Miners Seek First Road Victory at Houston
Oct. 22, 2012
THE BASIC FACTS
The Last Meeting
September 29, 2011
- UTEP plays its next-to-last Conference USA road game of the season on Saturday at Houston.
- The Miners are coming off a 24-20 home win over Tulane last Saturday. UTEP hasn't posted consecutive victories since October of 2011.
- The Miners are seeking their first-ever win over the Cougars at Robertson Stadium. UTEP is 0-3 all-time in the venue with losses during the 2006 (34-17), 2008 (42-37) and 2010 (54-24) seasons.
- UTEP is 0-4 on the road this season and pursues its first road win since Oct. 15, 2011 at Tulane (44-7).
- The Miners are 6-24 in Conference USA road games, including 1-16 in their last 17 contests.
- UTEP has lost its last six games in the city of Houston dating back to a 38-31 triumph at Rice on Oct. 29, 2005 with a series of close calls. The Miners fell 56-48 at Rice in 2007, 42-37 at Houston in 2008, 30-29 at Rice in 2009 and 41-37 at Rice in 2011.
- Following Saturday's game, UTEP will enjoy its lone bye week of the season and return to action on Nov. 10 at home versus UCF. Each of the Miners' final two home games (including Nov. 24 against Rice) will kick off at 5 p.m. MT.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
- The Miners rushed for 217 yards in a 24-20 Homecoming win over Tulane last Saturday in the Sun Bowl.
- UTEP instated a 24-17 lead at halftime and held on for the victory despite being held scoreless over the final 30 minutes.
- Both teams compiled over 400 yards of offense, with UTEP collecting 445 and Tulane 440.
- Ryan Griffin completed 28-of-44 passes for 363 yards for the Green Wave, who had a couple of 100-yard receivers (Justyn Shackleford 6-130-1, Ryan Grant 6-115-1).
- Freshmen LaQuintus Dowell (72), Josh Bell (47) and Autrey Golden (37) combined to rush for 156 yards for UTEP.
- QB Nick Lamaison was sharp, completing 11-of-16 passes for 157 yards and two TDs before re-aggravating a hamstring injury and leaving the game late in the second quarter. Carson Meger finished up and went 9-for-14 for 71 yards.
- Michael Edwards registered the third multiple touchdown game of his Miner career, recording seven catches for 82 yards with two scores.
- Houston turned over the ball nine times in a 72-42 loss at SMU on Thursday, Oct. 18.
- The Cougars threw six interceptions and lost three fumbles.
- The Mustangs totaled 44 points off turnovers.
- The game was tied at 14 late in the second quarter before SMU scored 31 consecutive points.
- Houston gained 560 yards of offense to SMU's 384.
- Three Cougar quarterbacks (Crawford Jones, David Piland, Bram Kohlhausen) combined to complete 34-of-65 passes for 445 yards.
- Piland, the starter, left the game late in the first half after sustaining a concussion.
- Charles Sims reeled in seven catches for 114 yards and two TDs for the Cougars.
- Daniel Spencer (7-96-1) and Deontay Greenberry (6-94) also had over 90 yards receiving for Houston.
UTEP VS. HOUSTON
- Houston leads the series 5-4.
- The Miners are 2-5 versus the Cougars since joining Conference USA in 2005.
- UTEP beat Houston in El Paso twice during the 1940s, by a 20-7 count in 1946 and 35-7 in 1948.
- In the seven matchups between the schools as C-USA members, UTEP has scored 253 points (36.1 avg.) and the Cougars have scored 295 (42.1 avg.). UTEP and UH have teamed to produce 7,357 yards of offense (1,051 per game), including 4,594 passing (656 per game).
- The winning team has scored at least 34 points each time and 42 points or more in the last four matchups between the schools.
THE LAST MEETING
- Case Keenum completed 30-of-46 passes for 471 yards and two touchdowns, leading Houston to a 49-42 win at UTEP on Sept. 29, 2011.
- The Cougars amassed 710 yards of offense, including 239 rushing.
- After the Miners accounted for the game's first 14 points, Houston scored 21 unanswered, including Marcus McGraw's 34-yard return of a Joe Banyard fumble.
- Nick Lamaison's 21-yard TD pass to Michael Edwards knotted the contest at 21 at the break.
- UTEP regained the lead, 28-24, on a 29-yard pass from Lamaison to Craig Wenrick midway through the third period.
- Houston scored 25 of the next 32 points to forge a 49-35 lead with 9:42 remaining.
- The Miners closed the gap to 49-42 on a two-yard scoring run by Leilyon Myers with 6:21 to play. The Cougars fumbled the ball on their next possession and UTEP drove to the UH 19-yard line before Lamaison threw three straight incompletions, including missing Edwards in the end zone on fourth and 14.
- Lamaison finished 19-of-29 passing for 267 yards and three scores, and Banyard rushed 22 times for a career-high 240 yards.
- Houston had multiple 100-yard rushers in Charles Sims (12-111-2) and Michael Hayes (10-100-1), as well as a 100-yard wideout in Patrick Edwards (8-144-0).
- Players from the Houston vicinity in the UTEP depth chart are LB Aubrey Alexius (Cypress), OL Kyle Brown (Conroe), RB LaQuintus Dowell (Humble), RB Autrey Golden (Willis), DB Demarcus Kizzie (Willis), WR Jordan Leslie (Houston), OL Paul Santillan (Crosby), DL Greg Watkins (Katy), OL Jerel Watkins (Channelview) and DB Darren Woodard (Freeport).
- Starting TE Kevin Perry is originally from Opelousas, La., but played his prep ball at Westbury Christian High School in Houston.
- UTEP senior DB Terr'l Mark and Houston freshman DL Tomme Mark are brothers.
- Players in the depth charts who played at the same high school include UTEP senior DB Terr'l Mark, UTEP junior DL Germard Reed, Houston senior OL Jacolby Ashworth & Houston freshman DL Tomme Mark (Lufkin [Texas] HS); UTEP freshman RB LaQuintus Dowell & Houston junior WR Xavier Maxwell (Humble [Texas] HS); and UTEP freshman DL Roy Robertson & Houston junior WR Dewayne Peace (South Grand Prairie [Texas] HS).
UTEP vs. TULANE NOTABLES
- UTEP won a game where it did not score in the second half for the first time in the Mike Price era. The Miners had been 0-6 in the scenario under the ninth-year head coach. The last time UTEP won a game in which it didn't score in the second half was on Sept. 14, 1996 versus New Mexico State in the Sun Bowl (led 14-7 at the half, won 14-7).
- With 47 wins at UTEP, Mike Price took over sole possession of second place on the school's all-time coaching list. Mack Saxon ranks first with 66 victories.
- The Miners improved to 38-42-1 all-time on Homecoming with a five-game winning streak. UTEP is 7-2 in Homecoming games under coach Mike Price.
- UTEP is now 12-7 under Mike Price when rushing for 200+ yards.
IN THE RANKINGS
- Through the games of Oct. 20, UTEP rated in the top-50 nationally in net punting (26th, 39.6 avg.) and punt returns (39th, 10.7 avg.).
- Individually, Ian Campbell was 25th in punting (42.7 avg.), Autrey Golden was 35th in kickoff returns (25.5 avg.), Horace Miller was tied for 35th in sacks (0.8 avg.), Michael Edwards was tied for 39th in receiving yards per game (78.0) & 44th in punt returns (8.4 avg.), Jordan Leslie was 43rd in receiving yards per game (77.3), and Josh Fely was tied for 48th in tackles (9.0 avg.).
- Houston is third in the country in passing offense (363.9 ypg), seventh in total offense (537.7 ypg), 11th in tackles for losses (7.7 avg.), 12th in sacks (3.0 avg.), 16th in net punting (40.6 avg.), 36th in sacks allowed (1.4 avg.) and 43rd in scoring offense (32.6 ppg).
- The Cougars' Richie Leone is third in the FBS in punting (47.6 avg.), David Piland is seventh in total offense (344.6 ypg), Phillip Steward is tied for seventh in tackles for losses (1.8 avg.), eighth in tackles (10.9 avg.) & tied for 21st in sacks (0.9 avg.), Derrick Matthews is tied for seventh in tackles for losses (1.8 avg.), Matt Hogan is ninth in field goals (1.9 avg.) & tied for 31st in scoring (9.1 ppg), Charles Sims is 10th in all-purpose yards (169.2 avg.), 12th in scoring (11.0 ppg) & 17th in rushing (116.2 ypg), and Dewayne Peace is tied for 37th in receptions per game (6.0).
- UTEP is second in Conference USA in punt returns (10.7 avg.), third in punting (39.2 avg.), fourth in kickoff returns (22.2 avg.), passing efficiency defense (130.4) & scoring defense (26.9 ppg), and tied for fourth in turnover margin (0.00).
- In the C-USA individual statistics, Michael Edwards is third in punt returns (8.4 avg.), tied for third in receiving yards (78.0 avg.) & fourth in all-purpose yards (114.9 avg.), Autrey Golden is fourth in kickoff returns (25.5 avg.), Horace Miller is fourth in sacks (0.8 avg.), Ian Campbell is fifth in punting (42.7 avg.), and Jordan Leslie is fifth in receiving yards (77.2 avg.).
CONFERENCE USA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
- Three Miners have been tabbed Conference USA Player of the Week this season. 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 (47-58 record) and 31st year as a collegiate head coach (176-180 mark).
- Price has the second-most wins by a UTEP coach with 47. 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 (232), South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (202) and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly (194).
- Price is coaching in his 106th 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.
- The Miners scored on their first possession for the second time this season against Tulane. They also scored a TD on their initial drive versus NM State on Sept. 15.
- The Miners scored 20 points in a half for the second time this season as they put 24 on the board in the opening 15 minutes versus Tulane. UTEP tallied 27 points in the first half against NM State on Sept. 15.
- UTEP's 17 second quarter points against Tulane were a season high for the period. The Miners had scored a total of six points in the second quarter in their previous four games, and were held scoreless in the period in their previous two contests (SMU, Tulsa). It marked the most second-quarter points for UTEP in a game since Nov. 5, 2011 at Rice (17).
- The Miners were a season-best 8-of-13 in third down conversions versus Tulane. The last time UTEP converted 60 percent or more of its third down opportunities was in 2010 versus NM State (9-of-14). In fact, the Tulane game marked just the third time in their last 23 games that the Miners converted at least 50 percent of their third down tries.
- UTEP has put together back-to-back games with 400+ yards of offense for the first time this year. They haven't compiled three 400-yard games in a row since the first three contests of the 2010 season.
- The Miners scored on four of their first five possessions against Tulane, including three touchdowns.
- With Jordan Leslie (77.2 ypg) and Michael Edwards (78 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.
- Jim Jones made his first career start as a fourth wide receiver versus Tulane, and ended with career-highs for catches (three) and yardage (41).
- 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 one of 12 players in the FBS to compile a 200-yard receiving game this year.
- 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 618 receiving yards in 2012, averaging 15.4 yards per catch and 77.2 yards per contest. He has 1,048 career receiving yards.
- Of Leslie's 40 receptions, 35 have gone for first downs and four have resulted in touchdowns. Eleven catches were more than 20 yards and seven were over 30.
- Five of Leslie's six career TD receptions have come in road games.
- Michael Edwards, a teammate of QB Nick Lamaison at Mt. SAC College before the pair reunited at UTEP, is averaging 78 yards per game in 2012. He leads the team in yards per catch (15.6) and ranks second in receptions (35) and reception yards (546).
- Edwards registered the third multiple-touchdown performance of his UTEP career against Tulane. He also reached the end zone twice at Rice last season, and at Wisconsin on Sept. 22.
- 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 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.
- Edwards ranks second on the team in plays of 20+ yards (12) behind RB Autrey Golden (13).
- 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).
ON THE RUN
- The Miners rushed for 217 yards versus Tulane, a season high and their most since Nov. 12, 2011 against East Carolina (241).
- Josh Bell's 14-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against the Green Wave was a career long (previous 11 yards at Tulsa on Oct. 11).
- Autrey Golden's 26-yard run in the second quarter versus Tulane was also a career best (previous 22 yards at Ole Miss on Sept. 8).
- Sophomore Nathan Jeffery leads UTEP in rushing attempts (94) and rushing yards (414), while averaging 4.4 yards per carry and 59.1 yards per game.
A LOOK AT FRESHMAN RUNNING GAME
- LaQuintus Dowell rushed for a career-high 72 yards against Tulane, the third-most by a freshman during the Mike Price era. Dowell's previous best was 36 yards versus NM State on Sept. 15. The last time a UTEP freshman had more rushing yards was in 2008 versus UCF, when Vernon Frazier ran for 73 yards.
- The 72 rushing yards by LaQuintus Dowell versus Tulane were the fewest to lead the Miners in a 200-yard rushing night since Joe Banyard ran for 64 yards and the Miners totaled 249 versus NM State in 2010.
- Autrey Golden ran for 69 and 52 yards respectively versus NM State and Ole Miss.
- Freshman RB Xay Williams rushed for a season-high 53 yards at Wisconsin.
- 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
- The three catches for Craig Wenrick versus Tulane were the most by a UTEP tight end this season and the most by a positional player since Eric Tomlinson registered three receptions versus East Carolina last season.
- Katrae Ford established career-highs for catches (two) and yardage (18) at Tulsa.
- Kevin Perry registered the second touchdown reception of his career in the first quarter against New Mexico State.
- 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).
THE PASSING GAME
- Nick Lamaison completed 11-of 16 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns against Tulane before suffering a game-ending hamstring injury in the second quarter.
- Lamaison rushed for 36 yards versus the Green Wave, a season-high and the second-most of his career.
- Eight of Lamaison's 11 completions against Tulane were for more than 10 yards, including a 28-yard TD pass.
- 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.
- 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 110-of-212 passes for 1,361 yards with 10 TDs and five interceptions. Carson Meger is 41-for-68 passing for 462 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.
- 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).
- UTEP's defense has done a great job of swarming to the ball with three different players contributing at least 6.9 tackles per game. The injured Richard Spencer (36-9.0) & Josh Fely (72-9.0) have set the tone by averaging better than 7.0. DeShawn Grayson (55-6.9) is just shy of that cutoff. 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.
- Senior LB Josh Fely is right on pace to reach triple digits in total tackles. He has 72 through eight games, which puts him on track to conclude the campaign at 108. The last Miner to compile 100+ stops was D'amon Cromartie-Smith, who piled up 109 in 2009.
- Opponents have had 102 drives on the season, but only six times have they managed to score on consecutive drives. Wisconsin achieved the feat twice while Ole Miss, NM State, Tulsa & Tulane did so once each.
- On almost half of the drives (50 of 102) this season, the opposition has been held to fewer than 30 yards. Furthermore, foes have failed to gain more than 10 yards on 27 drives.
- Shane Huhn made his first career start at strong safety at East Carolina. In four starts Huhn has contributed 23 tackles, including a career-high nine at East Carolina, while filling in for the injured Richard Spencer.
- Drew Thomas (15) and Josh Fely (14) both posted career-highs for tackles in the win against Tulane.
PATTERSON'S STOP TROOPS
- UTEP has ensured itself of a third straight season with six or more opponents falling shy of 30 points. The Miners hadn't strung together three consecutive campaigns of that nature since current UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull patrolled their sidelines (1986-88).
- Ole Miss (538) is the only opponent to pile up 500+ yards of total offense this year. The last time a foe had only one such game in a season was in each of the first three years of the Mike Price era (2004-06).
- UTEP yielded a season-low 372 yards to SMU. It marked the fewest yards surrendered by the Miner defense since Nov. 12, 2011 versus East Carolina (254).
- The 372 yards were the fewest given up by UTEP in a loss since Oct. 30, 2010 at Marshall (313 allowed in a 16-12 defeat).
- UTEP pitched a second-half shutout versus SMU for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 at Tulane.
- UTEP has now held four C-USA opponents scoreless in the second half since joining the league in 2005 (Marshall in 2005, Tulane in 2008, Tulane in 2011, SMU in 2012).
- The Miners are now 8-2 in C-USA games where they yield under 20 points.
- UTEP is now 20-2 under coach Mike Price in games where it has allowed less than 20 points.
- Senior safety Richard Spencer was lost for the season after sustaining a torn ACL at Wisconsin. In the last three games, DB DeShawn Grayson (East Carolina), LB Josh Fely (SMU) & RB Josh Bell (Tulane) have worn Spencer's #24 jersey in honor of their fallen teammate.
oNE QUARTER AT A TIME
- UTEP's defense has been locked in during the first quarter of games this season. The Miners have conceded a total of 36 points (4.5 avg) during the opening period. Oklahoma, Ole Miss, East Carolina & Tulane 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 UTEP has allowed a season-high 76 points in the second quarter this season, there have been signs of progress. UTEP allowed a combined 13 points in the frame against Tulsa and Tulane. The opposition had registered 13 points on average in the prior five contests.
- The defense reverted to form and pitched a shutout in the third quarter against Tulane. The Miners have only allowed 37 points during the period on the year, with 20 of those coming at Tulsa.
- 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 17 points in the period while keeping all four of the foes to below 100 yards. UTEP conceded a sum of 49 points while allowing 138 yards on average in the final quarter of its four non-conference contests.
BRINGING THE PRESSURE
- The Miners recorded their fourth multi-sack game of the season by posting two versus Tulane. The effort by UTEP, which had 23 sacks last year, increased the season total to 13. It also kept the Orange and Blue on pace to lock up back-to-back seasons of at least 20 sacks for the first time since a four-year run from 2003-06.
- Horace Miller's third-quarter sack of Tulane's Ryan Griffin elevated his season total to 6.5. He is the first player with six or more sacks in a campaign since 2005 when Alex Obomese (6.5) and Chris Mineo (6.0) both achieved the feat. The last UTEP player with seven or more sacks in a season was Thomas Howard and Mineo (8.0 each) in 2004.
- UTEP's defense has made life difficult for opposing receivers this year. The Miners have 36 pass break-ups through eight games. They're on track to finish with 54 in the category, which would be their most since recording 55 in 2005.
MINERS TAKE IT AWAY
- Opponents have had problems holding onto the ball in 2012. Including the four miscues by Tulane, foes have now fumbled 18 times on the year. That figure doubles the amount of opponent fumbles (nine) in 2011. It also projects to 27 opponent fumbles for the season, which would be the highest number since 30 in 2004.
- 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.
- Freshman DB Shane Huhn had an interception against both Tulsa and 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.
- UTEP has registered 171 yards on 16 punt returns in 2012, averaging 10.7 per return compared with 17 returns for 73 yards (4.3 avg.) by the opposition.
- Michael Edwards leads the Miners in punt returns, covering 101 yards of real estate on 12 returns (8.4 avg.).