Through a quarter of the 2022 season Miner Head Coach Dana Dimmel will be tasked with trying to right the ship on Offense following one of the worst UTEP Offensive outings against the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday Night at University Stadium.
The Miners could not stop turning the ball over to the Lobos as New Mexico intercepted UTEP quarterbacks 4 times and added 3 fumble recoveries in their home victory.. The Miners had no answer for the Lobos pressure coming from all ends and a secondary that kept a tight grasp on Miner receivers all night.
The game began with the UTEP Defense forcing a 3-and-out. The Miner defensive unit was a bright spot holding the Lobos to 299 yards of total offense, despite being put into difficult possessions throughout the evening.
The Lobos opened up the scoring, driving 56 yards late in the 1st quarter taking the lead on a Luke Drzewiecki 39 Yard Field goal giving New Mexico a 3-0 lead. On the next UTEP possession the turnover feast would begin for the Lobos when Recco Hannah would come up with the pick-6 off a tiped Gavin Hardison pass to take a 10-0 lead.
The Miners would move within one score one with 1:44 in the first quarter on a 44-yard Gavin Baechle field goal cutting the lead to 10-3.
New Mexico would answer the Miner’s first score with a 8 play 75 yard drive ending in a touchdown by running back Sherod White extending the Lobo lead to 17-3. New Mexico would add a field goal before the half to take a 20-3 lead into the break.
In the 2nd half the Miners had several chances to cut into the Lobo lead, on the first UTEP possession of the 3rd quarter Gavin Hardison would connect with Tyrin Smith on a 76 yard pass, Smith would have the ball striped at the goal line and instead of the Miners cutting into the lead New Mexico would get the ball that was fumbled out of the endzone on a touchback.
The UTEP Defense would do their job throughout the second half giving the Miner Offense opportunity after opportunity to cut into the lead but a majority of their promising drives would end in turnovers. The Miners possessed the ball 15 times throughout the evening with 7 ending with a turnover (4 interceptions, 3 fumbles), 3 ending on punts, and 3 ending on turnover-on-downs.
Miner Running Back Deon Hankins would add a late 7 yard touchdown but it would for the Miners lone touchdown of the evening with 4:44 left to play to cut the lead to 20-10 but the Miners would fail to recover an onside kick giving the Lobos a short field where they would score the final touchdown of the game with 2:03 left to play.
After abandoning the running game in the most disappointing offensive performance in the last 3 seasons the Miners will have a short week to prepare for perennial Mountain West powerhouse Boise State in their return to the Sun Bowl for their Nationally televised match-up on Friday night. The Miners fall to 1-3 on the 2022 season with their hope for back to back bowl appearances looking more and more doubtful as the season progresses.
Story by Chris Gomez