Both teams came into this game looking to regroup after losing their conference openers. The Bulldogs got it done.
It was a beautiful night, which was nice, considering Tech’s last home game was delayed 4 hours for weather, and their last 3 last year were all in the rain.
The Bulldogs started fast, quickly going up 14-0. The Bulldogs also recorded their first interception since week 1 when Xavier Woods tipped a ball to himself.
After that, though, things slowed down. Both the second and third quarters went scoreless, and that 14-0 score held up until the start of the 4th. After a false start, UTEP scored on the first play of the 4th quarter. But Tech responded almost immediately, scoring in just two plays after Jarred Craft broke off a 70 yard TD run. Tech would score on their next drive after chewing up massive amounts of clock.
On the ensuing UTEP drive, there was a scary moment. On 3rd & long, UTEP quarterback Ryan Metz scrambled and tried to run for the 1st down. As he neared the line to gain, he was absolutely blasted by a Tech defender. The hit sent him out off bounds and sent his helmet flying off. He stayed down on the Tech sideline for a couple minutes before being helped off the field. Afterwards, he was walking around with his team on the sideline. He seemed to be fine, but with the game almost over and out of hand, Metz didn’t return.
Last time UTEP played in Ruston, they had a field goal blocked for a Tech TD, and another FG was their only score. This time around, they apparently decided field goals weren’t fun anymore, as they went for it on 4th down twice, converting once.
With under 2 minutes to go and down 28-7, UTEP went for the moral victory, executing a 2 minute offense perfectly. They got to the goal line only to fumble, recovered by the Dawgs on the 2 yard line.
The La Tech defense has been struggling. This game, they played “bend, don’t break.” They gave up over 400 yards, but only allowed 7 points and forced two turnovers. Aaron Jones was held under 100 yards rushing, but Tech did give up almost 300 passing yards.
The Bulldog offense was quieter than usual today, amassing only 191 passing yards. However, 197 rushing yards made up for it somewhat.
For UTEP, their defense looked better than I expected, but Aaron Jones was mostly shut down. This game was odd; so far this season, UTEP has had the star running back while Tech has had a killer passing attack. But today, Tech’s rushing attack led the way for the Bulldogs while UTEP made a killing through the air.
For Louisiana Tech, this is a solid win. The defense still needs some work, but they should be able to take some confidence from holding UTEP to 7. Previously, the fewest points they had allowed was 24. Also, having not gotten a takeaway since the Arkansas game, they got an interception and then a fumble on the goal line. A lot of positives for the defense to take away from this, and they’ll need everything they can get with WKU coming to town in 5 days.
For UTEP, this is their 4th straight loss, all of them blowouts. If they want any hope of making a bowl game, they have to get it together quickly. FIU comes to El Paso next week, which is a winnable game. However, FIU just got its first win of the season against rival Florida Atlantic, so they’ll be a more confident Panther team.
P.S. The B-1 flyover and fireworks during the halftime show were awesome. You shoulda been there.