Held to just 243 total yards of offense, the UTEP Miners continued to flounder offensively as the UTSA Roadrunners methodically strangled the life out of their foe in El Paso. UTEP quarterback Zack Greenlee completed just eight of his 29 passing attempts while throwing two interceptions along the way, one of which was returned for six points for the Roadrunners.
The Roadrunners would be the first to score on the day after holding UTEP to just two yards on their first posession. UTSA would then lean on Dalton Sturm’s arm and legs to 32 yards into Miner territory for an opening field goal.
Both teams would exchange unforced errors and punts, culminating in UTSA’s first interception of the day as Nate Gaines picked off Zack Greenlee to end a promising UTEP drive on the five yard line. The Roadrunners would then cap a 10 play, 80 yard drive with a 17 yard touchdown run from Jalen Rhodes as they would bleed 5:04 off the clock to start the second quarter.
Following another UTEP three and out and 48 yard touchdown pass from Dalton Sturm to Kerry Thomas, it sure felt like the game would spin out of control quickly but poor play from the Roadrunners kept the game tighter than it should have been.
UTSA was marred by two inexplicable offsides penalties from cornerbacks, poor tackling, and poor effort on the ensuing drive. Greenlee and a trio of UTEP running backs would pitch in big plays as the Miners went 70 yards in just seven plays to break a prolonged scoring drought with their best drive in quite some time.
Dalton Sturm would then throw just his second interception of the season, allowing UTEP to cut the lead to 17-14 after Greenlee hit Tyler Batson for a 36 yard gain. Unfortunately for the Miners the drive would be their last score of the evening as they would gain just 67 yards through the rest of the evening.
The Roadrunners would establish a ten point lead following a picture-perfect 85 yard drive that took a whopping 8:29 off the clock through 17 plays. UTSA slowly marched down the field as Jalen Rhodes would eventually cross the goal line to make the score 24-14 in favor of the Roadrunners.
It was UTSA’s defense that would claim the last score of the evening as Greenlee strangely threw a pass directly at UTSA cornerback Devron Davis who happily accepted the gift and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
All in all, it was a flawed but balanced performance from a UTSA team that continues to struggle with discipline as depicted in the team’s eight penalties for the evening.
UTSA running backs Jalen Rhodes and Tyrell Clay split carries 14 to 15 with 66 and 71 yards, respectively. Quarterback Dalton Sturm missed on a few passes but was still effective, completing 18 of 30 attempts for 188 yards.
The Roadrunners will face a big challenge on Saturday as they make their first road trip out of the state of Texas to face a resurgent FIU program. Both schools will be fighting for their sixth win on the season to gain bowl eligibility.
UTEP will travel to Murfreesboro to face Middle Tennessee on Saturday as the Miners continue to chase their first win of the season.