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FIU Versus UTEP: Five Questions With Miner Rush

Things have been tough in El Paso in 2015 with the injury bug hitting the team hard. This week is a must win game for both UTEP and Florida International. Miner Rush answered five questions about this big game.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

We spoke with Miner Rush, a sister site of of Underdog Dynasty and asked five burning questions heading into the Florida International versus UTEP game. Let's get right into it and find out how Miner Rush feels heading into this CUSA matchup.

The loss of Aaron Jones has really hurt the UTEP offense. How have the Miners adapted, or have they, to not having their star running back?

They really haven’t, not even an ounce. There was some hope when the Miners put together solid showings in the pass game against NMSU, and Incarnate Word, but yeah key words: NMSU and Incarnate Word.

What are the expectations in El Paso for the Miners in the second half of the season?

Ryan Metz is going to be a good quarterback, but right now the coaching staff has no idea of what they are or what they want to be offensively in this Aaron Jones-less period. 

Also throw in the fact that the injury bug has plagued UTEP’s skill positions, it’s just really hard to see that changing soon given UTEP’s lack of offensive creativity under Sean Kugler.

The defense struggled significantly in the opening three weeks. What has been done to improve the defense to the point of not being a liability?

Depth chart continuity.

UTEP was without two senior defensive backs to open this season that were key parts of the secondary last year, and getting them back has greatly helped the communication from the back end to the front end.

We’re also seeing the front four create more havoc, but the secondary is still a huge liability that can be exposed on any given play. Consistency is a big key like in everything, a repeat performance from last week says the defense has turned something of a corner.

What are the expectations in El Paso for the Miners in the second half of the season?

Very, very low for most. UTEP is depleted with injuries, and a victim of their own recruiting strategy with the injuries that have left UTEP undermanned in a lot of areas due to those injuries. 

The offensive coaching staff has a shown a lack of a solution in replacing THE Aaron Jones which has everyone thinking about basketball season.

This game could either decide, or change that thought, but like I mentioned, it’s just hard to see things changing with so many injuries to important pieces and UTEP’s offensive coaching issues.

With Metz struggling significantly versus UTSA and lots of injuries at the position, what is the quarterback situation moving forward for the Miners?

It’s a really weird situation.

Mack Leftwich proved he can manage a game, and Ryan Metz showed he can wins games with his athletic and cerebral attributes.

Junior Garrett Simpson was supposed to be the backup quarterback, but instead is holding field goals. And true freshman Kavika Johnson has been only used as a runner with very limited passing attempts, and/or packages.

The rest of the 2015 season could be Metz’s job audition for 2016 and beyond, I really feel he will win or lose the job going forward depending on how he does the latter part of the season.

Final score and one stat prediction.

FIU 27 UTEP 10. FIU scores a defensive touchdown