The UTEP Miners took care of business Saturday night winning their home-opener over a feisty Bethume Cookman team by a Final Score of 38 to 28 in front of a sparse but lively crowd.
The UTEP Offense would get off to a slow start being forced to punt on their first possession, the Wildcats would muff the handling the punt immediately giving the Miners the ball back in the red-zone. The Miners were unable to get the ball into the end-zone and settled for a Gavin Baechlie 22-Yard Field Goal and a 3-0 lead.
Later in the 1st Quarter the Miners would drive to the Wildcat 3 Yard line where Gavin Hardison would throw his first of 3 Touchdown passes of the night, a three yard strike to Trent Thompson making the score 10-0.
Both teams would struggle to move the ball in the second quarter trading punts throughout the quarter and UTEP would receive the ball to start the second half.
Miner Quarterback Gavin Hardison would lose a fumble on the first drive of the second half deep in Miner territory and the Wildcats would capitalize on the Miner miscue scoring on a 4-Yard Touchdown pass from Shannon Patrick to Marcus Riley, making the score 10-7. The Miners would answer with a 13 play 82 yard drive capped off by backup Quarterback Calvin Brownholtz would be brought in for the goal line package and score on 1-Yard keeper extending the Miner lead to 17-7.
Bethune Cookman would answer the UTEP score with an 89 yard 6 play drive of their own to cut the Miner lead to 17-14. UTEP would begin the 4th Quarter with a 83 yard drive punctuated with a Gavin Hardison 6-Yard Touchdown pass to Jacob Cowing making the lead 24 to 14.
On the next Bethune Cookman possession UTEP’s Denis Barnes would stop the Wildcat’s offensive momentum and put the Miners in control of the game with an interception that set UTEP up on their own 40 where they would drive to the 8 Yard Line and Hardison would hit Justin Garret with 8 Yard Touchdown pass making the score 31-14.
The Wildcats would continue to fight putting two more 4th Quarter Touchdowns on the board but the Miners were able to answer, not allow Bethune Cookman to get within 10 points until the final few minutes of the game. In the end the Miners would emerge victorious by a score of 38-28.
The Miners are 2-0 for the first time since 2005 and had two Running Backs over a hundred yards with Willie Elridge rushing for 118 yards on 14 carries and Ronald Awatt carrying the ball 19 times for 126 Yards and 1 Touchdown.
The Miners will make the trip to Boise Idaho with a short week to prepare for the Boise State Broncos on Friday night for their home opener and are coming off of a narrow road loss to UCF.
Chris Gomez Reporting