September 1, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; UTEP Miners running back Nathan Jeffery (25) runs after a catch against the Oklahoma Sooners in the first quarter at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE
After picking up the first win of the season last Saturday against New Mexico State, the Miners now begin a two game road swing that features contests in what are the most hostile venues they will play in all season. Up first, is matchup with the 24th ranked Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI.
The Miners are now 1-2 on the season, and will try to get to .500 overall heading into conference play. The Badgers, who entered the season as the #12 team in the nation, are now 2-1 on the season after narrow wins against Northern Iowa and Utah State, and a narrow loss at Oregon State.
The Badgers, who were expected to be a power in the Big 10 conference, have struggled to get things going offensively in the opening weeks, and will take their chances with freshman Joel Stave under center. On the season, he has only completed 2 of 6 passes for 15 yards.
The Miners offense had been out of whack for the opening two weeks, with the running game dominating against Oklahoma in week 1, and the passing game bringing the majority of the production at Ole Miss in week 2. Last week however, the UTEP offense was firing on all cylinders, and the Miners were able to pick up a 41-28 win over New Mexico State in a game that they led by 27 multiple times.
There's no question that the Miners are talented enough to give the Badgers a game, and possibly even come up with a win. But, this is more than just a question of talent. Its a question of whether or not they can overcome the road woes that have doomed this program for decades.
With sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery back in action, quarterback Nick Lamaison finally finding his groove, and a defense that has played well over the opening weeks, I think they just might finally find themselves picking one up against a BCS school on the road.
I may not have thought so to start this week, but hey, opinions change. Assuming the Miners can continue on with the momentum that they built last week, they will come up with this win! Picks Up, and Go Miners!
Miners 27, Badgers 21