The Miners last 2 weeks of monumental first in program history came to a screeching halt in the 1st Quarter as UTEP fell behind early and could never recover.
The Bulldogs took the opening kick-off right down the field scoring in just 1:34 on a 8 yard touchdown pass from Patrick McNeil to Tahj Magee to put LA Tech up 7-0.
On UTEP’s opening drive Gavin Hardison would throw his 1st of 3 picks on the night, that gave the Bulldogs the ball a midfield and ended with McNeil’s 2nd touchdown pass going to Tre Harris making the score 14-0.
The Miners would move the ball offensively on their next possession having their drive stall in the red-zone and settling for a Gavin Baechle field goal of 31 yards cutting the lead to 14-3, but the Bulldogs would answer quickly with McNeils 3rd touchdown pass going to Frank Harris and giving LA Tech a 20-3 lead after a missed extra point.
The deficit would prove too much for the Miners to come back from as the 2nd Quarter began. Deon Hankins would score a 5-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 20-10 with 6:59 left in the half and knowing they would be on offense to start the 3rd Quarter. LA Tech would squash that momentum adding a field goal and then Myles Brooks would get a pick 6 on UTEP Quarterback Gavin Hardison to build their lead up to 30-10 at halftime.
Neither team was able to garner any points in the third quarter, the Miners started off the 4th quarter with back to back touchdowns in the span of 3:00 minutes the first coming on a Reynaldo Flores 3 yard Touchdown Run followed by a 44 yard touchdown pass from Hardison to Tight End Trent Thompson with 10:18 to play cutting the lead to 30-24.
As was the case all night LA Tech would answer UTEP’s rally quickly marching the ball down the field where McNeil would find Frank Harris for a 15 yard Touchdown pass and add a field goal pushing the lead back up to 41-24 with 4:28 to play.
The Miners where able to add a late long touchdown pass from Gavin Hardison to Marcus Bellon to make the score 41-31 but other than early in fourth quarter the game really was never in reach.
UTEP fell back under .500 on the season dropping to 3-4 overall 1-2 in Conference USA play headed into the by week. The Miners will use the by-week to correct their turnover problems and try to get back to .500 in their first game at the Sun Bowl in almost a month.
Story by Chris Gomez