UTEP Football Can’t Live Up to Hype, Falls 44-23 to Unbeaten UTSA
A poor start mixed with a rough defensive outing led to No. 16 UTSA blasting UTEP, 44-23, in a late Saturday night matchup at the Sun Bowl.
In front of 31,658 lively fans, the Miner football team simply could not live up to the hype that the game brought. UTEP is now 6-3 (3-2 C-USA) on the year with North Texas, Rice and UAB on their schedule to wrap things up. Meanwhile, UTSA improved to 9-0 on the year as one of the four unbeaten teams in the country.
The Miner defense, which came into tonight's game ranked No. 9 in total defense among FBS teams, allowed UTSA to rack up a whopping 562 yards of offense. Quarterback Frank Harris completed 22-of-34 passes for 286 yards and had four total touchdowns on the night, while running back Sincere McCormick ended the night with 169 rushing yards and a touchdown.
On the second play of scrimmage, UTSA tailback McCormick scored on a 75-yard rushing touchdown. UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison missed three straight targets on their first drive, which resulted in a quick three-and-out. The Roadrunners were able to score field goals on back-to-back drives and went up 13-0 in the first eight minutes.
Hardison found wideout Tyrin Smith wide open for a 35-yard touchdown on the next drive, giving the Miners some life (13-6). However, UTSA went on to score on their next three possessions and finished the half with a 30-9 lead.
The Miners had a chance to try and get back on the board on their opening possession of the second half. They drove the ball all the way down to the UTSA 4 yard line, but UTEP was unable to score on a 4th and goal situation. UTSA turned around and scored a touchdown on a 13-play, 96 yard drive that was capped off by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Zakhari Franklin. That touchdown put the game virtually out of reach, with a 37-9 lead going into the end of the third quarter.
UTEP was able to get a pair of touchdowns during garbage time, including a 42-yard touchdown catch by Smith and a seven yard receiving score by Justin Garrett. The Miners ultimately fell 44-23.
The Miners finished with 376 yards of total offense, including 129 yards of rushing and 247 passing yards. Hardison completed 13-of-30 passes for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wideout Jacob Cowing led UTEP with 112 receiving yards, and Smith totaled 91 receiving yards. Cowing has 11 100-yard receiving games in his UTEP career, which is two shy of tying the program record set by Chuck Hughes in 1966.
Up next: UTEP will travel to face North Texas (3-6) next Saturday in Denton, with a 2 p.m. MT kickoff.