Miners gamble and lose to the Sooners
Missed field goals, failed fake punt doom UTEP
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The UTEP Miners shot themselves in the foot and missed the opportunity to upset the fourth ranked team in the country, the Oklahoma Sooners, in front of 40,137 fans Sept.1 at the Sun Bowl.
Senior kicker Dakota Warren missed two field goals from 45 and 31 yards, while sophomore Steven Valadez missed a 41-yarder in the fourth quarter. That took away nine potential points from the Miners.
The play that changed the course of the game came in the fourth quarter with the score in favor of the Sooners 10-7, as the Miners attempted and failed a fake punt on 4th and 7.
“That was my fault, I probably shouldn’t have called it,” UTEP head coach Mike Price said about the fake punt. “Two guys went down and didn’t know it, we intended to go to Jeffery.”
The miscue gave Oklahoma the ball at the UTEP 41, which allowed them to increase their lead to 17-7 as Oklahoma senior quarterback Landry Jones tossed his second touchdown of the night to tight end Brannon Green.
The Sooners would eventually score a third time with the game winding down for the 24-7 victory.
Both teams struggled all night to convert third down attempts, combining for eight of 32.
“We just weren’t in-sync, it was just one of those deals where we had flashes of greatness, but it wouldn’t be all as a team,” Jones said. “Praise God for the win, we came out with the ‘W’ and that’s what we’re shooting for.”
Price’s wish of Jeffery carrying the ball 20 times per game proved to work against the Sooners.
Jeffery finished the game with 21 carries for 177 yards including a 71-yard run in the third quarter that resulted in the 41-yard missed field goal by Valadez.
The Miners struck first when senior safety Richard Spencer blocked an Oklahoma punt, allowing Jeffery to recover and score UTEP’s lone touchdown of the game with nine minutes left in the first quarter.
Stoops felt that the Sooners left scoring opportunities on the field, but didn’t shy away from giving credit to the Miners’ effort.
“A little bit rough, but compliment UTEP for playing a well played game. Obviously we had some inconsistencies, but still I feel positive with my team to win anytime.” Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said. ““In the first half, maybe even the middle of the third quarter, I don’t know if we even had a third-and-short they were all third-and-long. We didn’t execute very well, we missed some protections were Landry (Jones) got pressured.”
Despite falling short of the upset, Price said the effort can be something that propels the team for the rest of the season, specifically praising the defense.
“We played our hearts out, and our defense was outstanding today,” Price said. “I’m very proud of this group, and we can really build on the character that the team showed tonight.”
The Sooners will head back to Norman to face Football Championship Subdivision’s Florida A&M, while the UTEP Miners will travel to Oxford, Miss. to take on another Bowl Championship Series school, the Ole Miss Rebels, before hosting NM State in the Battle of I-10, September 15, at the Sun Bowl.
The crowd left a good impression on Price, praising the El Paso community for the turnout.
“I’m very pleased with the atmosphere Saturday night was big time,” Price said. “The crowd was great. Our game was very exciting for our fans and our players to play.”
Edwin Delgado may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.