Miners down NM State for first win of 2012
Fast start propels UTEP to 41-28 victory over the Aggies
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05
UTEP's impressive offensive display in the first half helped the Miners roll over rivals New Mexico State 41-28 in the 90th edition of the Battle of I-10, Sept. 15 at the Sun Bowl.
The Miners started early on as senior safety Richard Spencer intercepted Aggies sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley’s first pass of the game that led to a seven play 47-yard scoring drive. The drive was capped off by sophomore Josh Bell with a one-yard run to put the Miners ahead 6-0.
“Is always good to make plays on defense because it changes the tempo,” Spencer said. “Big plays get you going and allow you to make other big plays throughout the game.”
The Miners produced four unanswered touchdown drives, jumping to a 27-0 lead early on.
Aggies head coach DeWayne Walker was unhappy with his team's performance, who took a 27-7 deficit into the half.
“Right now we’re just not a very good football team for four quarters…we gotta get that fixed,” Walker said. “I think when we’re playing together, we’re not a bad little football team.”
NM State tried to rally back in the third quarter. A 47-yard pass from Manley to senior wide receiver Kemonte’ Bateman, placed the Aggies at the UTEP one-yard line.
Two plays later, junior running back Tiger Powell found the end zone to put them within 13 points.
UTEP then answered quickly, freshman running back Autrey Golden returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards to regain momentum.
On the next play, Lamaison connected with Leslie near the sideline for a 34-yard gain, however one of the officials signaled the pass was caught out of bounds.
The play went under review and overturned, placing the Miners in the red zone. Two plays later, Lamaison found junior tight end Craig Wenrick all alone to for a 17-yard touchdown pass to once again jump ahead with a score at 34-14.
“I told them it was in bounds but they didn’t believe me,” Leslie said. “Good thing it was reviewed and I’m glad I came down with it, it was a good play.”
The Miners jumped to a 41-14 lead early in the fourth quarter to put the game away. The Aggies managed to score two late touchdowns to cut the lead by 14, but it was too little too late.
Lamaison finished the night completing 21 of 32 attempts for 300 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.
Leslie was the biggest beneficiary of Lamaison's performance, catching seven balls for 147 yards and a score.
UTEP will now go on the road to wrap up their non-conference schedule and face perennial Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin on Sept. 22 at Madison.
“We are tough and we are physical team, we get up for every game and I was very pleased with the attitude and this game was very meaningful to the players,” Miners head coach Mike Price said. “We have confidence and faith going into Wisconsin. This win was a confidence builder for our players.”
Edwin Delgado may be reached at email@example.com.