Miners Ground and Pound Breaks Down Incarnate Word for 28 to 14 Victory

Coming of the heels of a disappointing season opening Conference loss to Jax State featuring failed execution and a slew of turnovers, the Miners seemingly took a back to basic’s approach against FCS UIW for a classic “get right” victory.

The visiting Cardinals coming of a season where they averaged 51 points per game and got to the FCS semifinals where held to only 14 and went a dismal 1-3 in the red zone thanks to a Miner Defense that has only given up an average of 15.5 points to start the 2023 season. 

It became glaring obvious that not only the defense but also the Miners Offensive line and slew of talented Running Backs led by El Paso’s all-time leading high school rusher Deion Hankins is the strength of the team. Hankins who on Saturday joked about being the Veteran leader of the running back corps led the way with 24 Carrie’s and a career high 174 yards to help UTEP control time of possession and keep the ball away from the Cardinal’s up-tempo offense.

The Cardinal offense would strike first when Quarterback Zach Calzada would find receiver Brandon Porter on a 34 yard Touchdown pass putting UTEP in a 7-0 hole early. The Miner ground fans would answer on the next drive keeping the ball away from UIW and UTEP Running Back Torrence Burgees would break off a 40 yard Touchdown Run to tie the game at 7. Burgees would finish as the Miners second leading rusher opposite of Hankins with 85 yards and gives a complementary slashing style of running for Coach Dimmel. 

UIW would have there longest drive off the night taking the ball to the Miner 5-yard line where running back Tre Sprigs would punch it in to give the Cardinals their final lead of the game at 14-7 early in the second quarter. The next Miner Score would tie the game when Gavin Hardison would find Jostein Clarke on a 13-Yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14. The Cardinal would drive inside the Miner 5 yard line and have 7 plays due to a Miner penalty inside the 5 but fail to convert and turn the ball over on downs.

The Miners would reciprocate the 2nd half and go on an epic 8:20 drive that would establish the tone of the rest of the game and take their first lead of the game when Gavin Hardison would connect with Tyrin Smith for a 24 yard touchdown pass. Hardison went 10-13 on the night with two of those completions going for Touchdowns mostly due to the dominance of the offensive line and success of the Running Game.

The Miners would add another big drive to pad the lead driving the ball to the Cardinal 3-yard line where Running Back Mike Franklin would punch it in to put the Miners up 28-14 with 8:47to play. UIW would drive into the Miner red zone again late in the 4th Quarter but the Miner secondary would come up with a big-time game sealing interception by Junior Cornerback Trez Moore.

The Miners now must face a tough stretch playing two power 5 opponents on the road in back to back weeks starting with a game in Big 10 Country against Northwestern. The Miners Offensive line will be tested and are more likely to need Quarterback Gavin Hardison to make throws to extend drives to play a competitive game. 

Story by Chris Gomez