Game 8: Miners Host Tulane in 81st Homecoming Game
Oct. 15, 2012
THE BASIC FACTS
The Last Meeting
October 15, 2011
New Orleans, La.
- UTEP will be home for three of its final five regular season games, starting on Saturday against Tulane (6 p.m. MT).
- It marks the Miners' 81st Homecoming game. UTEP is 37-42-1 all-time on Homecoming and riding a four-game winning streak.
- The Miners are 6-2 in Homecoming games under coach Mike Price.
- UTEP's average margin of victory on Homecoming in the Price era has been 18.8 points.
- Last year the Miners beat Colorado State on Homecoming, 31-17.
- Tulane has never served as UTEP's Homecoming opponent. The Miners have faced a C-USA team on Homecoming in seven of eight seasons since joining the league in 2005.
- UTEP has lost four consecutive games, tying its second-longest skid of the Price regime. The Miners dropped six straight contests to close out the 2007 season w
- UTEP seeks its first C-USA victory of the season. The Miners are 0-3 in league play for the first time since 1996, when they finished 0-8 in Western Athletic Conference action.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
- The Miners fell to 1-6 with a 33-11 setback at Tulsa on Oct. 11.
- Following a competitive opening 30 minutes, the Golden Hurricane outscored the Miners 27-8 in the second half.
- Ja'Terian Douglas rushed for 128 yards and Alex Singleton added 96 for a Tulsa team that piled up 281 yards on the ground.
- Cody Green completed 13-of-22 passes for 198 yards for the Golden Hurricane.
- The Miners threw for 376 yards but only managed 31 yards rushing on 33 carries.
- A 13-3 Tulsa lead swelled to 26-3 in a span of 1:15 late in the third quarter when Douglas rushed for an 81-yard TD, then Shawn Jackson recovered Carson Meger's fumble deep in UTEP territory and ran for a 17-yard score.
- Meger completed 16-of-23 passes for a career-high 257 yards for the Miners.
- Jordan Leslie reeled in 10 catches for a career-high 218 yards, making him only the sixth UTEP player to compile 200 receiving yards in a game.
- Tulane secured its first win under first-year head coach Curtis Johnson by upsetting SMU 27-26 on Saturday in New Orleans.
- The Green Wave burst out to a 20-6 halftime lead, then yielded 20 straight points to the Mustangs before putting together a game-winning, 68-yard touchdown drive in the final minute and a half.
- Ryan Griffin's 16-yard TD pass to Rob Kelley with 35 seconds left ended Tulane's 15-game losing streak dating back to last season.
- Kelley finished with four catches for 64 yards and two TDs.
- Griffin completed 17-of-32 passes for 302 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
- Darion Monroe was credited with 13 tackles for a Tulane defensive unit that teamed for five tackles for losses, three sacks and eight pass break-ups.
- Tulane won despite trailing the time of possession line 40:17 to 19:43. The Green Wave held the ball for only 2:26 in the second period but outscored SMU 10-3 in the frame.
UTEP VS. TULANE
- UTEP leads the series 4-3.
- All seven meetings have taken place as joint members of Conference USA since 2005.
- The Miners are 2-1 versus the Green Wave in the Sun Bowl with victories during the 2006 (34-20) and 2008
(24-21) seasons and a loss in 2010 (34-24).
- Tulane had won three of the previous four games played between the schools prior to UTEP thumping the Green Wave in New Orleans last season, 44-7.
THE LAST MEETING
- UTEP emphatically snapped a 12-game Conference USA road losing streak with a 44-7 rout of Tulane in New Orleans on Oct. 15, 2011.
- The Miners also posted their first victory in three trips to the Louisiana Superdome.
- After Tulane tied the game at 7 on a seven-yard TD run by Orleans Darkwa midway through the first quarter, UTEP tallied the contest's final 37 points.
- Nick Lamaison completed 6-of-15 passes for 117 yards for UTEP and received a major assist from
Craig Wenrick, who reached the end zone on a 66-yard catch early in the third quarter. It was the longest reception ever by a Miner tight end.
- The defense got into the scoring act early in the second quarter when Adrian James recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.
- Tulane quarterbacks Ryan Griffin and D.J. Ponder combined to throw four interceptions.
- The Green Wave converted just 6-of-17 third down attempts.
- Mike Price and Eric Price will be on opposing sidelines for the second time on Saturday. In 2010, Eric was the running backs coach at Memphis when the Tigers were dealt a 16-13 loss in El Paso.
- Tulane offensive line coach John McDonell was on Mike Price's staff at Weber State (1984-88) and Washington State (1989-2000).
- UTEP has one Louisiana native on its roster in junior TE Kevin Perry (Opelousas). Tulane has a total of 12 Texas products on the team.
- UTEP sophomore WR Jordan Leslie and Tulane sophomore TE Matt Marfisi were teammates at Tomball (Texas) High School.
UTEP vs. TULSA NOTABLES
- For just the second time in seven games, an opponent scored on its opening possession as Daniel Schwarz kicked a 31-yard field goal. Ole Miss scored a TD on its first drive on Sept. 8.
- The last time the UTEP defense kept its opponent out of the end zone in the first half of a game was versus Colorado State on Oct. 22, 2011. The last time the Miners achieved the feat in a road game was at UAB on Oct. 16, 2010.
- It was the lowest scoring first half (both teams) in a UTEP game since the Miners led UAB 3-0 at the intermission on Oct. 16, 2010 in Birmingham. Tulsa led UTEP 6-3 at the break.
- Before reaching the end zone in the fourth quarter, the Miners had gone 10 straight periods without scoring an offensive touchdown, their longest streak this millenium. The previous long was a nine-quarter streak over three games (Tulsa, Boise State & Nevada) in 2002.
- UTEP is averaging 16.1 points per game, its second-lowest figure since 1983. The Miners averaged 14.7 ppg in 1997.
- The Miners' average of 340.4 yards per game is their lowest since 2002 (332.8 ypg).
- UTEP lost its sixth straight game at Tulsa and fell to 8-13 all-time versus the Golden Hurricane.
- The Miners dropped to 2-6 in non-Saturday C-USA games, including five straight losses.
IN THE RANKINGS
- Through the games of Oct. 13, UTEP rated in the top-50 nationally in net punting (20th, 40.2 avg.) and punt returns (42nd, 10.4 avg.).
- Individually, Ian Campbell was 30th in punting (42.9 avg.), Autrey Golden was 36th in kickoff returns (25.5 avg.), Jordan Leslie was 37th in receiving yards per game (83.9), Horace Miller was tied for 39th in sacks (0.7 avg.) and Michael Edwards was 44th in punt returns (7.8 avg.) & 45th in receiving yards per game (77.3).
- Tulane's Cairo Santos is tied for 30th in the FBS in field goals (1.3 avg.), and Austen Jacks is tied for 47th in tackles for losses (1.3 avg.).
- UTEP is second in Conference USA in punt returns (10.4 avg.), third in punting (40.2 avg.), fourth in pass efficiency defense (127.0), and fifth in kickoff returns (22.2 avg.) & scoring defense (27.9 ppg).
- Tulane is fourth in C-USA in pass defense (224.5 ypg) and fifth in punting (37.5 avg.).
- In the C-USA individual statistics, Ian Campbell is third in punting (42.9 avg.), Michael Edwards is third in punt returns (7.8 avg.), fourth in all-purpose yards (117.8 avg.) & fifth in receiving yards (77.3 avg.), Jordan Leslie is third in receiving yards (83.9 avg.), Autrey Golden is fifth in kickoff returns (25.5 avg.), Horace Miller is fifth in sacks (5.0), Shane Huhn is tied for fifth in interceptions (0.3 avg.) and Drew Thomas is tied for fifth in fumble recoveries (0.3 avg.).
- Tulane's Cairo Santos is tied for fourth in C-USA in field goals (1.3 avg.) and Kenny Welcome is tied for fourth in forced fumbles (0.3 avg.).
CONFERENCE USA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
- Three Miners have been tabbed Conference USA Player of the Week. Sophomore RB Nathan Jeffery garnered offensive honors on Sept. 3 following his performance against Oklahoma, and senior QB Nick Lamaison earned the honor on Sept. 17 for his play against NM State. Freshman RB Autrey Golden was the special teams winner on Oct. 1 for his performance against East Carolina.
- Mike Price is in his ninth year as UTEP's head coach (46-58 record) and 31st year as a collegiate head coach (175-180 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 (255 victories), Nevada's Chris Ault (231), Texas' Mack Brown (231), South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (202) and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly (193).
- Price is coaching in his 105th 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.
- UTEP's 2012 captains are OL Eloy Atkinson (offense), DB DeShawn Grayson (defense) and DB Adrian James (special teams).
- 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.
- With Jordan Leslie (83.9 ypg) and Michael Edwards (77.3 ypg), UTEP has two receivers averaging 70+ yards per game for the first time since 2000, when Lee Mays (99.8 ypg) and Brian Natkin (71.5 ypg) both turned the trick. Natkin is currently the Miners' offensive line coach.
- Six UTEP players posted career-highs in receiving yards at Tulsa -- Leslie, Katrae Ford (18 yards), Ian Hamilton (23 yards), Ishmael Harrison (25 yards), Jim Jones (15 yards) and Felix Neboh (29 yards). Harrison recorded his first career catch.
- UTEP had 31 yards rushing against the Golden Hurricane, its lowest figure since Sept. 10, 2011 at SMU (30).
- The Miners (407 yards) eclipsed 400 yards of offense for the second time this season at Tulsa; the first time was versus NM State on Sept. 15 (487).
- The 376 passing yards at Tulsa were the most by a UTEP team since Nov. 28, 2009 against Marshall (517).
- The Miners have outscored their opponents 43-29 in the first quarter this season. UTEP has scored first in four of seven games.
LOOKING GOOD LESLIE
- Sophomore WR Jordan Leslie registered the two longest catches of his career at Tulsa. He had a 61-yard reception in the fourth quarter and a 50-yard catch in the third quarter. His previous long reception coming into the game was a 45-yarder against Tulsa on Nov. 19, 2011 in the Sun Bowl.
- Leslie posted his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and the third of his career versus the Golden Hurricane.
- With 218 yards at Tulsa, Leslie became the sixth UTEP player to post a 200-yard receiving game, joining Chuck Hughes (twice in 1965), Volley Murphy (at New Mexico in 1967), Bob Wallace (versus New Mexico State in 1967), Arnie Adkison (at Utah in 1987) and Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jr. (versus New Mexico State in 2006).
- The 218 receiving yards by Leslie rank sixth in school history.
- Leslie is the 12th player in the FBS to compile a 200-yard receiving game this year, joining West Virginia's Tavon Austin & Stedman Bailey, New Mexico State's Austin Franklin, Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton, Wyoming's Chris McNeill, Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton, Toledo's Bernard Reedy, Miami [Ohio]'s Dawan Scott, Marshall's Tommy Shuler, Ball State's Willie Snead and Baylor's Terrance Williams.
- Leslie's 218 yards versus Tulsa are the eighth-most by an FBS player in 2012.
- Eight of his 10 receptions against the Golden Hurricane were for first downs.
- Leslie has compiled 587 receiving yards in 2012, averaging 15.9 yards per catch and 83.9 yards per contest. He has 1,017 career receiving yards.
- Of Leslie's 37 receptions, 33 have gone for first downs and four have resulted in touchdowns. Eleven catches were more than 20 yards and seven were over 30.
- Leslie's touchdown at Tulsa was the sixth of his career. Five of his six career TD receptions have come in road games.
- Leslie became the first UTEP receiver to record touchdown catches in consecutive games since 2010 after scoring twice against NM State.
EDWARDS-LAMAISON COMBINATION REVIVED
- Senior WR Michael Edwards, a teammate of QB Nick Lamaison at Mt. SAC College before the pair reunited at UTEP, is averaging 77.3 yards per game in 2012. He leads the team in yards per catch (16.6) and ranks second in receptions (28) and reception yards (464).
- Edwards did not play at Tulsa after suffering a concussion against SMU.
- Edwards posted his second straight 100-yard receiving game and his third in a UTEP uniform at East Carolina (130 yards). He tallied 151 yards at Wisconsin the previous week.
- Edwards is the first UTEP receiver with consecutive 100-yard games since Kris Adams did so versus New Mexico and Rice in October of 2010.
- Edwards has five of UTEP's seven longest pass receptions this season -- 62 at Wisconsin, 40 at East Carolina, 39 at Wisconsin, 36 versus NM State and 35 at East Carolina.
- The 62-yard touchdown pass from Nick Lamaison to Edwards in the fourth quarter versus the Badgers marked the third time that the combination has hooked up for a score of 50 yards or more. The other such occurrences came last year at Rice (74 yards & 50 yards).
- Edwards scored a touchdown for the second straight week in the first quarter at Wisconsin off a 39-yard pass from Nick Lamaison. It marked the first time that Edwards reached the end zone in consecutive games since joining the Miners for the 2011 season.
- Edwards became the second Miner in 2012 to score a TD in consecutive games at Wisconsin. Jordan Leslie also reached paydirt in back-to-back contests (at Ole Miss and NM State). Kris Adams was the last UTEP wide receiver prior to this season to acomplish the feat. He did so against Tulane and Marshall in 2010.
ON THE RUN
- Sophomore Nathan Jeffery leads UTEP in rushing attempts (89) and rushing yards (410), while averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 68.3 yards per game.
- Nathan Jeffery picked up his second career 100-yard rushing game with 27 carries for 134 yards at East Carolina. Jeffery ran for 177 yards in the season opener versus Oklahoma.
A LOOK AT FRESHMAN RUNNING GAME IN 2012
- Freshman RB Autrey Golden ran for 69 and 52 yards respectively versus NM State and Ole Miss. Those totals rate third and sixth among freshmen running backs under Mike Price.
- Freshman RB Xay Williams rushed for a season-high 53 yards at Wisconsin. It marked the fifth-most rushing yards by a freshman in the Mike Price era (2004-present).
- Freshman RB LaQuintus Dowell ran five times for 36 yards against NM State. It marks the 12th-best effort by a freshman in the Mike Price era.
- The touchdown run by Xay Williams in the third quarter at Wisconsin was the first of his career. He became the first UTEP freshman to post a rushing score since Nathan Jeffery did so against Houston on Sept. 29, 2011.
THE TIGHT ENDS
- Sophomore Katrae Ford established career-highs for catches (two) and yardage (18) at Tulsa.
- Junior Kevin Perry registered the second touchdown reception of his career in the first quarter against New Mexico State, and the first by a UTEP tight end in nine games.
- Sophomore 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).
- UTEP tight ends recorded season-highs for catches (four) and yardage (26) against NM State.
THE PASSING GAME
- Junior QB Carson Meger's 61-yard completion to Jordan Leslie in the fourth quarter at Tulsa was a career long. His previous long was 45 yards against Tulsa on Nov. 19 of last year.
- Meger's 257 passing yards versus the Golden Hurricane bettered his previous career-high of 240 yards at USF on Sept. 24, 2011.
- Senior Nick Lamaison added 119 passing yards at Tulsa. The last time UTEP had one quarterback pass for 200+ yards and another throw for 100+ yards in the same game was against San Jose State on Nov. 8, 2003 (Orlando Cruz 237 yards, Jordan Palmer 112 yards).
- Nick Lamaison has connected on 99-of-196 passes for 1,204 yards with eight TDs and five interceptions. Meger is 32-for-54 passing for 391 yards with one TD and three picks.
- Lamaison threw his first interception of the season on his 146th pass attempt in the fourth quarter at East Carolina.
- In the first four games of the season, Lamaison had seven touchdown passes and no interceptions. In the last three games he has had one touchdown pass and five picks.
- After throwing for 200+ yards in three straight games (Ole Miss/NM State/Wisconsin), Lamaison has been held under 150 in the last three outings.
- The 22 pass completions by Nick Lamaison at Wisconsin marked the second-top total of his career. His career-best was 24 completions against Stony Brook last year.
- 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 NM State (first was 365 yards versus Stony Brook on Sept. 3, 2011).
- The Miners have kept five of seven teams to fewer than 30 points, and Wisconsin (37) is the only one to surpass 35. The last time UTEP didn't allow 40 points in a single game was in 1998.
- Since the start of Conference USA action, UTEP's defense has figured out how to play well in the fourth quarter. The Miners have yielded a total of 14 points in the period while keeping each of the three foes to below100 yards. UTEP conceded a sum of 49 points while allowing 138 yards on average in the final quarter of its four non-conference contests.
- Opponents have had 91 drives on the season, but only five times have they managed to score on consecutive drives. Wisconsin achieved the feat twice while Ole Miss, NM State & Tulsa did so once each.
- On almost half of the drives (43 of 91) this season, the opposition has been held to fewer than 25 yards. Furthermore, foes have failed to gain more than 10 yards on 25 drives.
- UTEP's defense has done a great job of swarming to the ball with four different players contributing at least six tackles per game. The injured Richard Spencer (36-9.0), Josh Fely (58-8.3) & DeShawn Grayson (50-7.1) have set the tone by all averaging better than 7.0. The last time UTEP had at least three individuals finish with at least 7.0 tackles on average was in 2007. A total of three Miners achieved the feat from 2008-11.
- UTEP's defense has been locked in during the first quarter of games this season. The Miners have conceded a total of 29 points (4.8 avg) during the opening period. Oklahoma, Ole Miss and East Carolina managed a touchdown while SMU and Tulsa were held to a field goal. The defense blanked NM State. Wisconsin's offense was held scoreless in the first frame but the Badgers tallied two points after returning a blocked extra point for the score.
- While the second quarter has been the most taxing for the defense on the season, there were signs of progress in the game at Tulsa. The Miners gave up only three points while holding the Golden Hurricane to 93 yards of offense. Those figures are the second-best of the season in the frame, trailing only the effort against Oklahoma. The Sooners were scoreless while gaining 82 yards.
- After the defense allowed just 17 points in the third quarter through the first six games this season, Tulsa scored 20 in a decisive 15 minutes of action.
- The Miners have posted 11 sacks on the season despite coming up empty in the statistical category at Tulsa. Last year they finished with 23. UTEP needs to account for two sacks per game down the stretch to lock up back-to-back campaigns of at least 20 sacks for the first time since a four-year run from 2003-06.
- Senior LB Josh Fely is right on pace to reach triple digits in total tackles. He has 58 through seven games. The last Miner to compile 100+ stops was D'amon Cromartie-Smith, who piled up 109 in 2009.
- UTEP's defense has made life difficult for opposing receivers this year. The Miners have 33 pass break-ups through seven games. They're on track to finish with 57 in the category, which would be their most since recording 79 during the 2000 WAC Championship season.
- Opponents have had problems holding onto the ball in 2012. Foes have fumbled 14 times, which eclipses the total (nine) from the entire 2011 season. Their projected total for the season is 24 fumbles. That would be the highest number since 2005 when foes also had 24.
- Senior DB Drew Thomas had an interception while also recovering a fumble at Wisconsin. The last player to pull off that double was current Houston Texan Quintin Demps against Tulsa on Oct. 6, 2007.
- Horace Miller posted a sack against SMU, his team-leading fifth of the season. His next sack will surpass his total from last year (five), which also paced the Miners. The school standard in the category is 11, which was set by Melvin Besses in 1979.
- Sophomore DB Shane Huhn picked off a pass for the second straight game versus SMU. He is the first UTEP freshman with multiple interceptions in a season since Quintin Demps had two in 2004.
- Huhn became the first UTEP freshman to log an interception in consecutive games since Robert Rodriguez had one each versus New Mexico and Texas Southern to start the 2001 season. Rodriguez is currently the Miners' linebackers coach.
- Huhn made his first career start at strong safety at East Carolina. Huhn is the third freshman to start for the Miners this season (RBs Autrey Golden & Xay Williams are the others), and the first freshman to start on defense since Wesley Miller earned six starts at strong safety a year ago.
- In three starts Huhn has contributed 21 tackles, including a career-high nine at East Carolina, while filling in for the injured Richard Spencer.
- UTEP has registered 146 yards on 14 punt returns in 2012, averaging 10.4 per return compared with 16 returns for 65 yards (4.1 avg.) by the opposition.
- Michael Edwards leads the Miners in punt returns, covering 86 yards of real estate on 11 returns (7.8 avg.).
GOLDEN IS GOLDEN ON SPECIAL TEAMS
- After accumulating 93 kickoff return yards at Tulsa, Autrey Golden is on pace to tally 742 this season. That would mark the fourth-top single season total in school history and the most-ever by a UTEP freshman, eclipsing the previous record of 641 yards by Marlon McClure in 2009.
- Golden has 17 kickoff returns for 433 yards on the year (25.5 avg.).
- The 96-yard kickoff return by Golden in the fourth quarter at East Carolina was the seventh-longest in school history and the longest by a UTEP player since Quintin Demps had a 100-yard return at UCF in 2007.
- Golden's kickoff return was the longest by a UTEP freshman since Howard Jackson had a 100-yard return in the final game of the 2001 season against Nevada.
- The 157 kickoff yards for Golden versus the Pirates were the most by a UTEP player since Vernon Frazier had 177 against Houston last season.
CAMPBELL RETURNS AS SPECIAL TEAMS STANDOUT
- Punter Ian Campbell was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award last year.
- Campbell has punted 45 times for 1,932 yards to average 42.9 yards per attempt in 2012.
- Campbell's 71-yard punt in the first quarter at Tulsa fell one yard shy of his career long of 72, set versus Rice on Oct. 9, 2010.
- Campbell averaged 50.5 yards on six punts versus the Golden Hurricane. He posted an average of 50+ yards for the fifth game in his career and the first time this season.
- 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.
VALADEZ FILLING IN CAPABLY AT KICKER
- Sophomore Steven Valadez ranks second on the squad in scoring, collecting 24 points after assuming field goal duty from injured senior Dakota Warren.
- Valadez has kicked off 23 times for 1,443 yards. He is averaging 62.7 yards per kickoff with a net average of 40.2 yards.
- Valadez kicked off seven times for 439 yards versus NM State, including six touchbacks.