October 9, 2009
Miners look to improve their season on the road
UTEP Miners(2-3)(1-0)CUSA vs.
Memphis Tigers (1-4)(0-2)CUSA
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Memphis, Tenn. 6:00 p.m. MST
TV: CW (EL Paso)
The Miners take to the road this weekend to hopefully begin a winning streak as they begin the middle of their season. The team should have renewed confidence on the season after coming off one of the biggest football wins in the school's history beating the then #12 Houston Cougars 58-41, on UTEP's homecoming. The fans rushed the field in excitement and gave the team the emotional support they needed to turn this season around.. The Miners will try to keep the offensive momentum they found in the game versus Houston. Donald Buckram was able to rush for 262 yards and 4 touchdowns and Trevor Vittatoe was able to throw for 276 yards and two touchdowns. The offense prior to the Houston game was only averaging 17.2 points per game, but after the Houston game, they have brought that average to 25.4, still not as much as last year, but at least improving some..
The Miners this week need to try to put the Houston game behind them and improve on what they did right last week, they need to use the momentum wisely as they face a rather down Memphis team that is 1-4 on the year only beating FCS team Tennessee Martin. Look for the Miners to try to establish the run game again, to see if they can Buckram the holes he needs to run through. If they can accomplish this, the Miners should have an easy time getting Trevor Vittatoe some good looks down the field.
Despite the slow start, the Miners are in the driver's seat so far in conference, and they seem to have an easier way to the conference title game if they can keep the momentum up. After Memphis, the Miners play Tulsa at home on ESPN. There seems to be more optimism in Minerland among the fans and a win at Memphis will even bring that optimism higher and bring back some of the fans that may have given up on the team with their slow start.
The Memphis tigers have limped into this season with a 1-4 record. The Tigers are 0-2 in conference, and they seem to be in the same point in their season as the Miners were last week needing a win to save their season, which should make them a very dangerous team.
The Tigers to have any chance of beating the Miners upfront is to try to keep the UTEP offense off the field as much as they can. Looking for a way to accomplish this look for the Tigers to establish the run against the UTEP defense. They might try to pass, but starter Tyler Bass is not sure if he will be playing this game, as he was hurt in the loss to UCF last Saturday.
Now the Tigers must make a stand at home and try to stop the Miners, or they will be 1-5 and 0-3 in conference and have virtually no shot in winning the eastern division of Conference USA.
Memphis is 2-0 over all against the Miners. They have beaten the Miners in El Paso and in Memphis. The series began when the Miners joined Conference USA back in 2004.
The last time the Miners and the Tigers played was November 25, 2006 in El Paso. The Miners only need one win to become bowl eligible, as the lowly Tigers who had at the time only had one win on the season, ended the Miners hopes at a bowl and ended star players Jordan Palmer and Johnnie Lee Higgins college careers on senior night at the Sun Bowl.
Quick Miner Notes
• This Saturday's game will be on the local El Paso CW feed and on TimeWarner for cable customers. It will not be show on Directv unless you have the sports package. Directv customers can get the game if they connect a converter box to their television.
• UTEP's next home game will be Wednesday night game against Tulsa in the Sun Bowl on Oct. 21 and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
• The Miners have not beaten Memphis in football or basketball since joining Conference USA.
Eddie Delgado may be reached at email@example.com
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