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UTEP Gameday Comment Thread

Its a big day in UTEP sports as the football team is in action at Middle Tennesse State, the men's basketball team takes on #2 Kansas in the Battle For Atlantis, and the women's basketball team is at home against Texas State. Join the conversation here all day long!

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sp

First in line, the 2013 season comes to an end this Saturday as UTEP ends their 2013 schedule with their seventh road game against Middle Tennessee State. Lets take a look how the teams stack up statistically.

Middle Tennessee State

Current Record: 7-4 overall, 5-2 in C-USA play

Head Coach: Rick Stockstill, 50-48 overall and at MTSU, 8th year

Last Week: W, 42-21 @ So. Miss

Stat leaders

Passing: Logan Kilgore, 178-295-10 1964 yards, 14 TD's

Rushing: Jordan Parker, 138 carries 656 yards 5 TD's; Reggie Whatly 91 carries 622 3 TD's

Receiving: Tavarres Jefferson, 39 catches 496 yards 4 TD's; Marcus Henry, 33 catches 460 yards 2 TD's

Sacks: Leighton Gasque 5.0 sacks

Interceptions: Kevin Byard 5 interceptions

Team Stats:

Total Offense 396.4
Rushing Offense 199.6
Passing Offense 196.7
Scoring Offense 29.4
Total Defense 414.2
Rushing Defense 186.6
Passing Defense 227.5
Scoring Defense 27.3
Turnover Margin +1.1
Offense 3rd Down % 45%
Offense Red Zone % 76%
Defense 3rd Down % 48%

Key Stat: MT's 30 turnovers and 15 fumble recoveries, both are ranked 3rd nationally

The Blue Raiders are in the midst of a four game winning streak. A huge last secondwin against Marshall sparked the late season run. While their defensive stats won't tell it, this is a tough defense. MT has forced 30 turnovers this season, that ranks them 3rd nationally. They also have four interceptions returned for touchdowns this season, Kevin Byard has 326 interception return yards for his career. They have also rode an impressive streak of 24 interceptions in their last 16 games as a program.

Logan Kilgore is third in school history is passing yards, though MT has a dynamic duo in the backfield. Kilgore has struggled at times, though is just a winner and competes hard. UTEP will have its hands full with the physical offensive line and physical running style.

UTEP Miners

Current Record: 2-9 overall, 1-6 in C-USA play

Head Coach: Sean Kugler, 2-9 overall, 1st year

Last Week: L, 45-3 @ Tulane

Stat Leaders:

Passing: Jameill Showers, 107-88-4 1263 yards 11 TD's (injured)

Rushing: Aaron Jones 155 carries 811 yards 4 TD's

Receiving: Jordan Leslie 42 catches 599 yards 7 TD's

Sacks: James Davidson 4.0 sacks

Interceptions: Dashone Smith 2 interceptions

Team Stats

Total Offense 352.4
Rushing Offense 185.4
Passing Offense 167.0
Scoring Offense 22.2
Total Defense 453.7
Rushing Defense 242.7
Passing Defense 211.0
Scoring Defense 38.5
Turnover Margin -.55
Offense 3rd Down % 40%
Offense Red Zone % 67%
Defense 3rd Down % 44%

Key Stat: 9 losses

UTEP was already thin at running back, and with Autrey Golden being questionable, the Miners have only one left in Nathan Jeffery. After a nice 33-10 win against FIU, the Miners came out flat and got flattened last week in New Orleans.

No red-shirts will be pulled as Coach Kugler is still finding the pieces for the future on defense. The Miners have been outscored 424-244, and 142-55 in the second quarter. Which UTEP team will showed up?

MT 45, UTEP 17

Game Info

UTEP Miners at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Sat Nov. 30 1:45 PM MDT Floyd Stadium

Radio: The Fox 9.23-FM

UTEP Miners vs. #2 Kansas Jayhawks - 5:00 p.m. MT TV: NBC Sports

Next up, the men's basketball team will take on the #2 ranked Kansas Jayhawks at 5:00 p.m. MT in the 3rd place game of the Battle For Atlantis. The Miners made their way there by beating Tennessee in the opener and falling to #23 Iowa in the semifinal, while the Jayhawks knocked off Wake Forest, and lost to Villanova.

The Miners enter the contest at 4-3, being led by junior guard McKenzie Moore (13.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and junio guard/forward Julian Washburn (11.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg). Those two will have to be on top of their of their game if they're going to hang close in this one.

The Jayhawks enter with a mark of 5-1, having only lost in the semifinal of this tournament to Villanova. They are led by outstanding freshman guard Andrew Wiggins (15.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and sophomore forward Perry Ellis (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg). Look for those two to get involved early and often.

If the Miners are going to make this one a game, they'll have to come out with much better intensity than they did against Iowa last night. That kind of effort simply won't get it done. The Jayhawks are far too athletic and far too talented.

More than just intensity though, the Miners will need to rebound, will need to stay out of foul trouble, and will need to find some kind of rhythm offensively. Taking contested shots, out of rhythm, is just not a recipe for success.

Defensively the Miners will have their hands full, as guys like Wiggins and Ellis are likely to get theirs. However, the Miners need to control the pace of the game. If this thing turns into a track meet, we could be looking at a outcome similar to last night's.

Jayhawks 81, Miners 68.

UTEP Miners vs. Texas State Bobcats - 7:00 p.m. MT

Last up on the slate is the UTEP taking on Texas State in women's basketball at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners are off to a hot start, knocking off their first five opponents by an average of nearly 32 points a game.

Tonight, Texas State enters the gauntlet, and is off to a 1-4 start, falling to the likes of Texas, TCU, Hampton, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. All of those were close contests, expect for the game at Texas where they fell 96-42.

The Miners are led by senior forward Kayla Thornton (15.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and sophomore guard/forward Irene Gari (9.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg). Those are just two though, of a team that is loaded with talent.

Coach Keitha Adams is known for her old school mentality and her defensive approach. The Miners got off to a slow start in their last outing against Northern Colorado, but you can expect that won't happen again.

Miners 85, Bobcats 58