Miners Complete Second Scrimmage, Camp Alpine
Aug. 15, 2014
ALPINE, Texas - The offense showed improvement from last Saturday's scrimmage, scoring four touchdowns, while the defense found pay dirt again in UTEP's second scrimmage of the season on Friday morning at Jackson Field.
"I thought it was a hard hitting, physical scrimmage and we'll reward those guys tomorrow," UTEP football head coach Sean Kugler said. "We'll come out and have a short practice and get their legs back under them and reward them for them for a good camp. These guys came up here with the right mentality. We got better as a team. We got better as individuals and I really liked how the team worked this training camp."
UTEP running backs accounted for two touchdowns, both on long drives. Nathan Jeffery rushed for a one-yard score on an eight-play, 75-yard drive with sophomore Garrett Simpson under center, and freshman David Hamm punched his way into the end zone on a six-yard run after an 11-play, 75-yard drive with Mack Leftwich at the helm.
"(David) Hamm had some physical runs. I thought the offense line came out and played physical today," Kugler said.
Simpson completed an 18-yard strike to Jarrad Shaw in the end zone, and Leftwich threw a 20-yard touchdown to Ian Hamilton. Hamilton had two receptions for 55 yards, including a 35-yard grab from Jameill Showers down the right sideline at the beginning of the scrimmage. Shaw hauled in two passes for 32 yards.
"The offense definitely made a lot more plays than we made the first scrimmage," Hamilton said. "We came out with a different mentality. We attacked more, took some early shots and just kept pounding the rock like we do. The feeling now is the feeling we want to take back to El Paso and into the season. We want to build off of this and keep it moving."
UTEP quarterbacks - Showers, Leftwich, Simpson and Ryan Metz - combined to complete 16-of-27 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Leftwich was 6-for-7 and a team-leading 50 yards; Showers completed two passes for 47 yards. The Miners also rushed for 135 yards on 32 attempts and two scores. Hamm led the way with 53 yards, while Autrey Golden accounted for the longest run of the day - a 28-yard scamper. Josh Bell added a 21-yard sprint.
The defense notched another touchdown after tallying two during the Aug. 9 scrimmage. Robert Spencer put a big hit on Noah Siegrist, forcing a fumble at the 25-yard line. Dewan Edmonson scooped the ball and rumbled 75 yards to the end zone. Spencer recorded three tackles.
"I liked the way the defense responded," Kugler said. "I thought they started off slow but then they forced three turnovers in the red zone, which will definitely flip the momentum of a game. I thought the quarterbacks managed the game well and overall I thought there were some outstanding individual performances out there today."
Jameel Erving led the defense with four stops and recovered a fumble, while Dashone Smith tallied three tackles and a quarterback hurry. Nick Usher and Gino Bresolin accounted for a sack, while Vince Czerniewski, Silas Firstly and Trey Brown each had three stops, while Brown also tallied a quarterback hurry.
"Forcing turnovers is going to be very important to our defense," Erving said. "We know that the turnover battle is an easy way to have a sudden change situation in the game. We still have a lot to learn but are effort is there. We are flying around being physical and you can never go wrong with that."
The Miners head back to El Paso after an 11-day camp, and will take on New Mexico in Albuquerque on Aug. 30 (6 p.m. MT kickoff) to open the 2014 season.
"Both defense and offense made big plays and that's exactly what we need for the season," Smith said. "It's not just one side making all the plays."