UTEP's Season Ends With 48-17 Loss at Middle Tennessee

The nightmare that was Sean Kugler's first year at the helm of the UTEP Miners football program has come to end with a 48-17 loss at Middle Tennessee.

It's become all too familiar. The Miners came out flat, were unable to get anything going on either side of the ball, found themselves in an early hole, and were simply unable to dig themselves out of it.

After a quick four play UTEP drive to open the contest, the Blue Raiders went 71 yards in six plays and just 2:45 to take an early 7-0 lead. That drive was capped off by a 21 pass from Logan Kilgore to Marcus Henry for the score.

The Miners next drive would result in a fumble, setting up Middle Tennessee with great field position. They would only be able to muster a field goal, giving them a 10-0 lead less than five minutes into the first quarter.

UTEP would be forced to punt on their next two drives, which both led to rushing touchdowns by the Raiders', giving them a 24-0 lead six seconds into the second quarter.

The Miners would respond with a 13 play, 65 yard scoring drive to cut the lead to 17 at 24-7, but Middle Tennessee would come right back with a touchdown of their own to push the lead back up to 24.

The Blue Raiders would tack on a field goal with just seconds remaining in the first half, and would own a 34-7 lead at the half.

The second half started with a quick three play 1:06 drive by MTSU that resulted in a touchdown to put them up 41-7. UTEP would answer with one of their own, Nathan Jeffery's second of the day, to get back within 27, but that would be the last time time the Miners would find the end zone.

A 41 yard field by Jay Mattox midway through the third pulled to Miners to within 24, but a touchdown by the Blue Raiders would extend the lead up to its final margin of 31. Neither team would score in the forth quarter, and the game would end with a final score of 48-17.

The Blue Raiders were led by quarterback Logan Kilgore, who passed for 325 yards and two touchdowns on 19 of 27 passing. Jeremiah Bryson finished with 120 yards and two scores on 15 carries, and Kyle Griswould hauled in 5 catches for 101 yards.

Mack Leftwich led the way for the Miners completing 14 of his 24 passes for 122 yards. Nathan Jeffery finished the day with 140 yards and two scores on 20 carries, and Craig Wenrick had two catches for 50 yards.

The loss ends the Miners season at 2-10 and 1-7 in Conference USA play, while the win gives Middle Tennessee State their eighth of the year to wrap up an 8-4, 6-2 regular season campaign. They'll now wait to see what bowl they will be playing in.

It was a rough season for the Miners, and one we as fans can't wait to forget. But, our hats are off to all the Miners who worked their butts off throughout the season, especially those seniors. Picks Up and Go Miners.

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