QB Nick Lamaison- Last season, Lamaison passed for 1,718 yards and 12 touchdowns but threw 10 interceptions in eight starts. Against SMU, Lamaison was knocked out of the game and missed the next two contests. The Mustangs will attempt to do the same this season since Lamaison struggles when pressured. In the opener against Oklahoma, he completed just 26 percent of his passes. Last week, East Carolina made him feel uncomfortable in the pocket, which resulted in three interceptions and a 33 percent completion rate. But that doesn't mean Lamaison doesn't have talent. He was all named first team preseason Al-Conference USA and the Tennessee transfer can certainly sling the ball but must be more accurate and get the proper protection from his offensive line.
RB Nathan Jeffery- A sophomore, Jeffery busted onto the scene with a big day in the opener against Oklahoma, rushing for 177 yards on 21 carries. SMU defensive players have mentioned his big play ability and quite a few have pointed to his 71-yard scamper that left the Sooner defense gasping for air. But Jeffery left early with a groin injury and was forced to miss the next two games. He returned in time to face Wisconsin, but it was clear he wasn't 100 percent and was limited to just nine yards on eight carries. Jeffery did bounce back with a nice game last week as he picked up 134 yards on 27 carries. He's currently averaging close to six yards per touch so SMU will need to keep him contained.
WR Michael Edwards- The senior wide out will provide a big test for the unhealthy and underachieving SMU secondary. Edwards is coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances. He had perhaps the best game of his career against Wisconsin as he recorded seven catches for 151 yards and two scores. He followed that up with six catches for 130 yards at East Carolina. It's clear Edwards is Lamaison's go-to guy and should receive most of the Miner targets. At 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, Edwards isn't a huge threat as far as size goes but he has some wheels on him and doesn't drop very many balls. Edwards also returns punts and kicks so he should be a factor on special teams as well.
DE Horace Miller- Miller is playing like a man possessed right now and is developing into one of the top defensive linemen in Conference USA. The Louisville transfer came to UTEP as a linebacker but has gained around 25 pounds and is now a fierce pass rushing defensive end. Miller has wrecked havoc in opposing backfields and has already racked up four sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. Watch out Margus Hunt, Miller has also blocked a kick and is out to prove that he is the best player at his position in this conference.
LB Josh Fely- UTEP has had to deal with some top-notch opponents but Fely has done a nice job of anchoring the Miner defense. After starting four games last season, the senior has risen to the occasion and leads the team in tackles with 42 including 2.5 for loss in his first year as a starter. He is only 5-foot-11 so he's a bit undersized, but Fely has a nose for the football and can fly around the field. He's also athletic enough to stay with slot receivers in pass coverage and is tied for the team lead in pass break-ups with four.
5 UTEP Players To Keep An Eye On
Pony Stampede Top Stories
Three Up Three Down: SMU vs. TCUPatrick picks three ups and three downs from SMU's 33-3 loss vs. TCU on Friday night at Ford Stadium.
Pony StampedeYesterday at 9:00 PM
Rapid Reaction: SMU vs. TCUSMU lost to TCU 33-3 on Friday night at Ford Stadium to drop to 2-2 on the season.
Pony StampedeYesterday at 2:29 PM
FREE Pony Stampede Hilltop Review: Sept. 23Come inside this free edition of the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review with the latest on SMU commits and visitors from last week's win over Liberty.
Pony StampedeYesterday at 6:00 AM
Commitment Impact: Everett RaySMU landed its second 2017 commitment Thursday with forward Everett Ray’s pledge. PonyStampede breaks down his decision.
Pony StampedeThursday at 6:00 AM