The night started with high expectations, but ended with heartbreak and tears as the Miners were unable to come up with a win in coach Mike Price's last game as the UTEP head man. After a strong a strong start, the Rice Owls came storming back, and owned the final quarter to drop the Miners 33-24.
After a pair of three and outs to start the game, the Miners were first to get on the scoreboard, with a 3 play 76 yard drive that lasted all of 48 seconds. The score came on a 65 yard strike from senior quarterback Nick Lamaison to sophomore wide reciever Jordan Leslie, which gave the Miners the early 7-0 lead.
But, the Owls answered from there, scoring the game's next ten points to take a 10-7 lead early in the 2nd quarter. The Miners came back with an 8 play 75 yard drive capped by a 4 yard Mike Edwards receiving touchdown that put the Miners back on top 14-10, but the Owls again answered, with their second rushing touchdown of the quarter to take a 17-14 lead into the locker rooms.
The Miners were able to take another lead on a touchdown midway through the third, but they would be held to only 3 points from then on, while the Owls managed 17 to take the game by the final score of 33-24.
Nick Lamaison led the way for the Miners offense going 8-22 for 249 yards and two scores through the air. Jordan Leslie finished with 168 yards and a score on the three receptions, and Mike Edwards added 121 yards and a score on 5 grabs.
Sophomore tailback Nathan Jeffery finished the night with 95 yards rushing on 13 carries, and Lamaison tacked on 41 yards on ten carries.
It was an emotional night, as the Miners not only said farewell to a great group of seniors, but they also said goodbye to the man who had led the program for the last nine years.
A teary eyed Josh Fely said:
"It would of meant the world to send him off with a win, and I'm sorry we couldn't do that...I'm miss going to miss the guy, and he deserves nothing but the best from everyone here; because that's what he's given us"
Mike Price certainly does deserve the best. While some are glad his time as the UTEP coach has ended, all must be grateful for the things that he has done for the program. Not only has he done well to improve the quality of the team, he has also had a hand in helping to improve the facilities, and the athletic program as a whole.
With the 2012 season over, Miner fans, players, and even coaches will look ahead to what the future of the program will hold. Athletic director Bob Stull has already commented that he would like to have a decision on a new coach made by Christmas, and we could know who the new man is within the next two weeks.