The UTEP Miners fell to the Rice Owls Saturday night in the Sun Bowl. The Miners once again had a slow start, something that has become the unfortunate trademark of UTEP’s team under head coach, Sean Kugler. Perhaps it wasn’t that the Miners lost, it was once again how they lost.
Sean Kugler’s vaunted Offensive line was dominated, pushing forward for a whopping 26 yards on 24 attempts (1.1 avg). Yes the “strength” of UTEP didn’t show up. The Rice Owls averaged 6.6 yards a carry for a total of 306 yards possessing the ball a total of 34:22. That huge disparity in yards and time of possession, helped the Owls almost double up the Miners in yards and more than double them on the scoreboard.
One bright spot for UTEP was the play of Ryan Metz, who accounted for two touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air. Metz completed 18-33 for 203 yards. The Miners ran the ball 6 times for negative 25 yards. That is hard to believe given the way the Miners offensive line was considered the best in C-USA and one of the best in the country!
Rice thoroughly handled every aspect of the game, amassing 437 yards running through the weaker UTEP defense. This is a trend UTEP fans have come a custom to. Compounding matters even more is the video on Facebook of Coach Kugler berating a reporter. Here’s a good plan for you, coach. Win. Instead of yelling and trying to belittle someone for doing their job, do yours and win. There are no more excuses. No more “If I had a full recruiting period we would win”. Firstly, thats a weak excuse, you took the job knowing the personnel. You want people to do their jobs on the field, maybe you should do yours on the sideline. Earn your paycheck. Because if your players had grades similar to your win percentage they wouldn’t be allowed to play.
I am an optimist, I believe UTEP can get it right, but the fact we are in year 5, and haven’t even been competitive past the coin toss, is alarming. Week 4 will be the defining week of this UTEP season. No one expects you to beat Arizona, I would expect some sign of life, but I’m not holding my breath. But Week 4 @ NMSU, the Battle of I-10, UTEP needs to show something to the fans. If UTEP loses that game, the countdown and search for a new coaching regime rightfully will and should start.
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