LA Tech came into Saturday's tilt only averaging 150 yards rushing, that will change, as the Bulldogs ran for 353 total yards on ground, which gave them an early led the Miners just could not catch.
UTEP started the beautiful El Paso evening off with a solid 8 play 75 yard drive, finished off by a Jameill Showers QB sneak at the goal line.
The ensuing Bulldog drive would end up painting the story of the night. It took all but 55 seconds and four plays, including 45 yard rushing, for the Bulldogs to answer the Miners impressive opening drive on offense. Andrew Guillot made the Miners miss on back to back plays to tie the game at seven.
The Miners next drive would end with a great punt by Mike Ruggles that pinned the Bulldogs inside the Miner 10 yard line. That would not phase the Bulldogs as they went on 16 play 93 yard drive to end the first quarter, which added to a streak of 24 unanswered points heading into the 2nd quarter.
The game would go into the half with LA Tech leading 24-14. Showers hit Jordan Leslie from 28 yards out to give the Miners some life heading into the homecoming festivities.
The Miners would catch a huge break in the opening stages of the 2nd half. D.J. Banks would muff another beauty by Ruggles, the ball would end up rolling 18 yards into the endzone where the Miners Trey Brown would fall on it to bring the Miners within three with 11 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Showers had a decent night going 18 out of 33 for 237 yards 3 TD's and an interception, as well as a 65 yard beauty to Leslie that brought the Miners within three again, this time 31-28 with 6:27 left in the 3rd.
But from that point it on it was all Dixon, running for 131 yards in the second half, including a 72 draw on a 3rd and 21 from the Miner one yard line that took all hope and wind out of the Miner D. Dixon would finish that drive off with a 9 yard scamper to give LA Tech a 38-28 lead.
Aaron Jones had another solid night, running hard and with heart en route to 121 yards on the ground, in place of Nathan Jeffery who is clearly not 100% healthy yet. Though to his credit and courage he did manage 45 yards on 9 carries.
Jones now has two 100 yard games on the season, first Miner freshman since 1985 to achieve that mark twice.
But it was the Miner defense that could not make plays nor stops, giving up 7.0 yards a carry and 463 yards of total offense. Missed tackles, and over pursuit were issues that have haunted the Miners all season and hurt them against the tandem of Dixon and Blake Martin who also added 89 yards rushing, including a 62 yard TD run in the first half that would give LA Tech a 21-7 lead.
The Miners would hang in and fight tough in the fourth quarter, once again coming within three, after a Craig Wenrick 6 yard pass from Showers with just 1:03 left in the fourth quarter which would set up a onside attempt.
Another LA Tech running back would make a big play to end the game, as Hunter Lee recovered Jax Mattox's onside and gave LA Tech their second win on a UTEP homecoming.
The Miners continue C-USA play next week in the Sun Bowl, this time against Tulsa who fell to Rice Saturday in overtime.
Stay tuned to MinerRush for game week coverage as well as everything UTEP athletics.