After last week's loss at Houston, I was frustrated at one particular decision by the coaching staff. UTEP was down 20 points in the 3rd, but on the heels of a beautiful 68 yard interception return, the Miners faced a 4th and goal from the 5 yard line. UTEP decided to try for the field goal. I wrote:
Coach, without B (Donald) Buckram, it should be easy: Put the ball in the hands of your senior quarterback. The guy who will own almost every UTEP passing record imaginable when he hangs them up. He's good.
Well, what can I say? With Buckram missing his third consecutive game to start the season, the coaching staff put the ball into Trevor Vittatoe's hands and let the senior carry UTEP's offense in a 42-10 beat down of rival New Mexico State. Trevor finished a stellar 19/30 for 246 yards with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. Oh, he also rushed 3 times for 54 yards.
It was a clinic. Ten different Miners caught passes and four different Miners caught touchdown passes.
The Miner offense scored touchdowns on their first three drives of the first half. Then, TV and company went right ahead and scored 3 more touchdowns to open the second half.
Defensively, the Miners showed vast improvement as compared to their showing last week to Houston. NMSU had 10 drives and four of them were 3 and outs. NMSU only converted 9 of 17 third down attempts. UTEP held the Aggies to 300 total yards of offense and Aggie QB Matt Christian only completed 50% of his passes. The Miners are still struggling to make plays behind the line of scrimmage as UTEP only had 2 tackles for loss and zero sacks but we saw significant improvement there. UTEP defenders combined for 9 quarterback hurries.
The Miners swarming defense limited NMSU to minimal gains after completions and a paltry 4 yards per rush. Last night was definitely a step in the right direction for UTEP's young defense.
Royzell Smith led UTEP with 10 tackles (2 solo, 8 assisted) and he had an interception. Fellow linebacker Jamie Irving had 8 tackles and sophomore safety DeShawn Grayson had 7 stops of his own.
Donald Buckram, as noted above, didn't make his 2010 debut in the Battle of 1-10 but the Miners still had a monster night rushing the ball. UTEP backs carried the ball 35 times for an insane 254 yards rushing. Five Miner running backs had more than three carries. Joe Banyard carried 11 times for 64 yards and a touchdown. James Thomas carried three times for 55 yards. Leilyon Myers made his presence felt for the first time this season with 7 rushes for 35 yards.
The Miners had 500 yards of total offense. The offensive line paved the way for a ridiculous 7.1 yards per rush. Trevor Vittatoe was never sacked once. On to the awards!
Most Valuable Player
Trevor Vittatoe: "Must See TV" is the only way to describe the monster of a performance by UTEP's Trevor Vittatoe last night. 19/30 for 246 with 5 touchdowns by way of hitting 10 different receivers and keeping drives alive by rushing for 54 yards. This is Trevor Vittatoe's team and right now he's running UTEP's offense as well as it could be run. He's off to a sensational 2010.
The Offensive Line: Three games into the 2010 season, the hogs up front have allowed all of one sack on TV. Not only that, but last night the o-line paved the way for a ridiculous 7.1 yards per rush and 500 yards of total offense.
Runner Up: Donavon Kemp. Kemp has emerged as the glue guy in the 1 back passing attack. He led Miner receivers with 5 receptions and had a 13 yard touchdown catch.
Runner Up #2: Kris Adams. Adams is keeping on pace to have a 1,000 yard receiving season. Last night he caught 3 passes for 86 more yards and 3 touchdowns. As soon as video of his 68 yard touchdown reception hits YouTube it will be posted here. It was a thing of absolute beauty.
Royzell Smith: 10 tackles, an interception, and a quarterback hurry for big #52. Not a bad day at the office.
Runner Up: DeShawn Grayson. 7 tackles, one forced fumble, a pass broken up, and a quarterback hurry for the safety that has been asked to assume a leadership role with the absence of Braxton Amy. What a night for the sophomore.
Goat of the Week
Coach of the Week
Aaron Price. I wanted to give this to Andre Patterson, but the innovation on offense last night was too hard to ignore. The Miners used James Thomas III, five running backs, had 10 players catch passes. UTEP's rushing game, even without Donald Buckram, has been awfully impressive so far in 2010.
Who are your award winners?