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Miners set for the Golden Hurricane

UTEP takes 1-5 record on the road to face C-USA leader Tulsa

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05

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Justin Stene / The Prospector

Junior back up quarterback Carson Meger will continue to play a role against Tulsa in the offensive game plan according to head coach Mike Price.

   After being shutout by SMU, the Miners will try to turn things around when they face the current West division leaders in Conference USA, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Oct. 11 on the road.

“There are a lot of things not working real well on offense. It’s a take-your-pick situation,” UTEP head coach Mike Price said. “We’re trying to correct as much as we can as fast as we can, and we’ll continue to do that. We’re going to stay the course with the people we have.”

With the loss to SMU, the Miners fell to a 1-5 record, which also marks the worst start under Price.

Tulsa leads the series with a 12-8 record, while the Miners hold a mark of 6-23 on the road in C-USA, losing their last three trips to Tulsa, Okla.

Despite falling to Iowa State, the Golden Hurricane have won five straight since, including three conference games.

Both teams will be operating on five-days rest as they will be playing a Thursday night game as opposed to the customary Saturday slate.

“It is nice. I like it. You don’t have to wait around until Saturday to play another game,” Tulsa junior running back Trey Watts said. “I’m ready to play right now, and I think our team is ready to play. We came out today (Oct. 8) and had a great morning practice as we were focused and ready to go.”

Price said Tulsa’s junior quarterback Cody Green will be a challenge for the Miners. Green has led the Golden Hurricane to an average of 42.5 points per game for 11th best in the country.

“They’re really good,” Price said. “Their quarterback is a transfer from Nebraska. He won four games as a starter at Nebraska, and has won five games as a starter at Tulsa. He is a really good player.”

Green started his career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2009 and after the 2010 season he transferred to Tulsa, but due to the NCAA rules he had to sit out for a year. So far, Green has completed 94 of 183 attempts for a total of 1,131 yards and 10 touchdown passes.

Aside from Green, the Miners will face a pair of junior running backs in Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas, who have combined for 879 yards and six touchdowns thus far.

Watts said the biggest challenge for the Golden Hurricane will be the Miners’ defense.

“They are tough, they are physical and they are fast. I think they fly around to the ball. The linebackers have a lot of speed and they can move side to side very well. We just have to be ready for them to come out with their A-game,” Watts said. “Everyone wants to win a conference championship. Coming on the road is going to be tough. To play anybody on the road in the league is tough, they know that and we know that. We have to come ready for the challenge.”

After back-to-back bad performances by UTEP senior quarterback Nick Lamaison, where he accounted for six turnovers, questions were asked on whether backup, junior Carson Meger would replace him in the upcoming game. Price didn’t name Meger the starter, but said changes will be made.

“We’ll save it until Thursday night when we unleash our new plan against Tulsa. It’s going to stay similar but we have some changes that we’re going to make,”  Price said. “I thought Meger played one of his better games this year (against SMU). He is earning his way and closing the gap between the two quarterbacks. I think this is a time when you don’t throw Nick (Lamaison) under the bus, you support him, support the offense, stick together and encourage him.”

Edwin Delgado may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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