The Cougars come into Thursday's matchup off a 56-0 thrashing of Georgia St., while the Miners are bouncing back from a 52-24 loss at no. 16 South Florida. Houston boasts QB Case Keenum who has already thrown for 1534 yards, 12 TDs, and only 2 INTs. UTEP, who has already started three different QBs in four games, is starting to find themselves a bit, and it may be at the perfect time.
Houston comes in at 4-0, but has had their struggles along the way. The Cougars opened up a multiple score lead on UCLA before allowing them back in the game, they allowed North Texas to stay within striking distance for more than half the game, and they needed to come back from 27 down to overtake Louisiana Tech. The Miners have had their struggles as well. They needed overtime to beat division 1-AA Stony Brook in the season opener, they lost to SMU on the road, and they barely escaped NMSU.
There's no doubt that on paper Houston is far more talented and should win this game by a few scores. But, this game isn't played on paper. It's played on the gridiron, and we all know that the Houston-UTEP game has really formed into somewhat of a rivalry game over the last years, and for the mostpart both teams have played extremely competitively regardless of who is favored. This game shouldn't be any different.
The Miners are still a young, and inexperienced team, and the Cougars are led by a QB who never seems to graduate, and who is undoubtedly one of the best in the nation. It will be a great test for our Miners offensively, and defensively, and hopefully they can keep this one close and give themselves a chance to win. I just can't call the upset here, but it really wouldn't surprise me. Game Prediction: Houston 34, UTEP 28.
Here's a Q&A segment with staff writer of SB Nation Houston, and fellow Co-Host of C-USA Weekly, Dustin Rensink. Enjoy.
MINER RUSH: Houston is now 4-0 on the season, but it hasn't exactly been the easiest road. UCLA nearly came back on them, North Texas hung for a while, and La Tech had them down 27 points. What do you think are the biggest holes that need to be filled in order for Houston to be successful not only this week against UTEP, but for the rest of the season as well?
MINER RUSH: From an outsider's perspective, it's easy to just write UTEP off. They needed overtime to get by Stony Brook, they barely beat New Mexico State, and just looking at the score they got blown out at USF. That being said, what's the attitude of Houston's fanbase heading into Thursday's game.
MINER RUSH: Case Keenum is averaging nearly 400 yards a game through the air, while the UTEP defense is only giving up about 215. Some of that can be attributed to teams running a little more against the Miners, but UTEP's defensive experience can't be denied. How do you see that matchup playing out?
MINER RUSH: Final thoughts/projection?