UTEP fans had high expectations for the conference match-up against the UTSA Roadrunners that resulted in a 32-13 defeat for the Miners. This was an overall bad game for the Miners, but a great win for the Roadrunners, whose football program is going into just its third year of operation.
Taking this loss into consideration, I think we now have learned a few things about the Miners. To me, the offense will be fine, even though its performance against UTSA was below par. I thought it was balanced in its passing and rushing attempts, but it just wasn't effective.
That is either due to simply an off day for the Miners, because I don't think they were out-matched, or the San Antonio defense which held UTEP to a season-low 119 passing yards and 99 rushing yards. The biggest play of the game came about five minutes into the first quarter when Autrey Golden ran for a 100-yard kickoff return that scored the only touchdown for the Miners.
At the quarterback position, Jameill Showers will certainly improve with time, but I think he will improve quickly. After all, Showers played in only 11 total games during his time at Texas A&M before coming to El Paso. However, the run game has shown that it needs some work because we have seen that it has been unsuccessful in making huge gains on the field.
On the other hand the UTEP defense has also proved to be problematic and inconsistent. The defense didn't show up against UTSA until the second half of the game in which it allowed the Roadrunners only 82 yards. But it was too late.
We should understand that the defense is not that experienced, being led by only four starters from last season including Marcus Bagley, Horace Miller, Germard Reed, and A.J. Ropati. UTEP also has a new coordinator on board and a new scheme. Although that is not to say that the defense does not have the tools needed to succeed, because it does.
After all, the Miners are going into just its fourth game of the season as its first real road test at Colorado State approaches. It is still somewhat early in the season, but it may be time for them to get their act together.
This week at Fort Collins I expect the UTEP offense to step up once again. On the defensive side, I am not sure what to expect because we still have a lot to learn about the defense. We will see how the Miners build off the loss against UTSA.
The last meeting between these two teams was in 2011 at the Sun Bowl - A game that resulted in a 31-17 win for the Miners. We will see if they can repeat history this weekend on the road at Colorado State.