Miners stave off Monarch comeback to improve to 4-1, 1-0 in Conference USA

In front of a small but lively Homecoming Sun Bowl Crowd the UTEP Miners defeated the Old Dominion Monarchs by a Final Score of 28 to 21.

Old Dominion would receive the ball to start the game, Monarch Quarterback DJ Mack would complete a pass to Ali Jennings who was hit by Miner Dy’vonne Inyang causing a fumble the Miners would recover in Old Dominion territory.

The Miner drive would stall and UTEP would settle for a 29 Yard Gavin Baechle Field Goal, opening up the scoring with 3-0 lead. 

UTEP’s Defense was stout the first half pitching a shutout until the final minute of the first half. The UTEP offense was able to capitalize on the defensive effort, scoring on a 16 play 80 yard drive that ate up 8:10 and was capped off by a 4 Yard Gavin Hardison Quarterback keeper making the lead 10-0.

The Miners would stop the Monarchs again and go on another long 15 play drive taking 8:10 off the clock and extending the lead to 17-0. 

It looked as if the Miners were well on their way to a victory :51 seconds away from halftime and receiving the 2nd half kick when Old Dominion Quarterback DJ Mack would lead his team 75 yards down the field, helped by a 28 yard scramble and a personal foul on the Miners. DJ Mack found Ali Jennings for 20 yards :10 before the half to cut the lead to 17-7 and gain some needed momentum going into the locker room. 

UTEP would start off the second half with a 8 play 63 yard drive that would stall in Monarch territory and Miners would tack on a 40-yard Baechle Field goal making the lead 20-7.

Old Dominion would answer with a long drive of their own on 19 plays taking 6:10 off the clock and scoring on a 5 Yard DJ Mack touchdown run cutting the lead to 20-14. 

On the next UTEP drive the Miners were held to a 3-and-out and Punter Josh Sloan would come out to punt the ball away. Old Dominion would block their 4th punt of the season, a score on the return taking an improbable 21-20 lead over the Miners.

UTEP Starting Quarterback Gavin Hardison would head to the locker room for a series and back-up Calvin Brownholtz would take over and the play-calling would play to his strengths allowing him to make plays with his feet.

Brownholtz would lead a 63 yard drive taking 4:47 off the clock that featured a gutsy 3rd down conversion by Gavin Hardison and was capped-off by Miner Running Back Deon Hankins scoring from the wildcat on 4th and goal from the 3 yardline to regain the lead.

Hardison would come-in to complete a vital two-point conversion giving UTEP a 28-21 lead with just over 4 minutes left in the game. 

The UTEP Defense and special teams would seal the game first on an interception by Dy’vonne Inyang and after being unable to convert Josh Sloan would punt and pin the Monarchs inside their own 5 yard line forcing them to have to go the length of the field with 1:21 left and no time outs.

The Miners defense would stop the Monarchs on 4th and 17 with :26 to play and seal the victory by a final of 28-21. 

Up next for the Miners, they travel to Harrisburg Mississippi to face A Southern Miss Golden Eagles team coming off a 24-21 loss at Rice. 

Chris Gomez,Johnny Tegg Reporting