Poor 2nd Half Performance Sinks the Miners 38-7 against Northwestern

The UTEP Miners went into Big 10 Country with a golden opportunity to pick up their first ever program win versus a Power 5 College in the Modern Era and for parts of the first quarter they seemed poised to achieve the ever so elusive milestone.

Gavin Hardison would march the Miners 70 yards down the field with ease completing the drive with a 4 yard touchdown pass to Zach Fryer to take a 7-0 lead. The Miners would play a tight first half with Northwestern tying the game on their first drive when Wildcat Running Back R. Lausch would tie the game at 7-7 with 3:32 in the 1st Quarter.

The Miners played well defensively the entirety of the second quarter keeping the Wildcats off the scoreboard. The Miners had an opportunity to take a lead into halftime but first year kicker Buzz Flabiano would push a 41 yard field goal attempt to the right to close the half. 

Despite the lost opportunities to take a commanding lead in the first half, the Miners looked to have a chance to come out of the locker room and gain control of the game, but the Northwestern offense would take a page out of the Miner playbook going on a long 6:36 minute 13 play drive finished off by an 18 yard touchdown pass from Ben Bryant to Gordon to take a 14-7 lead.

On the first Miner offensive possession of the 2nd half Gavin Hardison would throw a costly interception to set up the Wildcats on the Miner 3 yard line where Ben Bryant would sneak the ball in to give the Wildcats a 21-7 lead and in a matter of minutes the wheels fell completely off for the Miners. 

The Miner offense was totally taken out of rhythm being forced to throw, playing from behind and making costly mistakes. The Miners had two receptions negated (one that could have been a touchdown to Tyrin Smith) going out of bounds and catching the ball for a loss of down. The Miners lost the turnover battle 3-0 throwing 3 drive-killing interceptions. The Miners failed to extend drives on 4th and one on two occasions. The Miners gave up 38 answered points to the Wildcats, 31 of which came in the 2nd half. 

It was a hard loss for the Miner faithful to swallow and puts UTEP in an uphill battle to salvage the season. Things will not get any easier as next Saturday night the Miners head to Tucson to face former Miner Wide Receiver standout Jacob Cowing  and the Arizona Wildcats of the Pac-12. 

Story by Chris Gomez