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UTEP at LA Tech: Three Key Matchups

Looking at some key matchups that will entertain, and could factor in the final score Saturday in Ruston.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Rice Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Jones vs. Jaylon Ferguson

This matchup may not decide the outcome on the scoreboard, but both players are just fun to watch.

Jones comes in as one of the nation's top-five leading rushers, and Ferguson is a future NFL prospect who has 3 TFL's and 2.0 sacks in the Bulldogs first four games.

LA Tech boasts a 20.4 percent stuff rate which is 62nd in the nation thanks to Ferguson, but opponents' power success rate is right at 50 percent which is a very impressive defensive mark.

Can the UTEP offensive line keep Henderson in check, and seal gaps for Aaron to do his thing?

Carlos Henderson-Trent Taylor vs. UTEP's secondary

Trent Taylor put up a video game like performance last week, Carlos Henderson is flat out explosive, and UTEP's secondary has actually been pretty good so far.

Taylor is LA Tech's highest targeted receiver who is averaging 11.7 yards per target this season. His success rate is 74.1 percent, boasting one of the highest success rates in the nation among players with at least 40 targets this season.

Henderson is the Bulldogs' second highest targeted wide out and is averaging 14.8 yards per catch this season. His ability to stretch the field vertically will be interesting to see how UTEP continues to defend the deep ball which has been solid so far this year.

UTEP's secondary rates 37th nationally in pass deflections and incomplete passes forced with a 36.6 percentage in that area.

The switch to exclusive zone coverage has helped UTEP keep everything in front, and has allowed Nik Needham to lead the squad with five pass breakups so far.

Needham is slowly making his mark as one of C-USA's top cover corners, and Brendan Royal also been solid in UTEP's nickel packages with three pass breakups.

This matchup will certainly play a factor in the outcome, but the Miners secondary could be foster some help with a consistent pass rush on Ryan Higgins.

UTEP's offensive line vs. LA Tech's defensive line

UTEP's offensive line got a boost with the start of freshman Greg Long, but consistency is the next step. 3

The Miners still rank in the 100's nationally when it comes to important rushing numbers like Power Success Rate, Stuff Rate, and Opportunity Rate's which really measures UTEP's success upfront.

LA Tech's defense has done a great job against the power run, ranking 12th, and they also held Arkansas to a 2.6 yard per carry average in 40 attempts in week one.

Teams are averaging just 4.2 yards per rush against them so far this season.

UTEP's offensive line is still struggling creating only 2.5 yards per rush, and 30.3 percent of UTEP's rushes are being stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

Each week this is a key, but keeping LA Tech's offense off the field, and sustaining drives is always UTEP's best defense which falls on the offensive line.