Kansas State finished off 45 straight points after Jake Waters hit Zach Trujillo on a 44 yard touchdown pass and catch that made almost everyone in the stadium call it a morning in the third quarter, except every one who donned a UTEP jersey.
As bad as the special teams miscues were early on, as stuck in the mud the running game and total offensive numbers looked, UTEP did what their head man has been preaching; stay the course and get your work in.
K-State flexed their Top-25 muscle in the first half, limiting UTEP to just 23 total yards of offense in the first thirty minutes, although the lone glimmer of light for UTEP in the first half was the decent play from the defense early on.
I posted a tweet that kinda felt good to put out: when was the last time a UTEP defense kept the team in the game even if for a few minutes against a ranked team, and on the road.
Offensive play calling just wasn't what I was looking for in terms of using all of UTEP's weapons and what I expected it to be against a tough ass defense in their crib.
good great as Aaron Jones is, why did Nathan Jeffery only get six carries?
Where were the short dump, and hitch passes UTEP used against NMSU that could have kept K-State off-balance to a point?
It also would have been nice to see Aaron Jones, and Autrey Golden used in the passing game in less predictable spots in the flats and on screens as K-State was just vanilla as could be on defense, and just basically sat back and out athlete-d UTEP with their defense.
Doing what they have done in the first three games, the UTEP defense came out with energy led by the disruption of Nick Usher and Roy Robertson-Harris and held Kansas State to just 73 yards on their first 19 plays, forcing two three and outs on K-State's first four possessions in the first quarter and early in the second quarter.
UTEP simply and obliviously did what you just can't afford to do against a ranked team on the road, give up field position, and kill yourself with special teams miscues.
On the subject of special teams mishaps, usually when you match a David with a Goliath the talent or depth disparity is sometimes shown more on special teams, and it stuck its ugly head at the Miners with those blocked punts.
UTEP has done a good job on special teams up until yesterday by using some of their best athletes on the unit, though K-State thrives its self on special teams scores and opportunities, UTEP just could not hang with the speed, and physical psyche K-State imposed early on special teams.
There really isn't a need for improvement or change on special teams. The Miners staff has done a good job in making special teams a priority, although my final point and case is special teams is a huge reason why K-State should find themselves back in the top-20 this week and simply outplayed the Miners there, quit calling for heads to roll after one poor performance, it makes you look stupid.
So what is there to salvage?
Against a mixture of starters, but mostly 2's, UTEP racked up 240 yards and scored on four of their last five offensive possessions in where Jameill Showers and Ian Hamilton broke out in confidence terms, and production output with Hamilton notching his second career 100-yard receiving game, while Showers tossed four touchdowns.
As mentioned the defense showed some life early, though Kansas State controlled the line of scrimmage, and their running game made UTEP's linebackers disappear for most of the game.
But the Miners kept fighting, and seemed to turn an ugly blowout into a competitive practice that I feel will pay off in the long run of things, as I saw guys fighting, and still playing hard.
Sure UTEP gave up 188 yard rushing, only averaged 1.9 yards per carry on offense, though UTEP did not have any offensive turnovers, and forced K-State into a 2 out of 12 mark on third downs.
Plus teams of the past, and especially last year would have packed it in and watched 60 or 70 get placed on the scoreboard, but this team kept working, and chipped away late, showing and proving again this team is taking the attitude of their head man.
The good news going forward is K-State is the most monstrous squad UTEP will face all year, and after this weeks action of C-USA play, things are wide open in the west, and I think UTEP has a chance to make some type of noise within the conference schedule.
All in all this game simply showed how good Kansas State is, and where UTEP stacks up against a superior Power 5 contender, nothing to panic about or write off this team with it just showed how good K-State really is.
And on the argument topic and crying about UTEP playing too many money games, after much thought I came to this conclusion: you wanna get better and grow the program, you need games like this to better your program and gain some sort of exposure, i.e. Fresno State, Boise State, hell even UTSA.
Things start getting real on the road next week as UTEP will face a Louisiana Tech team who hung in for two and a half quarters with 5th ranked Auburn yesterday.
Gotta start somewhere in surprising the conference, why not start on the road against a team who like UTEP has shown glimpses of major improvement in a wider than wide open C-USA west division.
Gameball: K-State Running Back Charles Jones