UTEP Loses In a Shootout to Texas Tech

UTEP was leading 28-17 at the half, but in the second half it was all Tech. The Red Raiders led by QB Graham Harrell, came back and out scored the Miners 28-3 in the second half of the game to win 45-31.

The MinerReport's summary of the game

Texas Tech came out firing after a quick 3 and out by UTEP in the first quarter, Tech's RB Kobey Lewis had a one yard TD run with just over three minutes into the game to start things off for the Red Raiders. Most people thought that this was a preview of what the rest of the game would look like, with Texas Tech being a heavy 16 point favorite, most were surprised as UTEP came answering back with 3 TDs of their own in the 1st quarter.

The Miners first TD of the 1st quarter was an 8 yard TD pass from Trevor Vittatoe to Jeff Moturi. Two Tech fumbles in the first quarter led to two more UTEP TDs. UTEP capitalized on the first fumble recovery with a 41 yard TD pass from Vittatoe to Joe West, their second recovery led to 2 yard TD run by Marcus Thomas.

UTEP led 21-7 at the start of the 2nd quarter, but Harrell put Tech quickly back into the game with a 6 yard TD pass to Michael Crabtree with 11:40 remaining in the second quarter. The Miners came back with a 12 play - 91 yard drive of their own that culminated in a 3 yard TD run by Marcus Thomas that gave UTEP a 28-14 lead with 6:03 remaining in the 2nd quarter. UTEP had a chance to add to their lead or simply run out the clock and end the first half but a Vittatoe pass to Jamar Hunt was dropped with 52 seconds remaining that would of given UTEP a first down. UTEP was forced to punt and Tech capitalized with a 45 yard FG by Alex Trlica to end the half.

The momentum shifted to the Red Raiders for the second half, UTEP's defense started to wear down as the Red Raider offense started to get into gear. Tech quickly scored at the 10:57 mark, when Harrell threw a 9 yard TD pass to Michael Crabtree for his second TD catch of the day. Tech quickly struck again with a 3 yard TD pass from Harrell to Danny Amendola. Texas Tech had erased its 14 point deficit that it came into starting the third quarter and quickly turned it into a 31-28 point lead for the Red Raiders. UTEP was not out of it, as the Miners responded with a 25 yard FG by Jose Martinez with :09 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 31-31.

Tech did not take long to score again as Harrell found Grant Walker in the end zone for a 8 yard TD pass at the 13:40 mark of the 4th quarter. Shannon Woods topped off the Tech scoring with a 2 yard TD run that sealed the victory for the Red Raiders. UTEP had a chance to cut the Tech lead late in the fourth quarter, starting with an interception by Miner LB Brian Wilkins with just over 5 minutes remaining in the game. UTEP was not able to convert on the turnover however, the Miners drove 43 yards on 6 plays to the Tech two-yard line, but Miner RB Marcus Thomas, fumbled the ball and Texas Tech recovered with 2:48 left in the game. That last fumble was the final nail in the coffin for UTEP on Saturday night, as Texas Tech simply ran out the clock to win the game.

The MinerReport's review of the game.

UTEP's offense did play much better in this game against Texas Tech, than they did against UNM the week before. The Miner offense was led by QB Trevor Vittatoe, who threw for 202 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. The Miner rushing attack also showed up with the return of RB Marcus Thomas. Thomas, along with Terrell Jackson, Donald Buckram, T. Vittatoe, and Lorne Sam all combined to put up 215 yards on the ground. This was the first time UTEP has rushed for over 200 yards in a game since 2004.

The wide receivers also showed their stuff against Tech. Leading the way for the Miners was Joe West with 5 receptions for 101 yards and 1 TD. Jeff Moturi was also impressive with 3 receptions for 36 yards and 1 TD. QB/WR Lorne Sam had 2 receptions for 50 yards and he also completed 2-2 passes for 14 yards.

Impressive once was again was the play of UTEP's kickers: K Jose Martinez and P Kyle Petersen. Martinez, had one FG from 25 yards and was 4-4 on extra point attempts. Petersen, had 5 punts averaging 43.4 yards a punt and had a long punt of 59 yards.

The Miner defense had its good moments in the first half of the game, but with the onslaught of the Red Raider passing attack taking its toll on the defense. The defense seemed to lose their steam in the second half and started to tire up as their minutes on the field seemed to get longer and longer as Harrell completed pass after pass for numerous first downs. Sophomore DB, Braxton Amy was a monster on defense, he was in on 16 tackles against Tech, 13 solo and 3 assisted, he also had 1 pass breakup. Another Sophomore who had an outstanding game on defense was safety Da'Mon Cromartie -Smith, who was in on 14 tackles with 10 solo and 4 assisted, he also broke up 2 pass attempts.

The Red Raiders have a strong pass oriented offense that will wear just about anyone down. QB Graham Harrell completed 48 passes out of a whopping 64 attempts, he also had 4 TD passes and one interception. Tech's WRs were phenomenal, Michael Crabtree had 15 catches for 188 yards and 2 TDs, Danny Amendola had 12 catches for 101 yards and 1 TD, and had 7 catches for 75 yards. The Raider RBs were not a huge factor in the game but Shannon Woods did have a decent game with 7 rushes for 46 yards and 1 TD.

The MinerReport's editorial

The Miners offense finally showed everyone what they are capable of doing when they are clicking together. The offense didn't have a good second half, but they showed at times that they can play with just about anybody, especially when Vittatoe is on target and the receivers catch the easy balls.

The running backs also finally showed up, its nice to see UTEP finally have a running game again.

The defense stepped it up in the first half and held down Tech, before letting go of the game and having a tough time containing Graham Harrell. With the exception of Jeremy Jones and Quintin Demps, the defense is young and inexperienced but it is really good to see them play right up there and take care of business when they have to.

The special teams play is doing really well with our new kickers, so far, they have put up impressive numbers.

Fred Rouse dropping the ball several times while returning kicks has got to end, UTEP has been really lucky to not lose one of these balls on a turnover.

Ultimately, the more games the young Miners play, the better this team will be.

Next up: UTEP (1-1) will travel 40 miles north to face their rival NMSU (1-1) in the "Battle of I-10."
Game time: Saturday 15th, at 6:00 p.m. MT
Television/Internet: Time Warner Cable channel 24 in El Paso, ESPN 360 through high speed internet.
Radio: KOFX 92.3 FM

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