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The Dig: Let's Celebrate UTEP's Homecoming by Frying Rice Edition

In The Dig:  UTEP is honoring a legendary Miner football squad, Kris Adams gives some love to the UTEP defense, we take a quick look at the Rice quarterback situation, and we give some love to Tulane for a huge win.  It's Homecoming and the Miners are off to their best start since 2005.  Better get your tickets early this week....


The UTEP Miners

For those of you who can't listen to the video above, UTEP Athletic has text of the Mike Price press conference here.

A Season to Remember

It was 10 years ago this season that UTEP won their first and last WAC Championship.  UTEP will honor the 2000 team at this week's homecoming game against the Rice Owls.

UTEP will observe the 10th anniversary of the school's lone Western Athletic Conference championship team on Saturday. The Miners were 8-4 in 2000 and shared the WAC regular season title with TCU (both teams posted a 7-1 mark in league play). UTEP posted a school-record seven game winning streak that year (a feat later duplicated by the 2004 squad) and played in the Humanitarian Bowl.

We Hear Ya

UTEP's Kris Adams wants the press to give some credit to UTEP's defense.  

The defense was rolling," receiver Kris Adams said after it held New Mexico to seven offensive points on a 27-yard drive to open the game. The Lobos "scored one touchdown and that was our fault. I've read some articles about (how bad the defense typically is), now I'm curious to see if I keep reading them. The defense was ready to go

Dead Man Walking

Mike Locksley has doesn't think his Lobos have or will give up on this season.

"As far as the guys giving up on the season, I can tell you that none of them have," he said. "These guys don’t quit, and they’re going to go out and continue to give a great effort, and these coaches are going to continue to coach them up all the way to the end."

The Fort Bend Contingency Gets Some Local Press

Royzell Smith and Antwon Blake got a nice shout-out from their local paper.

Fort Bend Marshall HS grads Antwon Blake and Royzell Smith combined for nine tackles in UTEP’s 38-20 win over New Mexico on Saturday. Blake also forced a fumble to compliment his five tackles.  Smith had four tackles in the contest.

Basketball Season?  

It looks like the UTEP basketball team is set to kickoff practice on October 15.





On to the Owls

A Familiar Foe:  Last season, Nick Fanuzzi was Rice's starting quarterback but he didn't quite win over his coach David Bailiff or the fan base.  After a three way QB battle, Fanuzzi lost the starting job to Taylor McHargue. McHargue was injured in Rice's only win of the season, against North Texas, but came back against SMU.  Against the Pony's, McHargue was knocked out again, after a late hit caused him to reinjure his shoulder.  So, Fanuzzi is back.

Nick Fanuzzi is listed as the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart for Saturday's game against UTEP. Taylor Cook has been designated as the backup. • • • Quarterback Nick Fanuzzi was hit 17 times, which included three sacks, in the loss to SMU.

Stunted Growth:  The Owls have really, really struggled on offense this season.

Rice has failed to score a first-half touchdown in three straight games. They have three for the entire season

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back:  Rice is coming off a 42-31 loss to SMU.  Don't look past Rice, they aren't New Mexico.  The Owls played competitive football against the Ponies but just kept shooting themselves in the foot to win it.

Sterling Moore's 32-yard interception return and Ja'Grared Davis' 77-yard return of a blocked Chris Boswellfield goal attempt proved to be too much for the Owls (1-4) to overcome.

"SMU did some good things, but once again it's what we didn't do," Rice head coach David Bailiff said. "The blocked field goal was a ten point swing--interception returned for a touchdown. If we take those mistakes away this was a winnable football game," he added.

Rice RB Sam McGuffie had a season high on the ground with 99 yards on 20 carries.

Hat's off to the Green Wave

I have to give some credit to Tulane, formerly the squad that was a fixture at the #12 spot in my C-USA Power Rankings.  The Green Wave went up to Rutgers and beat a Big East team on the road this past weekend.  Dezman Moses was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week.  Read this summary of the game he had:  

DEZMAN MOSES - TULANE DE, So., Willingboro, N.J. (Willingboro HS/U. Iowa) Moses led Tulane to one of its biggest wins in the last 10 years with TU's 17-14 road victory over Rutgers. Moses started and recorded six tackles (two solo) from his defensive end position, but more importantly recorded a team-high 2.5 tackles for loss (minus 10 yards) and tied for a team-best 1.5 sacks for minus 8 yards. He also was responsible for two quarterback hurries on the day. Moses led a defensive unit that notched 7.0 TFLs, including four sacks.