Aaron Jones had another stellar rushing performance, and Jameill Showers was an efficient 13 of 16 as the Miners raced passed the New Mexico State Aggies 42-24 for their sixth consecutive win in the Battle of I-10.
The Aggies were first on the board, using a game opening 8 play drive for 75 yards that gave them a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the ball game. But, it wouldn't take long for the Miners to answer. They'd use a 10 play 75 yard drive that would tie the game at 7 with just under seven to play in the frame.
Following punts by both teams, a long 11 play 84 yard drive for NMSU would stall at the Miner 10 yard line, and the Aggies would settle for a 28 yard field goal that would give them a 10-7 lead early in the second. That however, would be the final advantage they'd enjoy the rest of the night.
The Miners would score touchdowns on their ensuing two drives, both by Darrin Laufasa, and would enjoy a 21-10 lead as the teams headed into the locker rooms.
UTEP would surrender its first turnover of the 2014 season to start the second half as a Showers' pass on 3rd and 10 would be tipped and intercepted by the Aggies' Lewis Hill.
New Mexico State would be unable to take advantage of the prime field position though, and the Miners would turn their next possession into a 10 play 85 yard drive capped by a 7 yard Showers TD run just seconds into the 4th quarter.
Although the fourth quarter fireworks were just getting started, that would be the score that put the game out of reach. The Miners would lead by as many as 25 at 42-17 with less than five to play, but the Aggies would tack on one more score with the clock winding down to make the final score 42-24.
Jameill Showers finished the night passing for 126 yards, one touchdown, and one interception on a 13-16 performance. He also rushed for 41 yards and a score on six carries.
Aaron Jones, once again, led the Miners' rushing attack, going for 168 yards and two scores on 25 carries. Nathan Jeffery added 79 yards on 12 carries, and UTEP as a team finished with 344 yards on the ground.
Ian Hamilton hauled in three catches for 45 yards, Autrey Golden had four for 35, and Jarrad Shaw finished with three for 23. Darrin Laufasa finished just one catch for 2 yards, but it also happened to be the Miners' lone receiving touchdown.
The Aggies' Tyler Rogers finished the night 22 of 40 for 324 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Xavier Hall rushed 10 times for 44 yards, and Teldrick Morgan finished with a whopping 202 receiving yards and a score on 8 receptions.
Overall, it was an outstanding performance by the Miners. Although it didn't go exactly as planned, they were able to sustain drives, control the line of scrimmage, and walk away with a decisive win.
However, there's still much improvement to be made. Especially in the secondary. The Miners were beat deep on multiple occasions, and on more occasions than show up in the scorebook.
The truth is, had Tyler Rogers been a bit more accurate with his throws, the Aggies could have had about two or three big scoring plays that could have completely changed the outcome of the game.
Again though, this was an overall great performance by the Miners, and will be something to build on and use as momentum heading into the early bye week that is upcoming.
Following the bye, the Miners will be on the road at #19 Kansas State. That game will take place on Saturday September 27th, but kickoff time is still yet to be determined.
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