The Miners held strong for a while; roughly about a quarter and a half. They even held a lead late in the first quarter, but after that it was all Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.
After going three and out on the opening possession, Miner punter Mike Ruggles had his kick from deep in his own territory blocked, and the ball would roll out of the end zone for a safety giving the Aggies an early 2-0 lead.
UTEP's defense would come out with a little intensity early on, forcing a three and out on A&M's first possession, giving the Miners the ball back with just over 10 minutes left in the opening frame.
On the ensuing possession, the Miner offense would put together a 9 play 73 yard drive in 4:42 to go ahead 7-2 with about six minutes to go in the first quarter. That drive was capped by a four yard run by freshman Aaron Jones.
It didn't take long for the Aggies to respond though. Manziel would hit Travis Labhart who came wide open on a busted coverage for a 44 yard score, capping a quick strike 4 play 72 yard drive that lasted all of 1:03. That score would give the Aggies the lead back at 9-7.
The teams would trade punts on the next five possessions before the Aggies would once again put together another quick score drive that, after a failed two point conversion, would give them a 15-7 lead with just over nine minutes to play in the second quarter.
From there, things would go downhill for the Miners. Despite some pretty solid play from their defense through the first quarter and a half, the offense just didn't have any answer for the A&M defense.
Three consecutive turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) from the Miner offense would lead to 21 straight points by the Aggies and quickly an eight point advantage was turned into a 36-7 blowout at the half.
Things wouldn't change much in the second stanza. The Aggies would score touchdowns on each of their first three possessions of the third quarter, while the Miner offense managed a fumble, two punts, and an interception.
The lead would swell all the way to 50 points before the Aggies would call off the dogs. The two teams would go scoreless in the fourth quarter, and the Miners would go down by a final score of 57-7.
Johnny Manziel led the way for the Aggies, going 16-24 for 273 yards and 4 touchdowns to go along with 7 rushes for 68 and 2 more scores. His numbers, both passing and rushing, were both game highs. Travis Labhart was the team's leading receiver, hauling in 4 catches for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Miners were led by Blaire Sullivan who completed 9 of his 17 pass attempts for just 71 yards, no touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also had 10 rushes for 38 yards. Aaron Jones was the leading rusher, going for 62 yards on 22 carries, and Malcolm Trail had 3 receptions for 31 yards.
Overall, the Aggies dominated the stat sheet. They would finish with 564 total yards to just 198 for the Miners, while picking up 25 first downs to just 10 for the Orange and Blue. The Aggies also finished with 330 passing yards to the Miners' 71, as well as a 234 to 127 rushing advantage.
The Miners finished the night with four turnovers, including three interceptions. While surely not the only reason for the Miners' loss, most of those turnovers came at crucial times and really opened the game up.
UTEP did control the time of possession battle 36:03 to 23:57. Unfortunately for us though, the Aggies hardly needed any time to score, using less than 2:30 minutes in each of their 8 scoring drives.
The Miners, who fall to 1-7 overall on the season, will now continue their three game road swing with another tough one next Saturday at North Texas. That one will kick at 1:30 p.m. MT, and will be televised by CSS and Time Warner Cable.
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