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Old Dominion 31 UTEP 21: Ten Observations

Ten thoughts, and observations from a tough loss.

A tough and disappointing loss due to so much being on the line.  Despite some missed tackles, the defense appeared to hit a good stride during this game with multiple consecutive second half stops.

However, the offense reverted back to it's ineffective ways in the second half and was unable to take control of the game.  Most frustrating to me, was how Kugler stated in his press conference two weeks ago, that UTEP would always take two deep shots per quarter.  Yet in this game, we came out and did not attempt a single pass beyond 10 yards during the entire third quarter.

  • I can not stand it when football teams throw two-yard pass routes on third-down-and-five. During the third quarter, UTEP threw a two-yard pass on third-and-six and they threw a two-yard pass on third-and-11.  Obviously, neither converted for a first down. During one of our third quarter three-and-outs, we threw the ball on two of those three plays, yet neither pass attempt was beyond two yards.  I just don't get it?
  • Autrey Golden continued his struggles with dropped passes during this game.  He had that nice return, but the offense came up with three, instead of turning that 61-yard return to the ODU 25-yard line into a quick seven point swing.
  • In today's game, we had our fourth separate punt returner this season fumble a punt (Nik Needham, Jaquan White, Daniel Sillar, and Warren Redix).
  • Early in the game, Aaron Jones was shown on the sidelines and it appeared that he might be off of his crutches.
  • I wonder what happened to Nick Needham?  The Freshman did not play today according to the official box score.  He has been having a solid year in coverage and we could have desperately used him today.  He's seeming played most of the defensive snaps this season.
  • Roy Robertson-Harris and Jimmy Musgrave will be our biggest losses next year.
  • Kalon Beverly had his worst game as a Miner.  He spent the majority of the first half trailing a couple of yards behind whoever he was covering, mainly Zach Pascal.  Then he was in coverage on the unacceptable deep touchdown, with only six seconds remaining in the first half.  He was finally taken out and not on the field as often in the second half.  Games like this will happen with true freshmen, we just have to hope that he can learn and improve from today's poor performance.
  • Speaking of that late TD, we only rushed four guys and dropped seven into coverage twice in a row, so I don't understand why we did not have two safeties deep to prevent that pass and give Beverly help?  Thanks to @Leo_minersfan here is the play:

  • Da'Carlos Renfro actually had a good overall game, however, he made a very poor common sense football play on the third-and-long, which allowed ODU to get into position to score right before half. If you will notice on this play, he takes an extremely poor angle and allows the running to bounce outside after missing the tackle.  Renfro's help was inside (with Musgrave and others) and the senior should have naturally known to take a better angle as he came in from the outside for the tackle.  He should have come in at an outside angle, which would have forced the running back up-field where the other defenders were (not allowing the RB to bounce outside).  Had Renfro simply taken a better angle forcing the running back inside, then UTEP probably would have lead at halftime.  This was a common sense football play and the senior should have done better.  Again, Thanks to @Leo_minersfan here is the play:
  • We always knew after the UTSA loss, that making a bowl game this year was going to be tough.  UTEP will now have to beat a very good and tough LA Tech team, which means that they will truly have to earn a bowl birth