MINERS
Game 4: Miners to Play Final Non-Conference Opponent at Wisconsin

The Miners will face a Big 10 opponent for just the second time in school history.


The Miners will face a Big 10 opponent for just the second time in school history.

Sept. 17, 2012

Game 4: UTEP Notebook vs. Wisconsin

Wisconsin Notebook vs. UTEP

 

THE BASIC FACTS

-    UTEP wraps up the non-conference portion of its 2012 schedule at Big Ten power Wisconsin.

-    It marks the first meeting between the Miners and the Badgers.

-    UTEP is facing a Big Ten team for the second time.  The Miners dropped a 69-7 decision at 15th-ranked Iowa on Sept. 27, 1986.


 

 

-    The Miners are making their first visit to the state of Wisconsin.

-    Capacity in Camp Randall Stadium is 80,321.  UTEP has played before crowds of 80,000 or more just four times historically, and crowds of 70,000 or more eight times.  UTEP is 0-8 in those games.

-    The other instances where UTEP played before 80,000+ fans were at Tennessee in 1986 (26-16 loss),

     at no. 7 Tennessee in 1990 (56-0 loss), at no. 10 LSU in 1997 (55-3 loss) and at no. 2 Texas in 2009 (64-7 loss).

-    The 10 a.m. mountain start time is believed to be the earliest in school history.  The Miners have kicked off at 11 a.m. mountain numerous times, most recently at East Carolina on Nov. 28, 2008.

-    UTEP is 8-20 in day games under coach Mike Price, including 6-16 on the road.  The Miners are 3-15 in day games away from El Paso since 2006.

-    The Miners are 0-16 all-time in road games versus BCS conference teams (lost 35-3 at Texas Tech in 1998, lost 47-28 at Oregon in 1999, lost 40-7 at Kansas State in 1999, lost 34-21 at Arizona in 1999, lost 55-14 at Oklahoma in 2000, lost 45-17 at Texas A&M in 2000, lost 56-7 at Alabama in 2001, lost 77-17 at Kentucky in 2002, lost 68-0 at Oklahoma in 2002, lost 42-7 at Arizona in 2003, lost 41-9 at Arizona State in 2004, lost 45-31 at Texas Tech in 2007, lost 64-7 at Texas in 2009, lost 58-21 at Arkansas in 2010, lost 52-24 at USF in 2011, lost 28-10 at Ole Miss in 2012).

-    UTEP is 18-18 in non-conference games under Mike Price (includes three bowls) and 6-10 in road non-conference games.

-    UTEP begins a stretch of three road games in four weeks.  The Miners will play at East Carolina on Sept. 29 and Tulsa on Oct. 11.

-    The Miners will travel a total of 5,810 miles (round trip) the next two weeks to face Wisconsin and East Carolina.

 

HOW THEY GOT HERE

-    UTEP scored touchdowns on its first four possessions en route to a 41-28 win over I-10 rival NM State last Saturday in the Sun Bowl.

-    The Miners took a 27-0 lead early in the second quarter on a three-yard scoring run by Josh Bell.

-    UTEP put together its best all-around offensive performance of the season with 310 yards through the air and 177 on the ground.

-    QB Nick Lamaison recorded his second 300-yard passing game as a Miner, completing 21-of-32 attempts for 300 yards.

-    Lamaison's top target was WR Jordan Leslie who tallied seven catches for a career-high 147 yards.

-    UTEP tight ends were also a focal point of the offense with a combined four catches for 26 yards and two TDs.

-    The Miners rushed for 100 yards as a team for the second time this season as freshman Autrey Golden rambled for a personal best 69 yards on 12 carries.

-    The UTEP defense totaled seven tackles for losses and three sacks for 27 yards.

-    Wisconsin improved to 2-1 on the young season with a 16-14 win over Utah State in Madison last Saturday.

-    The Badgers held on after the Aggies' Josh Thompson missed a 37-yard field goal in the final seconds.

-    Trailing 14-3 at the half, Wisconsin outscored Utah State 13-0 over the final 30 minutes.

-    It was Wisconsin's 25th consecutive non-conference home win and 18th straight victory at Camp Randall Stadium.

-    The Badgers scored their two touchdowns on an 82-yard punt return by Kenzel Doe and a 17-yard run by Montee Ball.

-    Ball ran for 139 yards on 37 carries in notching his 18th career 100-yard game.

-    Ball has scored 63 career touchdowns, including 57 of the rushing variety.  He has 3,630 rushing yards in his career.

-    Utah State finished with 308 yards of offense to Wisconsin's 234.

-    Wisconsin allowed Utah State to convert just 6-of-19 third down attempts.  Through three games the Badgers have limited foes to a 29.8 percent (14-for-47) success rate on third down.

-    Senior LB Mike Taylor led the Wisconsin defense with 13 tackles last week.

 

Connections

-    UTEP sophomore OL Mike Amdall and Wisconsin junior LB Josh Peprah both played their prep ball at Plano East High School in Plano, Texas.

-    UTEP senior DB Drew Thomas and Wisconsin junior LB Ethan Armstrong were teammates at Ottawa Township High School in Chicago.

-    Wisconsin has a total of four Texas players on its 2012 roster -- senior DB Marcus Cromartie (Mansfield), senior DB Shelton Johnson (Carrollton), junior LB Josh Peprah (McKinney) and senior DB Devin Smith (Coppell).  UTEP has no Wisconsin players.

-    Wisconsin interim offensive line coach Bart Miller started at right guard for the New Mexico Lobos

     in their 2007 season opener at UTEP.  The Miners won the game 10-6.

 

UTEP vs. NM STATE NOTABLES

-    The Miners rushed for 105 yards in the first quarter, their second 100-yard quarter of the season.  They ran for 108 yards in the third quarter versus Oklahoma on Sept. 1.

-    The Miners scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, marking the first time they have done that in a period since the second quarter versus Rice in 2010 in the Sun Bowl.

-    The Miners scored touchdowns on four straight possessions for the first time since Oct. 3, 2009 versus Houston (five straight possessions).  UTEP scored TDs on its first four possessions of a game for the third time under coach Mike Price.  The other such occurrences came at Rice on Oct. 29, 2005, and versus Texas Southern on Nov. 12, 2005.

-    The 27 first-half points were the most for UTEP in a half since scoring 31 in the first half at Tulane on Oct. 15, 2011.

-    UTEP scored 40 points for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 at Tulane (44 points), and for a school-record 24th time under coach Mike Price.

-    UTEP's 487 yards of offense marked its top single-game total since Sept. 29, 2011 against Houston (538).

-    The 10 pass break-ups were the second-most for the Miners under Mike Price and the most since Oct. 14, 2005 versus Tulane (12).

-    With 46 wins at UTEP, Mike Price has tied Mike Brumbelow for the second-top total in school history.  Mack Saxon ranks first with 66 victories.

-    UTEP has posted four straight wins over NM State for the first time since a run of six victories in a row from 1986-91.

-    The Miners lead the series 53-35-2, including 36-16-1 in El Paso.  UTEP has won 19 of the last 28 matchups in El Paso.  The Miners are 7-2 against NMSU under coach Mike Price.

 

IN THE RANKINGS

-    Through the games of Sept. 15, UTEP held national top-50 statistical rankings in net punting (18th, 40.6 avg.), turnover margin (tied for 24th, 1.00), punt returns (33rd, 13.8 avg.) and sacks (tied for 42nd, 2.3 avg.).

-    Individually, Ian Campbell was 24th in punting (43.9 avg.), Michael Edwards was 38th in punt returns (9.9 avg.) and Richard Spencer was tied for 39th in tackles (9.7 avg.).

-    UTEP is tied for first in Conference USA in turnover margin.  The Miners are tied for third in the league in sacks (seven).

-    Richard Spencer is tied for first in C-USA in fumble recoveries (two), Michael Edwards is second in punt returns, and Ian Campbell is fifth in punting.

-    Wisconsin ranks 17th nationally in rushing defense (82.0 ypg), 18th in punt returns (18.0 avg.), and 27th in scoring defense (15.0 ppg).

 

Captains

-    UTEP's 2012 captains are OL Eloy Atkinson (offense), DB DeShawn Grayson (defense) and DB Adrian James (special teams).

 

Mike Price

-    Mike Price is in his ninth year as UTEP's head coach (46-54 record) and 31st year as a collegiate head coach (175-176 mark).

-    Price is tied with Mike Brumbelow for the second-most wins by a UTEP coach with 46.  Mack Saxon ranks first with 66 victories.

-    Price and Mike Brumbelow are the only coaches in school history to lead the Miners to three bowl games.

-    Price is the sixth-winningest active head coach in the FBS behind Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer (253 victories), Texas' Mack Brown (230), Nevada's Chris Ault (227), South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (200) and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly (190).

-    Price is coaching in his 101st game at UTEP on Saturday.  Only Mack Saxon (118) has coached more games with the Miners.

-    Price and Saxon (13 seasons) are the only men to coach the Miners for more than seven seasons.

 

Coaching Changes

-    New to the UTEP staff in 2012 are offensive line coach Brian Natkin, tight ends coach Chad Raymond and safeties coach Tom Williams.

-    Natkin played for the Miners from 1997-2000 and became UTEP's only unanimous All-American in 2000.  He led all tight ends nationally with 64 catches for 787 yards that year.

-    Raymond was also a member of Mike Price's staff as a program coordinator from 2008-10.

-    Williams was the head coach at Yale from 2009-11 and was also a defensive assistant with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-08.

 

The Roster

-    UTEP's 101-man roster includes 21 seniors, 17 juniors, 22 sophomores and 41 freshmen (10 redshirts/31 true freshmen).

-    UTEP has 43 returning lettermen (20 offense/20 defense/three special teams).

-    Center Eloy Atkinson leads all offensive players with 20 career starts.

-    The bulk of UTEP's offensive starting experience is in the line with Atkinson, LT Brander Craighead (15 starts), LG Jerel Watkins (14) and RT James Nelson (11).

-    On defense, UTEP has two players with 20+ career starts in FS DeShawn Grayson (29) and 3 Tech Germard Reed (23).

-    UTEP averages 6-4, 302 pounds across the starting offensive line and 6-2, 268 pounds across the starting defensive line.

 

OFFENSE

NOTABLES

-    UTEP scored its first rushing touchdown of the season in the first quarter versus NM State on a one-yard run by Josh Bell.  The last time the Miners scored their first rushing TD in the third game of the season or later was in 2003 when they did so in the fourth game at Louisville.  It was also Bell's first career touchdown.

-    Bell is the first UTEP player to register multiple rushing touchdowns in a game since Leilyon Myers versus Tulsa on Nov. 19, 2011.

-    UTEP's offense showed progress in the red zone against the Aggies, scoring four times for 27 points in five trips. The Miners produced just three points in their first four red zone trips of the 2012 campaign.

-    Sophomore TE Katrae Ford, sophomore WR Jim Jones and freshman RB Laquintus Dowell each registered their first career receptions against the Aggies.

 

LOOKING GOOD LESLIE

-    Sophomore Jordan Leslie is the first UTEP receiver to record touchdown catches in consecutive games since Kris Adams did so against Tulane and Marshall in 2010 (tight end Craig Wenrick had touchdown receptions in back-to-back games versus Houston and Tulane last season).  Leslie has scored a touchdown in three of his last four games dating back to last season.

-    Leslie posted a career-high 147 yards receiving versus NMSU.  His previous high was 119 yards versus Tulsa on Nov. 19, 2011.

-    Six of Leslie's receptions this season have been good for first downs. Four catches were over 20 yards and two were over 30.

-    Leslie has compiled 233 receiving yards in 2012, averaging a team-best 16.6 yards per catch and 77.7 yards per contest. He compiled 430 yards in 12 contests during his freshman campaign.

-    The TD catch by Jordan Leslie against the Aggies was his first in the Sun Bowl. His previous three all came in road games (Ole Miss, 2012;  Rice and UCF, 2011).

 

FRESHMEN GAIN GROUND

-    After starting the season with one carry for three yards against Oklahoma, freshman RB Autrey Golden has run for 52 and 69 yards respectively in the last two games versus Ole Miss and NM State.  Those totals rate fifth and third among freshmen running backs under Mike Price.

-    Golden is the fourth freshman to lead UTEP in rushing in a game during the Mike Price era.  The others were Donald Buckram at Marshall in 2006 (33 yards), Vernon Frazier versus UCF in 2008 (73 yards) and Nathan Jeffery at USF in 2011 (39 yards).

-    Freshman RB Laquintus Dowell ran five times for 36 yards against NM State. It marks the 11th-best effort by a freshman in the Mike Price era.

 

Lamaison's Game

-    Nick Lamaison set a UTEP high with four touchdown passes against NM State (previous high three on three occasions last season).

 -   Lamaison recorded the second 300-yard passing game of his career versus the Aggies (first was 365 yards versus Stony Brook on Sept. 3, 2011).

-    Lamaison registered five passes longer than 30 yards against NMSU, including a 36-yard scoring toss to Mike Edwards in UTEP's final TD drive.

-    Lamaison orchestrated four scoring drives covering over 60 yards.

-    The 21 pass completions by Nick Lamaison versus NMSU tied the second-top total of his career for the third time.  He completed 24 passes against Stony Brook last year and 21 versus Ole Miss last week and Southern Miss a year ago.

-    The Miners are now 2-3 when Lamaison throws for 200 yards or more.

 

EDWARDS-LAMAISON COMBINATION REVIVED

-    After failing to register a reception against Oklahoma for the first time in his career, senior WR Mike Edwards had a career-best nine catches against Ole Miss and followed with a five reception, 86-yard contest against NM State.

-    Edwards' 36-yard touchdown reception was the longest pass of the night for senior QB Nick  Lamaison. The pair also connected two other times for first downs.

-    Edwards' 88 yards receiving against Ole Miss marked his second-best career effort. He registered 187 yards at Rice last season.

 

The TIGHT ENDS

-    Kevin Perry registered the second touchdown reception of his career in the first quarter, and the first by a UTEP tight end in nine games, against NM State.  The last Miner TE to reach the end zone was Craig Wenrick at Tulane last season.

-    Craig Wenrick added a touchdown catch in the third quarter versus NMSU, giving the Miners multiple tight ends with touchdown receptions in a game for the first time since Oct. 18, 2008 at Tulsa (Elijah Goldtrap & Jamar Hunt one each).

 

DEFENSE

NOTABLES

-    In Richard Spencer & A.J. Ropati, UTEP had two players with 11 or more tackles in a game against NMSU for the first time since Oct. 3, 2009 versus Houston when DeShawn Grayson (14), Melvin Stephenson (14) and Clarence Ward (12) were all credited with 12 or more stops.

-    After failing to come up with an interception in the first two games of the year, UTEP picked off a pass in the first series against NM State. The Miner defense hadn't been interception-less through two contests since 1985 when they failed to record an INT during the first three tilts.

-    UTEP has been swarming to the ball, with 10 different players contributing at least 10 tackles on the year. Four have 20 or more, in the form of Richard Spencer (29), Josh Fely (26), DeShawn Grayson (24) and A.J. Ropati (20).

-    NM State didn't fumble in the Miners' win, but UTEP has been very good at forcing fumbles in 2012. The seven fumbles by the opposition are the most through three games since 2004 (eight), while tying for the third-highest sum since 1991. Foes fumbled 10 times in 1998 and seven times in both 1991 & 1997.  

-    UTEP has been getting to the quarterback often in 2012. The Miners posted three sacks versus NM State to increase their seasonal sum to seven. The effort ties for the fourth most to this juncture by a UTEP team during the Mike Price era. The Orange and Blue had 15 sacks through three tilts in 2005 while registering nine in both 2004 and 2011.

-    Including the 10 pass breakups against NM State, the Miners have now been credited with 17 on the season. That is the second-highest sum through three games during the Mike Price era, only trailing the effort of the 2005 squad (22).

 

HOLDING OPPONENTS DOWN

-    UTEP is vying to keep four straight opponents under 30 points for the first time since a five-game stretch early in 2010 and for the fourth time overall under Mike Price. The Miners peeled off seven straight such contests in 2004 while stringing together four in a row in 2004.

-    Preventing the first four foes of the season from reaching 30 points has been even rarer for UTEP. The 1996 team (four) was the last to do so. The only other years it happened since 1965 were in 1991 (six), 1971 (four) and 1965 (four).

-    For the second straight year, UTEP has held the opposition to below 30 points through the first three tilts of the season. It marks the first time since the 1950s that the Miners have accomplished the feat. The Orange and Blue strung together four consecutive contests to open four straight seasons (1955-58) during that defense-dominated era.

-    UTEP has proven to have a quality game plan early on. Opponents have been held to 14 points in the opening period while managing just 200 yards. The Miners are also making good adjustments at the half. Foes have totaled 10 points and 353 yards in the third quarter.

-    Opponents have put points on the board in just 12 of their 39 drives on the year. They have gained 35 yards or fewer in 23 of the drives, with almost half (10) failing to amount for more than 10 yards.

-    Only twice have the Miners yielded points on consecutive drives. Ole Miss and NM State both had TDs on back-to-back possessions.     

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

CAMPBELL RETURNS AS SPECIAL TEAMS STANDOUT

-    Punter Ian Campbell was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award last year.

-    Campbell punted five times for 209 yards against NM State. In 2012, he has punted 20 times for 877 yards to average 43.8 yards per punt.

-    Campbell punted seven times for 301 yards at Ole Miss, including four that landed inside the Rebel 20-yard line. It marked the first time since 2006 (Ryan Hotchkiss versus SMU) and the second time under Mike Price that a punter landed four punts inside the 20.

-    Campbell's long punt of 67 yards against Oklahoma tied for his third-best career effort. Campbell's long was a 72-yard boot versus Rice in 2010. The California native has already had four punts over 50 yards in 2012. He recorded 18 in 2011 and 17 in 2010.

 

VALADEZ HAS A CAREER NIGHT

-    Sophomore Steven Valadez made five PATs against NM State a week after connecting on his first career PAT against Ole Miss.

-    Valadez kicked off seven times for 439 yards versus the Aggies, including six touchbacks.

-    Valadez made his second career field goal attempt, giving the San Antonio native of the Miners' 10 points against Ole Miss.

 

NOTABLES IN THE RETURN AREAS

-    Senior WR Mike Edwards compiled 26 yards in kickoff returns against NM State. He registered three kickoff returns for a career-best 52 yards at Ole Miss. In 2012, he has registered 91 yards on five kickoff returns.

-    Edwards also has seven punt returns for a total of 69 yards.

-    Six different players have fielded a kickoff return in 2012, equaling the total for the entire 2011 season.

-    RB Autrey Golden registered his first career kickoff return for 46 yards in the Miners' win against NM State. The true freshman compiled 115 all-purpose yards in the contest.

 

2011 Rewind

-    UTEP finished 5-7 overall and 2-6 in Conference USA, fifth place in the league's Western Division.

-    The Miners were playing for bowl eligibility in each of their last two games but lost at home to Tulsa (57-28) and on the road to UCF (31-14).

-    UTEP was 3-3 at home and 2-4 on the road.

-    UTEP ranked fourth in the country in kickoff returns (26.4 avg.) and sixth in net punting (40.5 avg.).

-    The Miners averaged 154.9 yards rushing per game, their high water mark of the Mike Price era.

-    UTEP tied for fourth nationally in offensive plays of 70+ yards (four), tied for sixth in plays of 60+ yards (seven) and tied for 17th in plays of 50+ yards (nine).

-    UTEP returns players who accounted for 13.8 percent (258-of-1,866) of the team's rushing yards last season, 88.2 percent (2,387-of-2,707) of the passing yards and 60.2 percent (1,630-of-2,707) of the receiving yards.

-    On defense, UTEP returns 60.7 percent (516-of-850) of its tackle production from 2011, 87 percent (20-of-23) of its sacks, 65.8 percent (39.5-of-60) of its tackles for losses, 61 percent (25-of-41) of its pass break-ups and 50 percent (6-of-12) of its interceptions.       

-                 UTEP returns its regular punter (Ian Campbell), field goal kicker (Dakota Warren) and kickoff man (Steven Valadez), as well as players who accounted for 30.3 percent (391-of-1,291) of the kickoff return yards and 37.3 percent (82-of-220) of the punt return yards.