Sunday, September 14, 2014

Miners Ride Ground Game to Sixth Straight Win Over NM State

UTEP rushed for 344 yards, its most in a game versus a Division I opponent since 1991, in a 42-24 throttling of NM State on Saturday in the Sun Bowl.
The Miners (2-1) matched their 2013 victory total while beating the I-10 rival Aggies (2-1) for the sixth straight time - tying their second-longest winning streak in the series. UTEP beat NMSU seven consecutive times from 1927-33 and six straight from 1986-91.

After the Aggies took a 10-7 lead on a 28-yard field goal by Maxwell Johnson early in the second quarter, UTEP scored 35 of the next 42 points.

Darrin Laufasa accounted for two of the five touchdowns during that stretch, both in the second quarter. He reeled in a two-yard pass from Jameill Showers and later punched it in from the goal line.

UTEP was up 21-10 at the break and, following a scoreless third quarter by both teams, put the pedal to the metal over the final 15 minutes.

The Miners tallied 21 points in the final period, with Jameill Showers, Aaron Jones and reserve quarterback Garrett Simpson all rushing for short scores.

Jones (25 carries-168 yards-two TDs) recorded his third straight 100-yard rushing game to open the season. He is the first Miner to go over the century mark in three consecutive outings since Donald Buckram in 2009.

Nathan Jeffery chipped in with 79 yards on 12 carries, and Showers gained 41 yards on six attempts.

Despite throwing his first interception of the season, Showers had efficient numbers at 13-for-16 passing for 126 yards. The Miners have one turnover in three games.

Ian Hamilton (three catches-45 yards) was UTEP's top receiver, and Nick Usher was a standout on defense with nine tackles, including two for losses, and a forced fumble.

NM State got on the scoreboard first, driving 75 yards on eight plays and going ahead 7-0 on a 17-yard pass from Tyler Rogers to Joseph Matthews.

But after that, UTEP kept the Aggies out of the end zone until the final quarter.

Rogers was 22-for-40 passing for NMSU with 324 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, which the Miners both turned into touchdowns.

Teldrick Morgan had eight receptions for 202 yards and a TD for NM State.

The last time UTEP had more rushing yards against a Division I opponent was on Aug. 31, 1991 versus New Mexico (349). The Miners gained 470 yards, and NMSU collected 425.

UTEP is averaging 317 yards rushing through three games, with Jones leading the way at 184 per contest with seven touchdowns.

The Miners will enjoy the first of two bye weeks this season before hitting the road to face Kansas State on Sept. 27 in Manhattan. UTEP last played at Kansas State during the 1999 season and lost 40-7. The Miners are 1-1 all-time versus the Wildcats, including a 20-6 win at El Paso in 1947 and a 40-7 loss at Manhattan in 1999.

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