Poor start has Miners playing catch up at midseason
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05
After a 1-5 start to the season, the Miners will play their final six games of the season against Conference USA opponents and a league that’s combined for a 21-44 record at midseason.
In their non-conference schedule UTEP played against Oklahoma, Ole Miss, NM State and Wisconsin. The Miners dropped their first two conference games to the East Carolina Pirates and SMU Mustangs.
“We’ve been in four different cities in 20 days,” head coach Mike Price said. “It’s just a very unique schedule. If we were winning, it would be lots of fun.”
One of the biggest concerns for the Miners is the lack of effectiveness of the offense, which has only produced 10 points in the last two games.
“We haven’t been able to finish and execute offensively,” sophomore running back Nathan Jeffery said. “We need to forget about the first half and focus on what is coming next and try to win as many games we can.”
Senior quarterback Nick Lamaison, who hadn’t thrown any interceptions through the first four games of the season, was intercepted three times in the fourth quarter against East Carolina and twice more against SMU.
Against the Sooners, Mustangs and Pirates the passing game just wasn’t able to aid their defense who kept the games close.
In the game against Ole Miss and Wisconsin the defense gave away many big plays allowing the Rebels’ Bo Wallace and John Stave of Wisconsin to cash in on their opportunities.
Even on their win against NM State, the Miners were outscored 28-13 after the first 22 minutes of the game.
At the start of the 2012 season the team had optimistic goals. Some of the players were aiming for a conference championship, but now the team will need to win at least five of their last six games just to become bowl eligible. “We need to play our best to help the team win games,” senior cornerback Drew Thomas said. “We need to work together to get better the remaining games.”
The second half of the season will kick off on the road when the Miners take on the 5-1 Golden Hurricane Oct. 11 in Tulsa, Okla.
Price, in his ninth season with the Miners, will have his contract reevaluated at the end of the season by director of UTEP athletics, Bob Stull. Price has led the Miners to three bowl appearances while compiling a 46-57 record, which ranks third in wins all-time in program history.
“The goal for the rest of the year is to win this game, take it one game at a time and stay healthy, stay fresh, so that we can give our all each game and each play,” Price said. “We haven’t lost hope and we’re staying disciplined, doing everything by the book.”
Edwin Delgado may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.