Ducks remain at no. 2 in both the AP and USA Today Poll, and they continue to blow out their opponents, those darns computers just love others more.

The most recent team to jump Oregon are the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I have to be honest, while CBS was projecting Oregon 3rd and ND 4th in the BCS, to me it was quite obvious that Notre Dame would be 3rd.

Here's another thing, if Notre Dame finishes out undefeated, regardless of what Kansas State or Oregon do, somehow, those computers will find a way to get the Irish in the BCS National Chamionship. I guarantee it. I'm not saying there's a conspiracy, I'm just saying thank God a playoff is coming.

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