The UTEP Miners (2-8, 1-5) and the Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (0-10, 0-6) get together Saturday for a Conference USA football game at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg. As their records will indicate, both team have underperformed in the 2012 season, and both are hungry for win.
The Miners enter the contest losing their last two, most recently at home to UCF a week ago. They put up a good fight in that one, keeping the game close throughout, but four turnovers eventually doomed them as they fell 31-24.
Southern Miss comes into the contest off a 34-6 drubbing at SMU, and are still searching for their first victory of the season. On the year, they are giving up an average of 38 points, while scoring only 18 themselves.
Make no mistake about this game, it will not be an easy one for the Miners. While the Golden Eagles have 0 wins, and have an offense that ranks near the bottom of the FBS in various major statistical categories, this will be no walk in the park.
The Miners have struggled on the road. Not just this year, not just under Mike Price, and not even just this decade. For whatever reasons, we have just never been a good road team, regardless of what situation we are in.
Now, the UTEP defense has proven that they can do well to contain even the best of offenses in this conference, and we shouldn't expect to see anything different this week. But, the offense has got to find a way to help the defense out with sustained drives.
I'm sure it will be tempting to try and run the ball 100 times against a struggling USM defense. But, no matter how much they have struggled, if we become one dimensional they will catch on, and they will figure out a way to stop us.
More than that, we have to establish an identity for Blaire Sullivan as the quarterback of the Miners, and an identity for the UTEP offense will Blaire Sullivan under center.
For the Miners to win this game, the play calling for the Miners offense has to be better than it was last week, and at that, has to be better than its been all season. If we're going to pick up a win on the road, we've got to be able to keep the Golden Eagle defense off balance, and we can't be predictable. I have confidence that we can do that.
Miners 27, Golden Eagles 21