The Miners fought hard, as they have done all season long, but like the rest of the season, tonight's game agaisnt UCF at the Sun Bowl did not go the Miners way, falling 31-24 to the Golden Knights. UCF improves to 7-2, 6-0, while UTEP falls to 2-8, 1-5 in Conference USA.
UTEP's Nathan Jeffrey rushed for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 69-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter that tied the game at 24. UCF Sophomore QB Brian Bortles led the Knights on a drive, culminated in a 46-yard touchdown run from Latavius Murray to seal the Knights victory. Here are some more postgame notes from the game:
The Miners scored on their first possession for the third time this season, and for the third time in five home games. They also did so versus NM State (Sept. 15) and Tulane (Oct. 20).
- The blocked punt by Jordan Leslie in the second quarter was the second by a UTEP player this season. Richard Spencer blocked a punt by Oklahoma’s Tress Way in the season opener, which was returned by Nathan Jeffery for a touchdown. The Miners have registered multiple blocked punts in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1991-92; they also had two in 2011.
- The Miners added a blocked field goal by A.J. Ropati in the third period. UTEP has four blocked kicks this season (two punts/two field goals), its second-highest figure under coach Mike Price. UTEP posted five blocked kicks in 2004. The Miners’ four blocked kicks this season have come in two games (two each versus Oklahoma and UCF).
- UTEP has recovered a fumble in four straight games for the first time since 2009. That ties the second-longest streak of the Mike Price era; the Miners had a five-game streak in 2007 and a four-game streak in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
- In their five home games this season, the Miners have recorded a total of 12 sacks. In their five road games, they have totaled four sacks, including zero in each of the last three contests away from El Paso.
- UTEP is 0-7 when trailing at the half this season. Overall the Miners have lost 10 consecutive games when behind at the intermission since a 16-10 win at New Mexico State last season (UTEP trailed 7-6 at the midway point of that contest).
- Counting the four giveaways in tonight’s game, UTEP has now turned over the ball 21 times in its last six contests. In the first four games of the year, the Miners compiled a total of two turnovers. UTEP opponents have scored 75 points off turnovers this season, including 68 in the last seven outings.
- The 74 rushing yards by Blaire Sullivan tonight were the fourth-most by a quarterback under Mike Price. James Thomas II ran for 142 yards versus New Mexico State on Sept. 20, 2008. Lorne Sam rushed for 106 and 82 yards against SMU and Tulsa, respectively, in 2007.
- The two-yard scoring run by Sullivan in the fourth quarter marked the first rushing TD by a UTEP quarterback since Tate Smith against Tulsa on Nov. 19, 2011.
- The 11 pass attempts were the fewest by a UTEP team since Sept. 14, 1996 versus New Mexico State (nine), and the second-fewest by the Miners since 1983. The five completions were the fewest by the Miners since 1984 against Wyoming (five).
- The Miners rushed for 267 yards, their top game total since 2011 versus Colorado State (340).
- The 69-yard run by Nathan Jeffery in the fourth quarter was his second-longest of the season. He had a 71-yard run versus Oklahoma in the opener. It is the fifth-longest rushing play for the Miners under Mike Price, with all five coming in the last two seasons.
- Jeffery has four 100-yard rushing games this season, the most by a UTEP player since Donald Buckram had eight in 2009. He is the first Miner with consecutive 100-yard games since Buckram had five in a row late in the ‘09 campaign.
- Jeffery’s 175 yards rushing fell two yards shy of his career-high 177 against Oklahoma earlier this year.
- UTEP held UCF to a season-low 346 yards tonight.